Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Beauty of Imperfection


This past weekend, I went to my favorite used bookstore near my house and found this great stack of beautiful carpet, rug, and kilim books - many of them now out of print, and collectibles in and of themselves. I love looking through these kinds of books - another nerdy obsession of mine. Anyway, as I was looking through them, I found myself reading all the "how to buy an oriental rug" guides that many of them offered. On almost every list, the writer advises buyers to avoid curled edges, asymmetrical patterns, and crooked rugs. Then I thought about my own private collection and the collection of most of my colleagues who collect and sell fine antique handmade carpets and kilims. We all have been collecting carpets and kilims for years (generations, actually) - and I don't think any of us own these seemingly "perfect" carpets. In fact, we all seek out imperfections in the carpets and kilims we collect for ourselves. I personally love the beauty in the asymmetry of rugs like the one pictured above. For one thing, the asymmetry is a sure sign the rug is not a mass produced reproduction, but a true product of artisanal skill, creativity, and yes, imperfection - beautiful crooked imperfection. - www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kilim Restoration - Result


Here is the final result of my most recent kilim restoration. On the left is the "before" picture. As you can see, the warp of the kilim is partly damaged and the weft is completely missing. Below is the "after" picture with warp and weft restored. Onto the next project!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kilim Restoration - Mid Process




Here is the kilim restoration mid-process. I have already rebuilt the warp (the "backbone" of the kilim; in the second picture, the white vertical lines are the warp). I am wrapping beige yarn around the warp to create the weft of the kilim in a "slit-weave" design. "Slit-weave" is the type of weaving that leaves little "slits" or holes in the weft. It is a beautiful type of weaving typical in many Turkish and Persian kilims. - www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, March 22, 2010

All A Weaver Needs


I've been a little slow to update you on my progress on the restoration project of the Gocmen kilim and can actually show you some nice progress shots already. However, I want to back track a little bit because I want to share the restoration process step by step. I left you off with yarn selection so I'm going to post pictures of what I thought were the best suited yarns for
the project. When restoring a kilim, choosing the right yarn is critical. It's virtually impossible to match the yarn perfectly, but a fantastic repair is one done with yarn close to the original in terms of color, texture, shade, material, and age.

Bright colors are actually easier to match than the beige neutral colors, partly because of photo oxidation. That's why I have a HUGE supply of lighter colored yarns.

That's it - once I collected these yarns, I had all I needed for my restoration. The right yarns, some nails, some needles, wood to build a loom around each hole, and time. Lots and lots of time. The perfect recipe for a weaver! - www.traditionalrugrepair.com


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MOTHS

Hello! So, I found quite a few different yarns that are all potential candidates for my restoration project. It's dark right now so I'll wait until it's daylight to take pictures to show you what I have to choose from - it's never a perfect match, but with any luck, I'll be able to closely match the kilim colors. The best restoration is one that you have to struggle to find once it's done. And to achieve that, the right yarn is key. Stay tuned for more soon.

I was the bearer of some bad news for a client today. I thought I'd write about it to you because it's a problem that so many of my clients have had and a problem that's very easy to avoid. My client inherited some rugs from her grandmother a few years ago. They were truly beautiful rugs - over a century old - and very unique. My client couldn't use the rugs right away so she put them in plastic bags and stored them in the back of a closet. A few days ago, my client took the rugs out and found entire motifs carved out - eaten by moths! The carpets are entirely ruined. It would be possible to restore them, but the damage is so extensive that restoration would be much more expensive than the underlying value of the rugs. Of course, the sentimental value is still there - which is why I was so sad to have to tell her that this problem could have been avoided had she properly moth proofed the rugs before putting them away for so long. Never ever store any wool products in a plastic bag - it just provides the right hot and humid environment for moth larvae to damage your items. And a closet is a terrible place to store rugs - rugs are textiles that need to breathe. So, here's a tip for the day - although there is no 100% protection against moths - try to minimize potential damage and store rugs (after they have been cleaned) in a place where there is cross ventilation and never use plastic bags for storage. - www.traditionalrugrepair.com


Monday, March 15, 2010

A New Time and A New Project





The day is rainy, dreary, and we all lost an hour of sleep last night thanks to daylight savings time. Still, I hope you're all doing well out there. I want to share with you news about my latest project. I am repairing a nice Gocmen kilim that has a significant number of tears, holes, and wear. I like big projects like this and I want to share details of my progress. So here it goes - here are some "before shots" of the first major hole I'm going to repair.


Quite a job, but should be a lot of fun. Tomorrow, I'm heading to my storage place where I have my secret stash of what I think are the most beautiful yarns of almost every color and every age. - www.traditionalrugrepair.com

Monday, February 22, 2010

welcome to my new blog.


Hello everyone,

Welcome to my new blog. I am excited about creating a new forum to meet people, exchange ideas, and just generally share information about some of my passions in life - carpets, kilims, cecims, orchids, and antique watches. Nerdy, I know. But it’s what I grew up with and what I love.

So let me start today by talking about my first passion – the kilim. The word kilim, or “kelam,” literally means a letter or composition in the Arabic language. And the kilim itself is a letter, a woven letter, of various motifs filled with meaning, history, and hallmarks of an ancient tradition. One of the most popular motifs still in use today, and what is believed to have been the first known motif is known as “hands on hips,” an example which can be seen here.It represents female power and it’s believed to have been developed to symbolize the female role in reproduction (early Anatolians didn’t know that males have a function in reproduction, when that was discovered, the second known Anatolian motif was developed, appropriately called “the ram horn” motif). Usually the hands on hips and ram horn motifs are used together – they symbolize a union of man and woman, a joining of two great powers. I’ll take the next few entries to share more about kilim weaving, motifs, and dyes, but I’ll leave all that for the upcoming days.

If at any point anyone out there would like to share pictures of their kilims, please do so. I love to see what’s out there, what people have preserved, and what has made its way to different corners of the world. Thanks for joining me here – and I look forward to sharing much more with you all. - www.traditionalrugrepair.com