Magic Carpet Ride

The Nomads Tent, Edinburgh

Ethnic rugs and textiles and among my favorite things so I am surprised that Jeff told me about the The Nomads Tent, a shop specializing in tribal rugs and textiles, that he found while walking home from a hike to Arthur’s Seat one day.

While rugs are the main focus of the shop, it also has ethnic textiles, jewelry, furniture, art, home decor and books. They also offer rug repair and cleaning services.

In addition to giving patrons an opportunity to purchase unique items from India, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam and other regions, the shop provides opportunities for education and personal experiences. They host exhibitions and talks and have an international travel program.

img_8494smallTheir guided tours are to fascinating locales such as Burma, Bhutan, Laos, Turkey, Georgia and Jordan. Tours are lead by The Nomads Tent founder Rufus Reade. They provide insight into local culture and history and sometimes include an expert on the area or in a specific topic such as drawing and painting in that locale.




Textiles in the shop include collectable vintage and antique items, wearable items like kaftans, decorative yet utilitarian home textiles such as bed covers and blankets and decorative home wares like toran (hangings around a doorway).

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Home decor items include ceramics, storage, furniture and lighting. They also have a great selection of enamel tiffins, or Indian lunch boxes



When I saw these posters from Vietnam, I was reminded of my own trip to Vietnam with Sam when he was 3 years old.



While in Ho Chi Minh I went to Lotus, a shop on Dong Khoi Street, that sells vintage  and reprint propaganda posters and bought one for myself. It is currently in storage, but here are photos I took in the shop.

The main attraction in The Nomads Tent are the rugs. They are piled, they are rolled up, they are hanging on the walls, they are lying on the floors, all wonderful ways to help you imagine how they may look in your space.

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Cleaning a rug with moth damage

While I was in the shop, someone was cleaning a rug. I asked the person cleaning a few questions. He said the rug was from Afghanistan and that it had moth damage. I could see the white cocoons from the moths on the back of the rug and there were some holes throughout. He was using a solution on a slightly damp brush to brush the white cocoons off the back of the rug.

I cleaned a wool rug myself in a bath tub using Woolite and a soft brush. It was beyond just a damp cleaning. I laid it out to dry in the sun and it turned out great.  I would love to learn more about rug cleaning from a professional though and it is good to know that a professional is available for repair work. I often find rugs for very reasonable prices, but the fringe or edges are not in good condition and in the worst cases are actually beginning to unravel, which requires professional intervention.

The shop has a lovely patio showcasing garden antiques.

I am lucky enough to have The Nomads Tent right in my back yard, but readers in other parts of the UK may be able to visit them closer to home this fall through their Autumn Road Shows. They do sell some items online as well.

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