Tapestry wall hangings are extensions of a bygone era, about which only little can be known. Thus, these artworks have to preserved with utmost care to ensure that they last lifetimes to come.
The art of tapestry weavers has adorned walls from the ancient times to the renaissance and all the way till the present times. The origin of tapestries dates back to the 3rd century BC, exhibiting remnants of Greek tapestry which has been preserved in the Tarim Basin desert. In the ancient times, the Kings could roll up tapestries and carry them along as they moved from one continent to another to expand their empires.
These tapestries were used in the castles for insulation purposes. The woven works of art were emblems of indisputable royalty and authority. Hunting scenes, scenes from coronation, religious and mythological iconography, were some of commonly seen imagery on the wall hangings back then.
If you own a handwoven piece of tapestry, looking after it is quite a task. It has to cared of in the most delicate way, to maintain its rich colors and the texture of the fabric. If the piece is an old one, then you need to be extra careful while cleaning it.
Home Care for a Tapestry
- If you have an old tapestry, then it might already have a few creases and tears. This will make your task of restoring it and looking after it even more challenging.
- To iron out the creases on your tapestry, place it flat on the ironing board and cover it with a soft cloth. Make sure the area you will be ironing is well covered. Now gently iron the tapestry over the cloth. Preferably, keep the iron on a low setting to prevent any kind of irreparable damage.
- As the tapestry remains hung on the walls for a long time, it becomes a host for spiders, dust and other tiny flying bugs. Brushing them out will pull out a few strands of woven fabric. To remove these, use a damp cloth and gently rub the dust off and clean out the bugs too. You can use a vacuum cleaner too. However, keep it on minimum speed to prevent any kind of damage.
- Vacuuming the tapestry on the front and back from time to time, will keep its colors looking vibrant and fresh.
- Framing the tapestry is an excellent way of preventing any kind of dirt and grime getting stuck in it. It will keep the tapestry safe from any water leakages that may pervade it through the walls.
- While washing your tapestry wall hangings, make sure that you use lukewarm water, because hot water or cold water can ruin its color and texture. Use a fabric softener after the wash to maintain the softness of the fabric.
- While drying the tapestry, hang it in place which receives indirect sunlight. Drying the tapestry in the direct sunlight will fade the colors of the fabric.
As tapestries are on the walls, they are not susceptible to stains. However, if they ever do get stained, it can be removed just as you would remove it from a carpet. Make a solution of soap and water and gently rub it over the stain, to get rid of it. A solution of apple cider vinegar and water can also help you remove the tough stains on the tapestry.
Tapestries, especially the hand woven ones, are rare to find, and hence must be cared for right from the start. The exquisite pieces of artwork have to be cleaned, repaired and restored, just the way carpets and rugs are. Older tapestries are symbols of family heritage and precious to those who inherit them. Thus, keep them in the best form, for your next generation to see how much you cared for your belongings.