It’s November and we’re running our usual focus on conservation weekends with demonstrations and an exhibition.
As we cover up the Larkspur bedroom we have a small carpet we need to store for the duration. As you might guess, we have a very particular way of storing carpets – and this is how…
We can’t fold it because textile weakens on the creases over time and can crack, so we have to roll it.
To roll it, first we turn it over – so much easier with a small carpet – when we rolled the carpet in the drawing room it took 6 of us to turn it over!
Hand made carpets are made vertically so they have a distinct direction of the pile – they feel smooth as you run your hand down it. Turning the carpet over and rolling from the top down means we open the dense weave of the pile helping dust and ingrained dirt to get out.
We use an ordinary plastic drainpipe to roll carpets onto. It’s cheap, can be cut to size and easy to get hold of. It’s also fairly lightweight while being pretty sturdy, which is important when you think just how heavy huge carpets can be.
We wrap the drainpipe with acid free tissue and roll the carpet with tissue in between the layers to protect it (it’s easiest if you can find nice big pieces of tissue) and begin to roll.
You have to stop every so often to check the carpet is rolling straight, so the edges of the carpet are supported – if your ends are unsupported they can be damaged over time. However, sometimes the edges of the carpet aren’t straight, so we support them with little sausages of acid free tissue.
Once we’ve rolled it we wrap it – in this case we’ve used a non-woven fabric called Tyvek. The ends are tied or tucked in to stop dust getting in and we can put it away.
This carpet isn’t going away for long, just until spring next year when we will take down the conservation exhibition and reinstate the Larkspur rooms.