It was 1969, New York. Shyam Ahuja,
a young wool trader with a small carpet
manufacturing unit got a commission
to produce cotton dhurries, through a
friend. Seeing it as a commercial
opportunity, "a chance to reinvent
myself and break with tradition," (writes
Shyam in the foreword to his book,
"Dhurrie"), he returned to India and
scoured Rajasthan in search of private
workshops making flat woven rugs.
Discovering there were none, he
decided to develop the design using a
woollen weft and "Cambay" was born,
the first of many woollen flat woven
floorings. Veering away from the sharp
colourways, his were subtle nuances
and gentle pastels, inspired by traditional
Indian motifs, geometrics, kilims,
French patterns, the Scottish tartan….
"Unlike pile carpets, where both the
design and its execution has to be
perfect, the dhurrie is a colour story,"
explains the pioneer, and using only
the finest white wool ensured delicate
shading and a superior product.