Rug pads, hanging and display...
We too have a bit of a "woolly" home. I am not sure if any of our rugs or weavings classify as "rare and collectible" to many, and so the larger ones have to earn their keep on the floor somewhere. We generally hang smaller rugs or those that look good hanging (like an Engsi or some Caucasian rugs that have a clear directional layout like a boteh design).
I have a few questions about displaying rugs in a home. First, what sort of underpadding have people used? We have hardwood floors so we need something that keeps the rugs from sliding, but more importantly, has adequate padding to preserve the life of the rugs/carpets.
Generally, we have hung rugs by having a cotton "sleeve" woven along the one edge of the rug, and then putting a light wooden dowel through the sleeve and hung that on wall hooks. It works okay, but sometimes the rugs can "bunch up" a bit at the top. Perhaps others can share their hanging strategies.
Finally, I wonder if anyone has any unique display strategies, both in terms of presentation and lighting. I think we can do better than just putting a rug on a wall, so we have purchased a number of carved Indian wooden panels (about 6-8 inches in width and 4-5 feet in length). Most of them are old. We plan to mount these on the wall and then hang rugs from them to create a bit more "context" to the rug. We are still awaiting the wood pieces but I'll try to post some pictures if the system works out.
We use several systems for hanging. The simplest is to buy the wood strips with little nails protruding at them at an angle - these are used for laying carpet. A couple of screws holds these to a wall, and they hold small rugs and such in place nicely. I would worry a bit about using them for big rugs, although I've seen lots of dealers display room size carpets this way in their showrooms.
A better system, but more labor intensive, is to sew (basting stitching works fine) one inch wide Velcro strips a bit below the top of a rug, epoxy gluing the mating Velcro strip to a wooden slat. I then screw the wood to the wall, and just put the rug onto it (Velcro to Velcro).
Both systems allow easy adjustment of the angle at which the rug hangs, which matters more than you might think. Corners in rooms aren't true verticals and rugs aren't truly straight along the edges. The vertical line of a rug looks peculiar if it doesn't parallel the the nearest vertical (corner, door frame, window frame, etc.).
Either system makes changing what is hanging very simple.
We buy rolls of some kind of rubberized padding from a local dealer. It dries out eventually, but is usable for, perhaps, 10 to 20 years.
When we drape things over wooden railings, I put a piece of the foam tubing that's made for insulating water pipes between the railing and the textile. This gives it a nice, rounded surface on which to rest, and also a place to fasten a few pins if it needs them.
Marla Mallet makes a strong argument for basting a sleeve across the upper end from which a rug is to hang. Possibly taking that a step further, I wonder if, in the case of a particularly fragile rug, it would make sense to tack-stitch the weaving to linen, so that there is even support for its weight overall. Then the linen could have a sleeve on its back. I noticed in the photos of the Dixon home display that the wall seem to have horizontal ridges and wondered if those didn't somehow aid in evenly supporting his rugs' weight -- rather than all of the stress being felt by the top edge.
Some displays I've seen set up temporary walls that are not vertical, but lean back slightly from bottom to top. This takes much of the weight off the top of the rug. I don't know whether the Dixons have done something similar, but they might have.
Hi Steve and all,
I used to use the carpet layers' nail strips to hang carpets. I thought over time that it chewed the backs up a little bit in some cases. On the other hand, I've had a somewhat heavier than normal (meaty) Baluch prayer rug about six feet long hanging horizontally on the wall in my office for about 25 years, and I guess it's OK.
(Horizontal because that's what I had to do to control the slight banana shape the thing has. Those #@*X*^% nomad looms!)
Here's an example of a cloth tape sleeve basted to the back of the rug. The vertical bits aren't actually tacked through; they're just where the worker put the end of the thread..
The upper bit is sewn on with the tape laid flat over the warp ends. Then the tape is folded down and sewn along the bottom.