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Flokati rugs - Art pieces from Greece

Flokati is a pure wool rug having its origins in Samarina, Greece beginning in the 5th century. For centuries, Greek rug makers have hand-woven Flokati rugs with a unique age-old process. The material they used and still use for the weaving is natural sheep's wool. Flokati rugs are rugs which are known not only for their beauty but for their longevity, keeping their softness year after year.

Flokati rugs were valued as family heirlooms and part of brides' dowries. They were also used as wall-hangings and bed covers as well as rugs.

Today, Flokatis are still unique. No other rugs are made the way Flokatis are, and no other rug looks like a Flokati with its deep thick softness of the pile. Today, the originally Greek art is used in contemporary homes with hi-tech or early American architecture adding luxury and warmth to any room they are placed in.


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Similar to detecting quality of traditional knotted rugs by using the knot count, there is a quality indicator for Flokati rugs as well: Flokati rugs are measured by their weight in grams of wool per sq. meter. The weight of the rugs ranges from 0,3 pounds per square feet to the heaviest at 0,8 pounds per square feet. With increasing weight of the Flokati rug, its thickness and fluffiness increases as well - and so does its price.

The flokati rug is different than a shag rug. The latter can be made of virtually anything, while the flokati rug is only made with sheep wool. The Flokati rugs indeed have to fulfill the following specifications to be considered as real Flokatis - they have to be made of 100% wool (warp, weft, and pile), with total weight of at least 1800 grams of wool per sq. meter.

Process of weaving Flokati rugs

The weavers of Flokati rugs start the process with pure natural sheep's wool that's spun into yarn. The craftsmen weave this yarn to create long loops. The Flokati pile is then cut by hand. Now there is another unique step in the process of creating a Flokati rug: Each Flokati is carried to mountain waterfalls and washed there for hours. The waterfall's swirling stream fluffs the long yarns and makes them very soft. This original Flokati technique has never changed - and the fluffiness can only be achieved by the power of a waterfall, making it almost impossible for science to duplicate it.

History

The villagers of Samarina, Greece, the birthplace of the Flokati rug were, shepherds. The shepherds raised goats and sheep as their primary source of trade and income, trading the dairy products such as cheese and milk. Around the 5th Century the shepherds began using the sheep’s wool outside to keeo themselves warm and to help protect themselves during the cold winter months. The first forms of the Flokati were like shag rugs - the shepherds had not yet realized the full potential of the sheep’s wool. The unique process of Flokati rugs was discovered later, when the Samarina shepherds had left one of their woven wool Flokati blankets in the waters of the Pindus Mountains, for nearly two days. When they remembered that they left the blanket and came back to the stream they saw the blanket and noticed that the backing felted. More importantly the wool had unraveled and became fluffier. This was the first, real Flokati.

Once this true Flokati was discovered, it quickly became a versatile product used for many purposes such as blankets, bedding, floor coverings and even clothing.

Later in the 1900s the flokatis were used as a rug. Today they are celebrating their comeback partly due to the fact that flokati rugs can be a greener way to enrich your floors than many other rugs.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The Flokati rugs need to be shaken outdoors periodically to remove dust which gets trapped in over time. For cleaning we recommend to seek out for a professional cleaner. The reason is that you must avoid washing your Flokati Rug in high water temperatures, chlorine bleach as well as dry cleaning. In case you do not avoid these three things you risk destroying the protective fiber content of the Flokati's wool. A professional rug cleaner will properly treat the rug and will not damage your Flokati rug. On the contrary, professional cleaning will merely enhance its unique quality, appearance and fluffiness.

When you want to vacuum your Flokati rug don’t vacuum with a rotating vacuum head because the furry wool might get caught in the rotating brush of your vacuum cleaner. You should rather use the suction head of the vacuum (without a rotating brush) to vacuum your valuable Flokati rug.

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