If you’re wondering if you should restore, repair, or preserve an antique area rug it really depends on the circumstances. But before we go any farther here is a very brief historical overview of rugs. Being that over time all wool textiles oxidize and crumble, there are very few Oriental rugs that exist before the year 1500 A.D. Persian and Chinese hand-tied rugs mostly used wool and sometimes silk for knotting pile. The warp and weft are made using the upright loom on which the knots are tied. The surface texture on the pile is created by the knots that leave a depression on the back of the rug. The warping at the ends of the rugs later becomes the rug fringes and is finished off in two different ways either knotting or overcasting the fringe ends. The rug side cords secure the edges. There are two types of rug knots the Persian or Senneh, better known as the asymmetric knot and the Turkish or Ghiordes , also known as the symmetrical knot. In Turkey, Caucasus, Turkistan, and Northwest Iran (formerly Persia) and some tribal weaving areas in the south of Iran the symmetrical Ghiordes knot is used on all rugs.
It’s an art dying wool and silk, that’s why matching colors is very important when it comes to antique rugs. Repair, restoration, and preservation all require achieving the right blend of color, wool and design to match the look and the feel of the rug. Dyes come from either natural substances or synthetic chemical sources. Modern synthetic red dyes are made in Germany and Switzerland by using high-quality chrome Ciba Geiger dyes which produce different shades of red. Indigofera tinctoria plant produces the color indigo blue or true indigo. Among the plant hues used in antique Oriental rugs, indigo is one of the colors that can be remade using modern synthetic dyes making it hard to tell natural dye from the synthetic dye. Indigo dyes have been used on wool, silk and cotton. Yellow-colored dyes need scientific analysis to determine plant dyes from synthetic dyes. There are a large number of yellow plant-based dyes.
For the color brown natural vegetable dyes were produced by using Madder Red, darkened with iron. These are usually found on older rugs. Greens were invariably obtained by double-dyeing with indigo and one of the yellow dyes. Antique rug repair work is a form of art. To match colors, wools need to be blended by strand, age and type to achieve the exact texture and luster. This requires the rug restorer to re-spin and re-dye the wool to get the exact color match. To get the exact rug design for repairing holes requires the use of a digital camera and a computer that records one knot at a time to provide the antique rug repair technician with a knot-by-knot blueprint. Rebuilding the warp and the weft — the carpet’s foundation — requires the same meticulous attention and detailed analysis as wool pile blending.
What’s The Difference Between Repair, Restoration, And Preservation?
Antique Rug Repair
Repairing stabilizes the integrity of the entire textile, restoring resiliency and strength. It prevents additional injury that structural weakness can cause. Keeping the body of the rug stable can stop unraveling and fraying, which affects not only the construction of the rug, but the artistry of the rug and of course the value of the rug.
Antique Rug Restoration
Antique rug restoration is very expensive because the repairer must match the dyes, wools and construction to that of the original rug. In other words, the damaged part is replaced to match the original. This means they must replicate the physical construction and every single detail of the rug: weave structure, wool texture, and design. The antique rugs that are approved for restoration need to be very valuable rugs, meaning they’re not only old but rare as well. Unfortunately only 10% of the antique rugs in people’s homes are qualified to be restored.
Antique Rug Preservation
Only the rarest example of rug artistry can be preserved because any alteration of them can take away from their artistic excellence. These rugs are usually for display only. Usually, rugs that fit this requirement are scarce and are rarely used for the floor. To ensure the rugs longevity it is very important for you to preserve the original structure. By preserving the rugs, like many art forms, stabilizes the rug without changing the condition it is currently in. Physical reinforcement to stabilize the rug maybe used on a delicate area without creating structural change.
Parts Of Rugs That Need Repair:
The antique rug repairs that are most popular are the edges, ends, holes, and field wear. Rug ends are made of the vertical warp thread of the rug loom where the knots were originally tied. These will be made into the extended fringe ends. These ends have to be extremely tight to make sure the ends on the rugs don’t fray and unravel. It is very important that the end borders don’t fray so you won’t lose the end colors. Usually a fringe-end will need re-working later on in the life of the rug. There are five ways the fringes are finished and they are: knotting, overcasting the ends, sew chain stitch, elaborate braiding and hand weaving individual fringe lengths into the rug body. Do not vacuum area rug fringes. The edges of a rug wear away the quickest. The repairs are normally done two ways. If the edge cording is intact, it can be easily overcast with wool that matches the exact color wool of the edge cording. These repairs need to be done by hand, never by machine. If the edge cording on the original rug is worn completely then new warping will be placed, sewn, and strung under tension, followed by overcasting. Another way to do this is to weave by hand, closely and securely, a pre-fabricated edge into the edge of the rug.