We received a call from a client in a farmhouse in Perthshire, Scotland. She explained that they were recommended our services for cleaning and repair of Oriental and Persian rugs by a friend. They hoped we would be able to solve the moth problem they had on nine oriental rugs – they came to the right place!
We visited the client departing from our Edinburgh office, on arrival we were presented with the rugs, all of which were badly damaged by moths – the collection ranged from Persian rugs to Afghan/Tribal rugs – we have attached an image of one piece – a Persian ‘Mahi’ Tabriz City weave Oriental rug.
We advised that three of the rugs were unfortunately not worth repairing due to their value versus the cost of repairing – which was sad but simply not economical to proceed with. The other six pieces were a mixture of Persian Esphahan, Persian Tabriz and Persian Qashqai, all from the turn of the 20th century and beautiful specimens in themselves – well worth looking after!
Persian Mahi Tabriz CityWe returned to our workshops with all the rugs and immediately treated them with an organic moth treatment which we knew would not cause damage to the soft wools and natural dyes within the rugs. We watched the moth larvae wriggle out of the wool! We then gave them all a light clean by hand which revealed the extent of the damage – this process removes all the loose knots and threads damaged by the moth larvae which eat the pile. The moth often eats from the base of the pile – where one cannot see until it’s too late!
Once this initial process was finished, we hand cleaned each rug using only cold water and organic shampoos and allowed them to dry naturally to avoid shrinkage of the wools. Using heat will badly damage an oriental rug during hand washing and drying – so we use only traditional methods.
Each rug was then rewoven by putting sections back onto a wooden hand loom and weaving with new wools coloured using natural dyes, which maintained both the look and value of each piece. As the moth had not devoured the cotton base and only the wools, we did not have to re-build the foundations – which helped!
A final trim of the rewoven areas, returned each rug to its original condition and looked like new. Exactly the same colour, exactly the same design, exactly the same weave. The client could not believe the difference in the rugs and could not tell where the repairs had been carried out – so good were the newly woven areas!
Whilst most antique Persian and Oriental rugs have been repaired at some point in their lives, it is vital to have the work conducted professionally and by a specialist, full trained and experienced repair team – the high quality of workmanship to maintain the value and appearance and rendering them usable for years to come!