Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Beauty of Kilims

As someone who is around beautiful rugs and kilims all day long - both for professional and personal reasons - I am asked often about what my favorite kinds of rugs are.  It is always hard to answer this question because there are truly exceptional examples of gorgeous types of weavings in each category.  But if I were pressed to name just one kind of weaving that was my absolute favorite, it would have to be kilims.  There is something so beautiful and exquisitely captivating about kilims.  They are a challenge to create because any mistake is readily apparent.  The range of motifs is limited because only geometric motifs are possible given the type of weaving.  And yet the sheer number of designs of kilims feels virtually limitless.  Moreover, the combination of colors in kilims - colors that one would think would clash - can bring a whole room to life.  Caring for these beautiful kilims is a joy.  With just minimal care, including regular gentle vacuuming, period professional kilim cleaning, and regular inspections for muting and moth damage, kilims can last several lifetimes.

Kosker Traditional Rug Repair

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Silk Rug Cleaning

Silk rugs can instantly transform a room - elevating even the starkest space into a warm elegant room.    Silk rugs are surprisingly durable and can last for generations.  Caring for silk rugs is similar to caring for wool rugs. Professionally cleaning silk rugs involves the same considerations, including color test runs and carefully brushing the silk rugs to remove embedded dirt.  We recommend rotating silk rugs just like wool rugs every six months to ensure that foot traffic and any muting by the sun is as evenly disbursed as possible.  Regular silk rug cleaning is important to lengthen the life of the rug, but it does not have to be every year.  We recommend to have your silk rug cleaned once every two years if it is subject to normal wear.  If it is in a high traffic area, we recommend annual professional silk rug cleaning.  If it is in a bedroom or other area where it does not have much foot traffic, especially without outdoor shoes, silk rug cleaning can be much less frequent.

Kosker traditional rug repair

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Moroccan Beni Ourain Rug Cleaning

Whether your taste is defined as traditional or if it leans more to the modern or contemporary, Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs can suit almost any kind of decor.  They are both warm and geometrically striking.  Their black or brown graphic designs often stand in contrast to a backdrop of thick ivory wool.  This fantastic and beautiful contrast poses a challenge, however.   Professionally cleaning Moroccan Beni Ourain rugs can pose a challenge because their dyes can be fugitive and can bleed during the cleaning process.  We have often come across beautiful Beni Ourain rugs that had obvious color run during a previous cleaning.  For this reason, it is important that a color run test is done before a full professional cleaning of these gorgeous Moroccan rugs.  After the color test, care must be taken to never let the rug sit in water if there is evidence of the dyes bleeding so as to avoid damaging the beautiful ivory or light colored backgrounds.  With proper care and caution, these beautiful Beni Ourain rugs will continue to stand the test of time and passing trends.

Kosker traditional rug repair

Friday, November 22, 2019

There are very few steps one must take to preserve the gorgeous beauty of fine hand knotted Oriental rugs

 One of these critical steps often is overlooked, however, even though we recommend it be done only twice a year.  This overlooked step is to rotate your rug so that any muting caused by the sun, or any foot traffic is more evenly dispersed.  The rug above was not rotated and one can see that the sun muted the rug on the section that was not hidden by a bed that lay above it.  This kind of muting is very difficult to rectify.  For this reason, we highly recommend that clients avoid this problem by regularly rotating their rugs on a biannual basis (perhaps coinciding with daylight savings time?).  

Another issue that the rug above had was the obvious stain caused by pet urine.  Pet urine stains are very difficult to treat if they have been allowed to set for a long time.  Not only does pet urine discolor the yarn, but it is also acidic and can compromise the yarn as well.  For this reason, we highly recommend treating pet stains as soon as possible after they occur. 

With a little preventative care, such as rotating rugs on a regular basis, and quick treatment of any accidents, such as having pet stains cleaned immediately, a rug such as this beautiful Oriental rug can last for many, many years.  

Friday, November 15, 2019

Antique Persian Rug Restoration - Before and After Example

We recently restored a beautiful fine antique Persian rug that had various damaged areas, including the one photographed above.  We first professionally cleaned this gorgeous antique rug, taking care not to worsen any of the existing damage.  Once the rug was cleaned and dry, we sourced the yarns that would best blend into the muted antique color palette.   The dusty rose and blues were probably a lot more saturated a century ago but it was important for us to match the yarns to the beautiful warm tones that a century of sunlight had produced.  Once we sourced the best yarns for this antique rug restoration project, we carefully reknotted the pile reconstructing the motif that had been damaged through a century of wear and tear.  The result will allow this rug to be used and enjoyed for years to come.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Antique Anatolian Kilim Restoration

Restoring an antique kilim generally is similar to restoring a newer kilim.   Antique yarns, however, tend to be more fragile and their colors are more muted given the century or so that they have been exposed to the sun.  The actual techniques we use for antique kilim restoration projects, however, are the same as we would use to restore newer kilims.  We take care to remove all damaged fibers before commencing any project.  We carefully professionally clean the kilim so that our restored sections will blend in with the generally brighter colors of a clean kilim.  We then interweave the warp and the weft while striving to match the original kilim's motifs and color tones.  The results of a kilim restoration project are immediately visible, which is both a helpful guide to a restorer, but also provides an added challenge in that restoration "mistakes" are almost impossible to hide.  The antique  kilim restoration project above is an example of a recent kilim we restored.  The kilim had been damaged over many years, but after our restoration, we hope it is ready to be enjoyed for at least a few more decades.

Kosker traditional rug repair

Beautiful, beautiful yarns and rug restoration

One of the most crucial aspects of achieving a successful restoration project right is sourcing the right type and color yarns.  When we undertake a restoration or repair project, we strive to match the restored area with the original rug in both the design, weaving style, and color.  This last goal - matching the color - can often be the most difficult part because a different color or shade will often make a restored area "jump out" and distract from the overall beauty and aesthetic of the rug.  For this reason, we strive to match the original color as much as possible.  While it is never a perfect match, we can often get very close.  As a restorer, therefore, I am allowed to indulge in a favorite pastime of mine which I affectionately call "yarn hunting."  My collection has a wide range of colors and textures, as well as yarns of different ages.  Sometimes, we unravel old kilims that are too damaged to restore so that we can use the yarns from the kilim in the restoration of another similarly aged kilim.  It is a challenging process, to be sure, but one that can yield  beautiful results.

Friday, November 8, 2019

What Do Moths Look Like on a Rug?

Every once in a while we get called to inspect a rug that has been stored for a few months (or even longer!) in a closet, or storage space, or under a bed.  Clients sometimes ask us to identify what the white glue like substance is behind their rug that they had never noticed before.  It is then that we have to inform our client that their rug is moth infested.  Moths love rugs in storage, especially rugs that have not been cleaned before storage (although even clean rugs are not immune from moth damage).  For this reason, it is very important that any rugs that are stored are inspected regularly for any signs of moth damage.  As with so many things, an ounce of prevention will go a long way.  Store only clean rugs, inspect them regularly, and let them air out every once in a while so that moths don't have a chance to make a meal of your beloved wool rug.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Fine Antique Persian Rug Restoration Project

Over the years, I have been asked many times to explain what makes a rug one of high quality, or "fine."  While there is no one dispositive factor, a significant factor is often the tightness of a rug's weave, and if it is knotted, the knot count per square inch.  Generally, the higher knot count per square inch, the finer the rug, and often, the more expensive it is.  Repairing and restoring fine rugs properly requires that the restored area match the original rug's motifs, colors, and fineness.  It would look jarring to have a poorly knotted area in an otherwise exceptionally knotted rug.  The rug above is a beautiful antique Persian rug that needed restoration in several areas.   It is a challenge to work on such rugs, but one that can be extremely enjoyable, particularly when the results are harmonious with the rest of the rug.  Fine antique rug restoration is time consuming and skill intensive, but will extend the life of a beautiful rug for decades and even generations.  In a small, but tangible, way, it is one way of preserving the past for our future.