On the drive from Shiraz to the village of Shol-Bozi in the Zagros Mountains, Iran, we stopped to eat pomegranates under the shade of an oak tree. Later in our visit, there were the pomegranates and oak again, in the dyeing facility in Tehran, where they and other native plants (like wildflowers, walnut husks, and madder root), combined into glorious Gabbeh colors.
The creation of Gabbeh rugs is, from start to finish, a tight and organic circle. The sheep graze in wild mountain pastures. The wool, shorn at the peak of luxurious thickness in early spring, is washed in river water before being dyed using materials so pure, you could eat them. Left intact, the wool’s lanolin serves as a stain, moisture, and insect repellent.
This stands in stark contrast to commercial carpets––known to be one of the single worst hosts of toxic chemicals in homes. Perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, a group of poisons that never break down, as well as Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, in synthetic carpets have been attributed to numerous adverse health conditions, and even cancer.
Rugs invite comfort and safety, and they should also be safe. With every Gabbeh, you create a place not just of beauty and softness, but of health for all––whether a child stretched out to daydream, a dog taking a nap, or anyone who walks barefoot on these cozy works of art, simply for the pleasure of how good they feel and how good they are for us.