Sunday, December 28, 2014

Antique Rug Repair - Process and Result

There are times when a rug - often an antique rug - is so worn and damaged that a complete restoration that would address all the damaged and compromised areas of the rug would be too cost prohibitive.  In those instances, we recommend clients address the most pressing damaged areas - often at the edges of the rug.  The edges of a rug - both the fringed sides and the selvages - are especially critical for the life of the rug because without sound edges, the entire field of the rug is at risk of unraveling.  For this reason, addressing the damaged edges can often preserve the piece for a few more years if one is not proceeding with an entire restoration.

For this repair, we rebuilt the foundation at the damaged section of the fringe as shown above.  Next, we began to reknot the missing pile as shown below.

After the knotting was completed, we cut down the yarns so as to match the rest of the rug.

Pictured from the reverse side of the rug, below is the repaired area.  With proper care, and if placed in an area where it is not subject to too many stresses (i.e., heavy foot traffic, moving chairs, etc.), this rug has years of enjoyment left to give.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

New and Vibrant v. Old and Elegant - Reflections on the Occasion of an Antique Rug Repair


One of my favorite memories of growing up in Turkey is of the vast carpet "farms" that dot the spring Anatolian landscape.   The "farms" are a collection of a village's weavings which, when completed, are cut off the loom, shorn, and set out to "bake" in the sun's spring rays.  The sun helps the rugs' colors set and helps the rugs gain their regular shape.  It is a lovely sight to behold - a fantastic explosion of color on the Anatolian plain.   Moreover, what these farms represent - the continuation of an ancient and ancestral tradition - is even more beautiful.

Yet while these and other new rugs are lovely with their vibrant and saturated colored yarns, it is the muted color palettes and worn piles of antique rugs that have often captured my imagination.  These older worn pieces are literally a woven history of so many different peoples.  I certainly can appreciate and deeply admire when an owner of such a piece does not want to discard or replace it in favor of something new.

The piece above is a beautiful antique rug that has various worn areas where the pile is almost entirely gone and the foundation is clearly visible.  To completely restore such a piece is often cost prohibitive as it would involve rebuilding the foundation in various areas and reknotting the pile so as to match the original - a time-consuming and difficult task.  In some of these instances, a more targeted repair is recommended.  For example, for the antique rug pictured above, it was important to stabilize the edge so that the piece would not unravel.  In our next post, we will share how we repaired this area so as to extend the life of this beautiful antique rug. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Wabi Sabi and the Exquisite Beauty of the Imperfect Rug

There are people who approach a rug purchase armed with official sounding ratios, desired measurements listed to the fraction of an inch, and a swatch of an exact hue that would coordinate with a desired color palette.  But much of the beauty of rug making and rugs themselves is situated in what some may deem imperfections or deficiencies.  The beauty of nomadic rugs and kilims is in the irregularity  of their shape, in the unexpected break in symmetry, in the surprising harmonious chaos of a color explosion.  To forsake these rugs because they do not possess a high sounding ratio of knots per square inch would be to miss the opportunity to appreciate and possess something truly unique - something that reflects the imperfections inherent in art - the imperfections that some would argue as I do - that are the true essence of art.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Handmade Rug Chewed by Dog - Final Result after Repair

Above and below are pictures of the final result of a recent project we undertook to repair an Indian handmade rug that had been chewed and damaged by a dog.  As we outlined in our previous post, we professionally cleaned the rug, rebuilt the compromised warp and weft, reknotted the pile, and bound the newly constructed fringe.  The picture above shows the final repaired section from the back of the rug; the picture below shows the repair from the front of the rug.  As these pictures highlight, a repair can usually be more clearly seen from the reverse side of the rug where the long tufts of yarn are not present to hide any repairs or restoration.  The longer yarns of the pile on the front of the rug provide a convenient disguise to most repair and/or restoration projects.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Rug Chewed by Dog - Repair in Progress

As with most of our hand knotted rug repair and restoration projects, the first step we took to repair this rug was to professionally clean it.  It is advisable to professionally clean a rug at the beginning of any repair or restoration so that the yarns used in any newly knotted area match the (clean) colors of the original rug as much as possible.  In addition, periodic professional cleaning is recommended for all handmade pieces so a repair and restoration is a good occasion to ensure that a cleaning takes place.
After the rug was cleaned, we rebuilt the missing and compromised warp, which can be seen above (the cotton vertical yarns).  We subsequently reknotted the missing pile (not shown in the photo below which is the reverse of the rug) and rebuilt the compromised weft.  Below is a photo of the repair (as seen from the back of the rug) near its completion.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rug Repair - When A Rug is Chewed by a Dog

A beautiful handmade rug is something that an entire family can enjoy across generations.  Every now and then, however, some family members can enjoy a rug too much - namely hungry pets that take a liking and chew off a corner or section of a beloved handmade rug.  The rug above is an example of this.  This rug is a hand knotted rug made in India with a Persian design that suffered a bite or two from a tiny puppy with a large appetite.  In our next posts, we will show you how we repaired the damage to the handmade rug and the final result.