Monday, May 27, 2013

Repairing a Turkish Kilim - Final Result

After professionally cleaning this Turkish kilim, we attached small wooden frames on the sections needing to be repaired and rewoven.  Next, we wove in warp, the vertical white strands pictured below.

Next, using yarns that match the original colors of the kilim, we rewove the missing motifs following the original design.  Below is a picture of the weaving in progress.

Finally, pictured below is our latest Turkish kilim repair.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Repairing a Turkish Kilim

Our latest kilim repair and restoration project was on a handwoven kilim from Kayseri, a city in central Anatolia, Turkey.  The kilim is made of fine hand-spun wool, and exhibits the fabulous and perhaps surprisingly harmonious vibrant color combination of red, orange, black, blue, and white, among others.  As with most other large projects, we first professionally clean the kilim before commencing any repair or restoration.  Next, we stretch out the kilim and focus on repairing the holes and compromised section, one of which is pictured above and below.  --

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My New Rya Rug

One of the aspects I love about rugs is that they can be so versatile and vibrant.  I recently purchased this Scandinavian Rya rug for its fantastic blue and green color palette.  It is at once modern and traditional.

As this picture highlights, the yarns of this Rya rug are longer than most of their Middle Eastern counterparts.  In many ways, they remind me of the Tulu rugs made in native Turkey.

Pictured from the back, the Rya rug resembles a flat woven kilim.

This Rya rug, woven in the 1960s, feels as modern today as when it was originally woven.  This is the beauty of hand made pieces - they seem to never be out of date.   --

Saturday, May 11, 2013

How to care for oriental rugs

I know that I am biased, but I firmly believe that there is no one item that can complete a house - a home, actually - like a beautiful hand woven kilim or a hand knotted rug.  A fine rug, with its beautiful texture and exquisite color palette, can instantly warm a room and connect it to a rich, distant past.  It is true that fine rugs can be costly to purchase, but given that they can last decades - centuries even - their initial cost should be balanced against how many years they can enrich our homes, and, moreover, our families.  Nevertheless, because fine rugs can be costly to purchase, it is important to take some steps to ensure that they stay as beautiful as long as possible so that future generations are able to enjoy them.  How does one properly care for an Oriental rug?

(1) First, it is important that you regularly vacuum your rug, taking care not to use an overly high suction setting.  It is imperative also to not vacuum the fringe as this can quickly compromise the integrity of the fringe and pile.

(2) Depending on how much traffic the rug is subjected to, take the rug to an outdoor space every 6-12 months and either shake it thoroughly (if a smaller piece), or vacuum it on both the reverse and front sides.  Again, it is important to not vacuum any fringe.

(3)  Rotate the rug every six months so that wear and sun exposure is more evenly distributed.

(4)  Every two years, have the rug professionally cleaned.  Vacuuming alone can not eliminate all the embedded fibers that will eventually wear on the pile.  Only a professional cleaning can eliminate embedded fibers thereby preserving the piece for longer.

(5)  Avoid storing any wool rug in dark, humid conditions for any extended period of time.

(6)  Avoid allowing repeated stresses on the pile (for example, dragging heavy furniture repeatedly on the same spot on a rug).

(7)  Periodically check your rug for signs of moth damage and/or infestation.  This is especially important if your rugs have been in storage.

(8)  Periodically inspect your rug for any damage.  Often, repairing damage when it just starts to occur or appear is significantly less difficult and costly then waiting until the damage has worsened.

By following these simple steps, a fine Oriental rug will be among the longest lasting items you will have to treasure.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Handmade Turkish Rug Repair - Final

The first step in our recent Turkish rug restoration was to professionally clean the rug, then attach it to a wooden frame loom, and then slowly rebuild the warp, as shown below:

Our next step was to rebuild the weft, the horizontal strands shown below:

Once the warp and weft were built (the grid like structure above and below), we began knotting the pile.  Below, the long yarns are the newly knotted pile:

Below is a picture of the completed reknotting before we cut down the yarns:

And, finally, below is the final result of our recent Turkish rug restoration:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Handmade Turkish Rug Repair - Before

This hand knotted rug is from a region of Turkey not far from my hometown in central Anatolia.  It is from Taspinar, Turkey which is known for finely knotted rugs decorated with marvelous geometric motifs, and colored in dynamic blues and vibrant reds. This Taspinar rug was damaged along the border and selvage by both moths and undue stress along the selvage.

From the underside of the rug, the moth damage is more apparent, in particular along the selvage.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Water Damaged Indian Rug Repair - Result

The first step in repairing this water damaged hand knotted Indian rug was to lay out the rug in full sunlight for approximately twenty days - alternating exposing the front side and back side to the sunlight.  We did this to ensure that the rug would be completely dry.  Even though it sounds odd, we had to dry out the rug to prevent further damage before we professionally cleaned the rug.  This helped us identify the full extent of the rotted fibers and damaged sections.  After professionally cleaning the rug, and thoroughly drying it (for a second time) as well, we cut out the damaged sections.  Below is what the rug looked like after we extracted the rotten and damaged fibers.  

After cutting out the damage, we recreated the warp and weft, and reknotted the pile consistent with the rug's original colors and motifs.  This reproduction hand knotted rug should now last for many years.  It is a good thing to keep in mind that sitting water is never good for any organic or living product, including wool and cotton.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Repairing Water Damaged Indian Rug - Before Pictures

Years ago, our client purchased this hand knotted rug from the Metropolitan Museum of Art gift store.  It is a reproduction of an antique Indian hand knotted rug.  Our client was attracted to its rich and vibrant color palette and the intricate design.   As many who have hand knotted rugs can attest to, once you have a hand knotted rug as part of your decor, it becomes part of the room - as much as the floor itself.  Our client had had this rug in his home and had left the rug virtually undisturbed for quite a while.  He had placed a potted plant on a section of the rug and faithfully watered the plant without noticing that the water sometimes sat on the bottom of the pot, causing the rug to become wet and eventually start to mold.  Pictured above and below are the sections of the water damaged hand knotted rug.

The photo above shows the mold that had begun to grow on the back side of the rug.  This was all caused by watering of the plant that had rested on top of the rug.

Though it is hard to tell from the pictures, the damaged section measured approximately 10 inches.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Navajo Rug Repair - Process and Final Result

As with most other rug restoration and rug repair projects, our first step in our recent project was professionally cleaning the Navajo rug.  Cleaning is advised so that embedded particles are removed from the fibers, and so that the yarns used in the repaired section will match as closely as possible the color of the (clean) original rug.

After cleaning the Navajo rug, we nailed the rug to a wooden frame and then extended warp at the rug's edge.  The vertical strands pictured above are the new warp threads.

Finally, we rewove the weft keeping the original motif and color palette.  The final result, pictured above, is our latest Navajo rug repair.  With proper care and cleaning, this rug can be enjoyed for years to come.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Navajo Rug Repair

One of my favorite projects to work on are Navajo rug repairs.   I always find myself marveling at how communities as far apart from each other as those in my native Turkey and the Navajo people from the Americas use similar motifs, color patterns, and weaving techniques to express their art and enrich their homes.  The Navajo rug above, comprised of a beautiful black, grey, and beige color palette, had begun to unravel at its sides, a common problem with Navajo and other kinds of rugs.  The corner shown in the picture above suffered from a compromised selvage.  An early repair was able to minimize the risk of damage to the field of the Navajo rug.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Antique Soumak Rug Repair

The Soumak rug repair we recently completed first entailed a professional cleaning of the piece.  Then, we rebuilt the compromised and missing warp, pictured below.

After we rebuilt the warp, we began reweaving the motifs, seen in outline form below.

And, finally, below is the final result of the Soumak rug repair.  We aimed to match the original rich and vibrant tones of the original yarns.  As always, our goal was to have the repaired section blend into the original and allow its owner to enjoy the piece for years to come.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Antique Soumak Repair

We recently repaired a fine antique Soumak that had several worn areas, and a hole in its center field.  The colors of this Soumak, pictured above, are exceptional.  The blue is deep and rich, the oranges, reds, and yellows are vibrant and provide a wonderful contrast.  Soumaks have no pile and are therefore ideal for warmer climates.  They feature mostly geometric and linear designs.  The Soumak above is Caucasian (sometimes referred to as a Russian Soumak even though rugs of this kind are made in the Azeri and Armenian regions).

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Nepalese Rug Repair - Final

In our last post, I shared a "before" picture of a recent repair we did on a Nepalese hand knotted rug.  To repair the hole, we built a warp and weft (pictured below) on which to knot the missing pile.

Below is a picture of the area after our repair.  

As always, our goal was to make the repaired area blend into the original weaving.  For a rug such as this one, in which there are no bright colors and dynamic patterns, it is particularly challenging to make the repair disappear, but perhaps even more important.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Nepalese Rug Repair - before

Most of the rugs and weavings that I grew up with and that my family wove and cared for are richly patterned and brightly colored.  Over the years, I have become very interested in the weavings of different regions - such as the rug above which was knotted in Nepal.  This handknotted rug is completely devoid of any patterns or motifs, and allows the undyed wool and goat hair itself to be in a prime focus.  The simplicity of the style gives the viewer the opportunity to appreciate the immense beauty of the natural materials.  It is a challenge for a restorer to work on these weavings, as there is no pattern in which to "hide" the restoration.  The work therefore must be as integrated into the original as possible so as not to disrupt the beauty of the quiet and pattern-less field.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Turkmen Bokhara Rug Repair - Before and After

Above is the picture of the Turkmen Bokhara Rug before our repair and restoration.  Below is the same section photographed after our repair and restoration.

Taken from the underside of the rug, below is a picture of the same area before the repair and restoration.

Below is a picture of the same area of the underside after our repair and restoration.  Rug repairs and restorations are usually more visible from the underside.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Turkmen Bokhara Rug Repair - in process

The first step in reknotting a hole in handknotted pile is to recreate the warp on which the pile rests.  

The warp is woven into uncompromised pile at a short distance from the hole.  The horizontal strands, pictured above, made of cotton, are the recreated warp.  

After the warp is recreated, the weft must be recreated (the vertical strands pictured above).  Together the warp and weft form a grid-like structure which will ensure that the pile, once reknotted, will last as long as the rug itself.  Note that this kind of handknotted rug repair is a very different approach from the quick-fix patching repair approach.  The patching approach involves simply patching in sections of other rugs into a hole.  Patching is a temporary fix at best because patches are only sewn into a rug, not rewoven into the pile.  .

After the warp and weft are recreated, it is time to start reknotting the pile.  The longer blue, red, and white yarn strands in the bottom right hand corner are the beginning of the knotting process.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Turkmen Bokhara Rug Repair - before pictures

One of our recent rug restoration projects was on a Turkmen Bokhara rug.  Bokhara rugs are handknotted in various regions, including in areas in Turkmenistan, Uzbekhistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.  Arguably, the highest quality Bokhara rugs are woven in present day Turkmenistan and Uzbekhistan.  Bokhara rugs are predominantly red in color and feature a recurring motif known as "gul," which in Turkish means "rose."  
This Bokhara rug (sometimes spelled Bukara or Bukhara) was in fine condition with only one area damaged.  The damage was caused by a household pet.  The picture above shows the damage from the front side of the rug; the picture below shows the same damaged area from the back side of the rug.  In days that follow, we will share the step-by-step process of our repair of this beautiful Bokhara rug.