Archive for October, 2011

Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Traditional Patterns In Modern Spaces

Unlike most other items of home decoration, the appearance and form of Persian carpets and Oriental rugsdo not go out of style. They have been intended to serve many functions within your home, from covering a boring floor to giving your room a warmer feel. Although their ability in giving life to traditional surroundings cannot be disputed, they have the capability of doing magic in modern spaces as well, if carefully selected. In fact, many rugs of recent production have been made with this very purpose in mind.

Modern Rugs

Modern Rugs

Modern decorations display rigid, sharp angles, and nothing can soften up the peculiar stiffness of such spaces more effectively than a rug with traditional geometric patterns and straight lines. The trend toward modern designs in Oriental and Persian rugs has clearly been shown in rugs being produced today. However, it seems like new rugs that are made with natural dyes and hand-spun wool are becoming very fine reproductions of rugs made a few centuries ago, and very attractive choices for modern environments.  Perhaps, this can also explain all the hard work that producers are willing to endure in order to give new rugs an antique look through the difficult, time-consuming, and costly wash process. In fact, more than a few professional rug dealers mistake brand new Persian and Oriental rugs for pieces 100 years old.

Incidentally, one of the major characteristics of modern homes is hardwood, laminate, or tile flooring, and these make the ideal place for a hand-knotted rug. For a time period not long ago, people simply dropped out of the rug market and uncovered the glamour of wall-to-wall carpeting. But there is certainly a return to hard floors in newer houses, and specially in homes with a contemporary setting. Such floors act as a beautiful frame to the rug, giving it a much more attractive appearance. An area rug protects your elegant floor in a high traffic entrance, and gradually acquires a polished, soft look by normal use and wear. It is use rather than age which accounts for the admittedly inviting character of handmade rugs. They give color and life to any dull floor. They will not harm your  precious new flooring with or without the use of underlay rubber padding.

The attempts of producing modern designs for contemporary decorations in Persian carpets and Oriental rugs have certainly not failed. However, the public has seemingly voted for a stronger approval of reproductions of classic geometric patterns. With the presence of technology, skilled weavers, and raw materials needed for the production of pieces that the market demands, it will be fascinating to witness the direction that the rug industry will take within the next few years. Naturally, more alternatives and opportunities will show up in the market for rug buyers in the near future. There is going be no limit to the things you will be able to do with a few rugs in your modern home.

Traditional Geometric Patterns

Traditional Geometric Patterns

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Persian Carpets, Oriental Rugs: Surface Cleaning

Persian rugs and Oriental area carpets need to be professionally washed every few years depending on the volume of traffic they are exposed to. Never attempt to wash your hand-knotted rugs at home, as you can cause permanent damage to your beloved investment. Believe it or not, a professional rug cleaner will examine your rug very carefully in order to come to conclusions as to what washing methods to employ to achieve the desired results. Incidentally, Persian rugs and Oriental carpets do not need to be washed unnecessarilly. Just like any other fabric, washing rugs shortens their lifespan. On the other hand, to keep using a dirty rug can cause premature worn spots to appear on the pile. Use your judgment to arrive at the correct timing of a washing project. As a test, rub your hand with strong back and forth motions on the pile of your rug for twenty seconds, and if your hands get dirty, it is time to have your rug washed by a professional cleaner. If you do not notice too much dirth, but prefer to do a bit of cleaning on your rug, then you can surface clean it.

Please note that the following instruction is not intended to replace a professional wash, nor is it recommended for all types of rugs. An older piece of rug, or a very fine carpet, should never be cleaned by following these instructions. It is advised that you test a small portion of your rug for color runs before you start the project. Also, please make sure that you are handling a handmade rug as the synthetic dyes of a machine made carpet may respond diferrently. And finally, please attempt to clean your rug at home at your own risk.

Surface Cleaning

Surface Cleaning

Please note that it is very important to get as much dust out of your rug as possible. Use a vacuum cleaner (preferrably an industrial cleaner with maximum suction power) and just make sure the fringes do not get stuck in the suction as it can damage them. Turn your rug and vacuum the back side as well. If you do not get the dust out, you are going to form a mud in later steps that will sit deep inside the body of your rug, causing serious damage to the foundation by making it fragile. When you feel you have a dust-free rug at your hands, make a solution of lukewarm water (two glasses)and regular dish detergent (three table spoons) in a bowl. Mix it up and build some foam. Get a regular soft brush, go back and forth on the surface using small amounts of the solution at a time. The idea is that your pile should feel wet to the touch but avoid soaking it completely as it may cause color run. Also wash the fringes using the same brush and the same solution. Lay your rug flat somewhere outdoors – not on the lawn or painted deck – where it is exposed to natural air, and preferably to a good sunlight. Make sure it gets completely dry before you start using it in your home again. Otherwise, an unpleasant odor may remain in your home for a good six months. At the end, brush the pile to the direction that gives less resistance. This is to preserve the original direction of the nap. It is important to keep your rug dust-free, so vacuum clean it at least once a week. Dust particles get into the body of your rug and act as sharp razors to cut the fibers of the pile as you step on you rug, resulting in premature worn spots. Enjoy your rug.

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Weaver’s loom And Spider’s web

With no intention of underestimating the value of the artistic efforts of a rug weaver, there are some odd similarities between a loom and a web. Spinning the web by a spider is a symbol of hard work, and so is weaving an Oriental rug or a Persian carpet. Although a spider web may seem fragile and delicate, it can prove to be as hard as steel, being able to support a considerable weight on it. Hand-knotted rugs are also very durable, and if properly cared for, will live longer than any human being has ever lived. Web making is, undoubtedly, a very tiring business, and so is rug weaving. A brief description of both processes may help us approach their well-deserved appreciation.

Spiderweb

Spiderweb

To start spinning a web, the spider releases a sticky thread that is blown away with the wind. With some luck, the breeze carries the silken line to a spot where it sticks and the first bridge is formed. The spider carefully crosses along the thin bridge reinforcing it with a second line. She keeps strenghtening the line until it is sturdy enough. After the first horizontal line, the spider makes a loose thread and constructs with a second thread a Y-shaped line. The radius of the web is thus formed and a frame is constructed to attach the other Y-shaped threads to. When this is all done, the spider begins to make the circular threads. The non-sticky construction threads are made before the sticky threads are woven between the circular threads. The spider walks on the dry strands to avoid getting stuck. While attaching the sticky threads to the frame, the main construction thread is cautiously removed by the spider. Then web is completed with non sticky frame and sticky circular threads and the spider can now rest and sit in the centre of the web waiting for the yields of her hard work. A spider and her web arouse greater self-understanding and encourage us to obtain meaning and satisfaction from the complicated framework and interactions of life.

A Horizontal Loom

A Horizontal Loom

To start weaving a rug, the strands of warp are wrapped around the loom, observing not only a specific space between each strand, but also a specific amount of tension on all of them as to avoid wrinkles in the finished product. The weaving  starts at the bottom, as each knot is tied around two adjacent strands of warp. Over each individual row of knots, either one or two shots of weft – in rare cases three – are inserted. In single-weft weaving, the weft loosely goes over and under the alternate warp threads. In double-weft weaving, the first thread of weft is pulled firmly over and under the warps, whereas the second weft sits more loosely on the top. The thickness of warp and weft threads , the color of the weft, and also the type of the weave, are solid indications as to the exact origin of a rug. In a single day, a talented weaver can tie up around 14,000 knots. For a high quality rug, this means only a very few square feet of woven fabric for a whole month of sincere labor. Weaving a rug demands a high degree of skill and patience, as well as a lot of hard work.

Both final products of a spider and a weaver need to be properly cared for. Rug owners need to acquire the knowledge necessary for an appropriate maintenance of their rugs, whereas spiders are born with the knowledge to care for their web. Both are truly works of art. In Pablo Picasso’s words: “The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”

, , , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Persian Rugs: Abadeh

The town of “Abadeh” is located about 400 miles south of Tehran and on the main road between the cities of Isfahan and Shiraz. Although the history of “Abadeh” goes back to over one thousand years, its development started during the Zand dynasty, when Shiraz was chosen as the nation’s capital.

Persian "Abadeh" with the typical "Heybatlu" design

Persian "Abadeh" with the typical "Heybatlu" design

“Abadeh” has produced some of the best Persian rugs available on the market today. These rugs are normally based on a cotton foundation with a weft of blue color. Two shots of weft are inserted over each sigle row of knots. The pattern consists of small geometric motifs and cypress trees above and under the center medallion with smaller medallions on each corner. This unique design-named Heybatlu- makes them easily recognizable. Although a Persian “Abadeh” rug can be mistaken with a Shiraz, it does have a higher knot count, and the foundation is always cotton as opposed to wool foundation for Shiraz rugs. These rugs usually come in medium sizes and runners with an average KPSI (knots per square inch) of around 140, and are very durable. The pleasing lack of complication in their pattern explains the high demand for “Abadeh” rugs.

In Persian rugs of “Abadeh”, colors are strikingly bright with sharp red and dark blue as dominant colors, used in a way to display as strong a contrast between the field and the border as possible. The use of more advanced and larger looms enabled “Abadeh” weavers to produce better and larger rugs during the past 50 years. On the other hand, because these rugs have mostly been woven by Qashqai nomads, the production of “Abadeh” rugs is gradually being replaced by Gabbeh. Although very rare, an antique piece of “Abadeh” is extremely attractive and can be quite valuable.

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

Persian Rugs, Oriental Rugs: Obtaining An Appraisal Certificate

An appraisal certificate can be of great value in cases of insurance claims. Preparing an official appraisal certificate for a Persian carpet or an Oriental rug is a relatively difficult task. The appraiser needs to have the required knowledge to determine the exact origin of the rug, the material and dyes used in the foundation as well as the pile, the overall condition of the rug, and of course, the age of the rug. In situations when the rug is not present for a physical examination, the appraiser faces harder challenges in judging a rug merely by photos.

Appraisal Certificate

Appraisal Certificate

As the production of Persian and Oriental rugs has been scattered over a relatively large region, consisting of many cities, villages, and tribes, determination of their exact origin sometimes becomes a prediction, if not a guess work. Even rug experts will encounter serious disagreements on a rug’s origin from time to time. The type of dyes used in coloring the wool is much harder to judge than the material of the warp and weft. The foundation is usually either cotton, silk, or wool, with the cotton being applied in most cases. A physical examination of the rug will provide the appraiser with enough evidence to come to firm conclusions about the material and quality of a rug. However, assessing the grade and quality of dyes is a different story. With the technological advances, synthetic dyes are being manufactured in excellent qualities, making them almost impossible to distinguish from natural dyes in the pile of Oriental rugs.

Repairs will have considerable negative impact on the value of a Persian carpet or an Oriental rug. The fact is that a professional repairman could have the artistic ability to mimic the original weave and structural characters on a rug, thereby making a major repair unnoticable even to the trained eyes of a competent appraiser. Perhaps the most difficult element to judge about a rug, and the one with the strongest impact on its value, specially in older pieces, would be their age. Some new rugs are washed in a complicated and time-consuming process to receive the “antique” appearance. In many rugs avilable for sale in current markets, the wool has been washed by the same techniques before the weaving starts, producing an end result that would be hard to separate from genuine antiques. It takes many years of experience in the field of hand-knotted rugs to be able to judge the age of these rugs with reasonable accuracy.

Although the incentive of obtaining an appraisal varies among rug owners, one should realize that the primary purpose of such estimates is to present the replacement value of a rug rather than its current market value, which is always affected by inflation, cost of raw material, wages paid for labor, as well as fluctuations in currency exchange rates. This is why an appraisal will not be of great help when selling a rug. If properly cared for, a rug with a rare design and unique colors may rapidly rise in value. On the other hand, a rug with poor quality might have received an unprofessional wash, showing signs of premature worn spots, thereby decreasing in value within a short time. Therefore, as a measure of safeguarding your valuable investment, it is recommended that you have the appraisals for your Oriental or Persian rugs revised every few years.

, , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments