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The cultivation and preservation of artisanal crafts, especially that of rug-making, is a highly valued tradition in Albania’s northern city of Kukës, one that the women of the area have been historically passing on from one generation to the next.
The important tradition of making rugs, in Kukës, is characterized by traditional techniques of production which include multihued combinations of various traditional patterns. It is the careful interweaving of these aspects that render the final products some of the most unique and authentic artefacts of Albania.
65-year old Hate Ora, an experienced and very talented artisan, does not see her life as separate from her craft. Indeed, the creation of the splendid Kukës rugs, called sixhade, goes as far back as four generations in her family. Today, she is busy teaching it to her daughters and granddaughters. Mrs. Hate makes sure to underline the fact that her 80-year old mother still participates in the process of rug-making!
It was the first artisanal factory in 1951 (in Old Kukës) that had a huge impact on the cultivation of this craftsmanship in the town. This is where former employers learned the craft and, since its closure in the early ‘90s, they have worked hard to preserve it. Nowadays, they excel at interweaving the traditional and the contemporary their singularly beautiful rugs. Many of their products have crossed national and regional borders, beautifully representing Albania in countless fairs across Europe.
Mrs. Hate is a great representative of the strong and resourceful women who have managed to keep this tradition alive. In her modest working space, she regularly makes rugs of all sizes for both local and international clients.
Mrs. Hate tells of the production process of the rugs, which is anything but easy. The work involved is complex, not only in terms of the physical effort but also details such as the deconstruction of the pattern and the required measurements, all of which demand intense preliminary work. For instance, the working of a more delicate rug demands even more attention. Because fine rugs depend on thread density, if an especially fine thread is used, the amount of work increases. Mrs. Hate confesses that, on occasion, the making of a rug, depending on the pattern, size, and density may require as long as two years.
Regardless of the difficulty, or perhaps because of it, this tradition is here to stay! The making of rugs nowadays represents an established Albanian brand, bearing the name, dedication, and meticulous care of the remarkable ladies of Kukës.
You can find “Punime Artizanale Ora” in:
Rruga “Universiteti” Kukës
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