Their hands are covered with callus. Every two weeks they have to clip the calluses so they can continue to weave.
Hajar shows us her hands and says, “One must be in a specific spirit to start the work on a rug. If you are upset you can’t weave and your work will be knotted!”
Rug weavers, who are mostly women and children, live under harsh conditions. From dawn to dusk they sit, weaving, combing and cutting in the dust of wool and yarn.
The wheels of rug weaving, Iran’s largest and most important craft industry, are turning at the hands of these weavers, however, the weavers receive only a meager wage. Everyone sees and praises their art and skills, despite the rugs being sold and traded at the highest prices, no one ever sees the very persons who make these rugs and their plight and suffering.
Weaving rugs is a fine art and needs a lot of light. However, most of the rug-weaving workshops are very dim and low in lighting. This results in headaches, dizziness, loss of eyesight and fatigue. Constantly bending over the rug and sitting in non-standard positions for long hours, has changed the shape of their spinal cord and they begin suffering chronic back pains. Their joints start to swell due to long hours of weaving. Other common illnesses include asthma and anthrax due to constant contact with dirty wool. They must tolerate these conditions until the end of their lives because no one supports them under the current regime.