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The Natural World in Carpets and Rugs | Nomads Tent

Thursday 24 October 2024 to Sunday 26 January 2025

The Natural World in Carpets and Rugs

The Nomads Tent in Edinburgh is regarded by some as one of Edinburgh's hidden gems with its fabulous collections of rugs, artefacts, jewellery and textiles.  This exhibition, The Natural World in Carpets and Rugs, brings together a variety of beautiful woven rugs, kilims and other textiles to demonstrate how the beauty and complexity of nature is central to the many traditional weaving cultures.

Weaving is a primary human craft, perhaps one of the oldest of all. It makes practical materials which keep people warm.  In the heartlands of often ancient weaving traditions, pattern and colour distinguish tribe from tribe, serving as tokens of power, tradition and style.  Weavers the world over delight in sharing and copying ideas from other cultures and often a common theme is the natural world.  More than any other source of inspiration, it is the flora and fauna of our little planet that has moved weavers for millennia.

Weaving is a traditional craft that is alive and kicking, especially hand knotted carpets and hand woven kilims, we will include both traditional and contemporary items.  Poems of the great Hafez and Nizami will be explored, especially the iconic mystical story The Conference of the Birds by Attar.  Their imagery suffuses Oriental weaving tradition, from the magnificent Paradise Carpets, grand palace carpets and humble but wild and charming tribal rugs.

For more information on Nomads Tent please visit - (opens new window)


In a Garden of Stories - with storyteller Beth Cross
Sunday 17 November

Join us for live, all ages, storytelling.  Part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival (opens new window) (SISF) 2024 - Go Local programme. 
Four sessions available, duration 25mins each.  You are welcome to attend just one or all four sessions.

11:00am session - Spin a Yarn
How did the magic caterpillar spin its cocoon?  And why did the merchant stub his toe?  Come find out in this session with stories within stories inspired by the rugs and kilims of the Nomad's Tent.

12noon session - Riddle me This
When is a feast not a feast?  Come find out in the session of riddles interwoven with stories.  Rugs have a way of one thing becoming another, this slight of hand provides the inspiration for this session.

1pm session - Sing and Weave
Have you ever had to sing for your life?  Come find out how one clever girl did in this session where stories and songs thread together to weave tales inspired by the Nomad's Tent.

2pm session - In a Rose Garden, be a Rose
This session explores the threads within the stories, gardens are woven with delights and these patterns inspire both stories and the weaver's art.  Trees and nests, feathered creatures and those with shells, slender reeds and fulsome blossoms, all find a place in the woven nature of these sessions. Come see if you can find them all.

Gallery Talk - with Nomads Tent curator, Andrew Haughton
Thursday 5 December, 6:30-8pm.  

Andrew will share tales about traditional arts, crafts and travels within weaving cultures.

Weaving Craft Workshop for Adults - with Marie Henderson 
Saturday 7 December, 10am-2pm.

A beginner's workshop in bandweaving.  Using a heddle and backstrap technique to make a band that can be made into a bagstrap, belt, bookmark(s), dog-lead, curtain tie-back you name it. Bands are very versatile and useful. 
Tickets £20 all materials provided. Booking essential, minimum numbers to run. 


To book on to any of the above events please email your name, contact email, phone number and number of guests to: (opens new window)  or call: 01506 282720


A virtual tour of the exhibition will be added here in early September.