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"Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop"

07-20-2012  |  By: Sam Moradzadeh |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »

As your summer plans start to finalize, make sure to include a visit to the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. There is only one month left to catch the exhibit Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop. The Tawaraya Workshop is a 500 year old workshop in the silk district of Kyoto, Japan. It is world renowned for its highly detailed and impeccable silk creations including the robes of Japanese royalty. Its also celebrated for its ability to reproduce textiles from centuries ago such as a recent restoration of fabric that had not been produced since the eighth century.

The exhibit showcases 37 textile pieces on loan from the Tawaraya Workshop. Kimonos, screens, and coronation garments are a few of the brilliantly patterned and ornate silks on view. The Workshop is perhaps best known for its long history of producing yusoku orimon - fine silks in specific colors and patterns worn by the Japanese Imperial Household.

 The Tawaraya Workshop is not a cultural repository, its still actively producing textiles.  The Workshop creates the silks used in Noh Theater, a classical form of Japanese theater. Buddhist and Shinto temples, the keepers of the Japans oldest fabrics, also commission the Workshop to replicate antique weaving patterns and textiles for historical research. 

 Not only does this exhibit offer a visual treasure of inspiration and awe but it also provides a chronological history of the techniques and craftsmanship of Japanese textiles. Hyoji Kitagawa, the current and 18th generation head of Tawaraya, was named a Living National Treasure for upholding and continuing the knowledge of this richly historic Japanese art form. Mr. Kitagawa is heading into retirement without a successor in his wake. While his sons are creative professionals they have not undergone the years of training that are traditionally required to understand and absorb all the skills and background to uphold the position. He may be the last in his family to lead the Tawaraya Workshop.

 The silk creations of the Tawaraya Workshop share a historical and artisanal background with antique rugs. Both crafts were heavily influenced by their geographical region and were born from handwoven techniques and practices passed down through generational apprenticeships. In our modern days of mass production, these ancient forms of weaving and producing handmade, unique textiles seem even more precious and mesmerizing. 

Woven Treasures of Japan's Tawaraya Workshop at the Textile Museum closes on August 12, 2012


How to Care for Your Antique Rug

07-03-2012  |  By: Sam Moradzadeh |  (0) Post comment »  |  Read comments »
How to Care for Your Antique Rug

Your antique rug can have many identities. It can be a piece of art, an investment, a treasured decorative item, or a family heirloom. Whether you spent years tracking down the perfect rug or one serendipitously arrived in your life, the next step is to cultivate its longevity with the proper care. Antique rugs can be tricky. Theyve come a long way but that doesnt mean they are indestructible. With a toolbox full of tips on how to care for an antique rug and a little elbow grease, your antique rug will continue to thrive and remain a constant companion in your home. 

Weve put together a handy list of tips for cleaning, storing, and caring for your antique rug. 

Top Ten Tips for Caring for your Antique Rug

1) Vacuuming is the primary tool for keeping your antique rug healthy. Remember to vacuum both sides of your rug to even out the daily wear-and-tear and to prevent a moth issue before it starts. 

2) One of the most effective and easiest ways to prolong the life of your antique rug is to rotate it. Simply move it a few inches or change the direction of the rug. This will cut down on sun damage which is one of the harshest elements for a vintage rug.

3) Antique rugs tend to live in tandem with the weight of furniture. In order to avoid indentations, creasing, and the breakdown of textiles, shift the point of contact for furniture every six months even if its just an inch or two.

4) Many antique rugs have beautiful but fragile fringe. When vacuuming an antique rug with fringe, avoid running the vacuum directly over the fringe as it can shred these strands.  Its best to clear any debris from the fringe with a gentle finger comb.

5) Stains happen. Antique rugs can survive most minor stains. When a stain does happen, use damp, clean towels to blot the stain from the outer edges towards the center of the stain to avoid spreading it. 

6) A glass of lemonade can be more dangerous than a coffee spill when it comes to antique rugs. Stains high in sugar attract dirt more quickly causing the stain to grow. Be sure to thoroughly clean up stains on your rug as soon as you spot them.

7) The soft glow of candles bring a peaceful feel to any room but that drippy wax can devastate the delicate textiles of an antique rug. If you do experience a wax spill, gently scrape off any wax that has not hardened yet. Then use an ice cube to solidify the remaining wax and slowly pull off the solid bits.

8) If you need to store your antique rug, roll it up with the pile facing inward.  This protects the greatest amount of surface area of the rug while keeping it free of folds and creases. 

9) If your antique rug is doing some traveling, be sure to roll it and then wrap the outer surface in padding secured with strong ties. Heavy rugs can be dragged, shoved, and crushed during shipping so dont be shy about cocooning your antique rug in thick padding.

10) Not a big fan of cleaning or tending to stains? Your best bet is to choose an antique rug with a colorful, bold design pattern. Solid patterns or subtle shades will be less forgiving to stains and wear. 

If your antique rug is in need of a professional cleaning or repair, we have an experienced team of conservators specializing in keeping your vintage rug in top form.  We also offer free pickup and delivery service in the Los Angeles area.