African indigo, popularly known as mud cloth, is created by an African artisan one piece at a time. Even when patterns look similar, there will be differences because of the hand-made indigo resist-dye process. The piece above has the added embellishment of an embroidery design. This design element would be a focal point when the African indigo is worn as a shawl-like wrap or skirt.
African indigo can be found with a range of fish motifs. The piece above is one of many such African indigo textiles I have carried in my shop. Vintage or new, the fish motif will always look unique due to the artisan's skill set. The pattern isn't the only thing that makes each African indigo different. The cloth weight and weave lend unique textures to the African textile as well.
African indigo is originally made to be worn. But present day use of African indigo has gone well beyond use as a garment. African indigo is repurposed for upholstery, bed covers, pillows, and throws. The piece above is extra large for this type and the additional fringe makes it a more stylized textile. An African indigo such as this would be wonderful hung on the wall or draped over the foot of the bed.
The pillows seen here are all made from vintage African indigo. Pillow covers are a great way to repurpose vintage indigo that is damaged or stained leaving only part of the cloth in good condition. You can easily cut square or lumbar pillows from the usable pieces of the mud cloth. Some people enjoy the distressed indigo and opt to keep them whole rather than cut the vintage textile apart. I think either use is appropriate and better than seeing the vintage textiles sent to a landfill.
African indigo is for anyone who loves blue and white or denim textiles. Each African indigo is unique and worth preserving in some form or another. My shop on Etsy and here at Morrissey Fabric has a large selection of these wonderful one of a kind African mud cloth textiles. Each piece you see has been carefully cleaned. When appropriate, I repair torn areas and sometimes patch holes. Every African indigo is measured, tagged, and photographed for Morrissey Fabric. You can count on receiving very clean vintage African textiles from the shop every time.
Mexican hand embroidered Otomi textiles are a colorful way to add charm to a space. My clients have used Otomi place mats as wall art and pillow cover fabric. Otomi pieces like that seen above are often embroidered with mythical animals possessing meanings rooted in the Mexican culture. Otomi embroidery is also known as Tenango.
Mexican Otomi patterns embroidered with floral motifs are the most popular in my shop. I believe this is because floral patterns are easily understandable and fit within many different decorative styles. The two otomi floral patterns seen above are just a sampling of the floral designs available.
Otomi fabrics are most commonly seen in multi-color embroidery designs. But single-color, or monochromatic embroidery is also quite popular. When limiting the hand embroidery to a single color, the animal or floral motifs tend to be more clearly visible. The two Otomi textiles in blue seen here will work in just about any blue and white color story.
Otomi textiles often have bird designs. Usually the birds found in Otomi embroidery patterns are mythical, but every now and then you may recognize a dove or a rooster.
Where there are birds, there are flowers too. I select bird patterns that have a certain charm about them. The multi-color embroidery gives the birds a festive appearance that is exactly what Otomi embroideries are known for.
The Otomi fabrics carried in my shop are all hand-embroidered by artisans in the Hidalgo region of Mexico. The unique, one-of-a-kind nature of these Tenango textiles will add a warm and welcoming appeal to your home.
Black and white color stories have been going strong for quite some time. But sticking to purely black and white can be difficult to do if you happen to love color. Try adding an accessory in a hue that you love to give your space a different feel. In the bedroom above the design is black, white, and blush pink. The black and white African mud cloth pillow combined with a simple pink bolster gives the space an extra punch of style. The delicately framed art balances the room nicely.
I often use the Beach Lodge for examples of interior style because their team has a talent for mixing vintage and new global textiles with ease. Above, the white shiplap room gets a global-style update with simple black and white African fabrics. The pop of red in the African Aso-Oke pillow creates extra visual interest to the bedroom as does the natural green plant. The inviting bedroom would not have the same personality without the addition of the red color to the black and white palette.
Black and white fabric can work on it's own, but adding a touch of color to the space will make a world of difference. Above, Caitley Symons photographed her hand-printed black and white fabric with natural elements to warm the composition. Note how the bright pink water lilies and warm wood bowl enhance the clarity of her beautiful black and white print.
Some may not consider this a black and white color story. But I'm using this bedroom as an example of how black and white work quite well when combined with a third color. The soft sea-glass green is enhanced by the crisp black and white bed linens and the boldly printed pillows anchor the room.
I have added more than one hue to the black and white color story in the bedroom above because it's difficult for me to limit my color palette to only three colors. But that's just me. Consider the space as black, white, and blue. The denim blue in the vintage African indigo pillows and throw add history and warmth to the bedroom. The black and white African Hausa bed cover can stand on it's own, but the denim blue and red-hued wood give the space an extra punch of style.
I'm not one to underestimate the power of a room decorated in black and white. Rustic farmhouse style and vintage industrial style are certainly decor themes well suited to black and white textiles and furnishings. But you don't have to use pure optic white to have the look. You can use unbleached cotton textiles or unbleached wool fabrics which have a warmer ivory shade compared to cool optic whites. The textiles in the photo above are all from Africa where bleaching natural cotton fabrics is not common due to water scarcity. Instead, the African cloth is left in a natural state with cotton seeds and slubs adding to their hand crafted beauty.
The large strip cloth seen above is called an African cotton Hausa. The strips of cloth are wider than a standard mud cloth textile. This one has seven-inch-wide pieces hand-stitched together with waxed thread of pure natural linen. By joining the strips together the cloth can be made into a king-size bed cover if desired. The African Hausa above has classic black stripes combined with a simple geometric "o" pattern. This textile could be used at the foot of a bed, draped over a sofa back, or made into multiple pillows.
A simple black and natural color stripe blanket is a dramatic addition to the bohemian bedroom designed by Carlay Page. The iron bed frame mimics the black stripes and the painted side tables add to the simple yet sophisticated color story.
The all-wool textile seen above is from Peru. The wool is all natural. little to no dyes are needed for the black or the soft ivory color since that is the hue of the fiber when shirred from the animal. The decorative wool piece is intended to hang on a wall so the artisan incorporated a tunnel at the top and the bottom of the Peruvian textile so it could be easily hung on a rod if desired. A graphic wool textile such as this works well as a table runner, wall art, or could be made into purses or pillows.
The globally-sourced artisanal textiles in the photo above originate from several different countries. The common link to all of them is the natural color fiber that is used instead of bleached white yarns. The African mud cloth pillow is made from African mud cloth that is not truly white. The center of the pillow is from a Hausa textile that was also woven from unbleached cotton. The Mexican Otomi has black embroidery stitched on top of natural muslin fabric, and the wool textile from Peru has the same warm ivory shade. All these unique textiles have a beauty that comes with the natural state of the unbleached cotton or wool.
I have many artisanal textiles such as these listed in my on line store and in my Etsy shop. Please visit Morrissey Fabric on line when you are ready to purchase a hand-crafted global textile as a gift or for your own home.
Velvet is making a strong showing in home decor. The luxurious fabric comes in many variations of content and textures. You can find velvet for upholstery woven from silk, rayon, cotton, and/or polyester. While I love the drape of silk and rayon velvets, my personal favorite is 100% cotton velvet, also called velveteen. Cotton velveteen is washable and durable and a bit more casual than the luxury fiber versions.
Mexican Otomi embroidery paired back to cotton velvet is a playful and unique combination. Chair Whimsy used a deep fuchsia velvet for the seating on the vintage chairs with a multi color Mexican Otomi textile for the chair backs. Now that's what I call a perfect match.
Velvet fabric is not just for Victorian tufted couches. A simple vintage Danish sofa reupholstered in gray velvet makes for a very nice update. The velvet upholstery allows the clean lines of the sofa design to shine through.
Velvet can be woven with elaborate patterns and Scalamandre is world-renownd for just such textiles. The pair of Scalamandre velvet pillows above would sit pretty in a Jungalow-style interior. I'm a big fan of Scalamandre but their textiles can get very pricey. The pair of pillows seen above are listed on Chairish.com for $899. USD.
Velvet upholstery fabric comes in solid colors, woven textures and patterns, and in a form called crushed velvet. Durning the mid 1980s one of my favorite garments to wear to my fashion design job in NYC was a royal blue crushed velvet boyfriend jacket. I usually wore it with a pair of black velvet stretch leggings! I thought I was the cat's meow. Crushed velvet has a distinctive "crushed" look about it giving it a vintage appearance. The chair above is upholstered in a crushed velvet that also has a high/low stripe woven into the pattern.
Velvet can be used as part of an upholster piece, but it also works great as a pillow back. Instead of using linen for the back of the Guatemalan corte cloth pillow above, I opted to use navy blue velvet for a more dramatic look. The cotton velveteen added a soft and luxurious look to the pillow cover. I prefer to use cotton velveteen because it has a less formal appearance than a silk or rayon velvet. Plus, it has the added benefit of being machine washable.
For cotton velvet by the yard in a variety of colors, please visit my on line store or my Etsy shop.
There are those of us in the design world who can't get enough pillows. We are self-proclaimed pillow addicts. With so many choices for pillow cover fabrics, it's no wonder anyone who loves textiles would also enjoy a well made global textile pillow. The purpose of my post today is to give you some inspiration for patching together remnant textiles as well as encourage you to try to make one on your own.
In the photo above, I combined a vintage Guatemalan corte cloth with a vintage African indigo mud cloth. I wanted to make two large 24 inch x 24 inch pillows but I didn't have enough of the Guatemalan corte cloth to cover the front and back sides. The African indigo mud cloth was the perfect shade of blue to match the Guatemalan ikat so a match was made. The result are pillows that can be used on either side.
When cutting fabric for the pink and white mud cloth pillow above, I hadn't noticed there was a discolored area on the white mud cloth. I believe it may have come from the steam in my iron. However it got there, I didn't want to toss a perfectly good pillow aside. I had some extra pink mud cloth scraps, so I created a small patch to cover the spot. Not only did the pink mud cloth print patch solve the problem, I prefer the extra design detail it added to the mud cloth pillow.
The pair of African Baule Cloth pillows seen above were cut from a damaged textile that couldn't be used for much else. There was just enough cloth to get two pillow fronts that have a terrific coastal home vibe. Nautical and mud cloth are not always synonymous, but in this case they certainly are.
African Kuba cloth textiles can be found in many different sizes. Some Kuba cloth comes in very long pieces measuring over fifteen feet or more. The African Kuba cloth pillow above was made form a small piece of Kuba cloth I had in my showroom. Clients weren't wanting to use a 24" square piece of kuba cloth on it's own, but when made into a pillow, it becomes a nice home accessory. Plus, this particular piece of Kuba cloth is very sturdy and will hold up to indoor and outdoor use.
Chinese Hill Tribe wedding quilts have become a popular global textile for home accessories. Chinese minority textiles are often found with fading and damages that you can easily work around. I was able to cut the two 22-inch x 22-inch pillows from a well-worn but beautiful vintage hill tribe wedding blanket. The colors lend themselves to a black and white interior or a taupe and gray space. The cloth was hand made and is a Zhaung hill tribe textile. I have these pillows listed on Chairish because the more rare wedding blanket cloth is a higher-priced item.
Hill tribe fabrics from Asia are often very narrow due to the limited size of the back strap looms the indigenous people use. Above is a pillow I made from a rustic hand crafted Asian hill tribe hemp material. The shibori pattern stripes were made by hand. There are similar patterns, but each is unique due to the hand made nature of the vintage fabric. The width on this particular gray shibori cloth was wider than most measuring 22 inches. This made it easy to create a nice size pillow.
The batik pattern pillow above was made from a very narrow vintage batik fabric from Thailand. I fell in love with the black and turquoise pattern, but the cloth measured a mere 12 inches wide. I didn't want to make a tiny pillow, so instead I combined the vintage batik hill tribe cloth back to a textural cotton upholstery fabric. The two textiles compliment one and other and have a coastal or tropical feel.
I can't say I have a favorite textile for making pillows. However, for the 2017 season, by far the most popular pillows have been those made from vintage African indigo mud cloth fabrics. Each pillow is unique because each textile is hand made and has a different history. The vintage indigo fabrics I use are thoroughly cleaned and mended so the resulting pillows have a certain sparkle about them. I am always pleased to use a piece of African indigo that seemed impossible to save. Small pieces of African indigo mud cloth can be used as patches on damaged indigo, or some may be just large enough to provide a full size pillow front. One thing is for certain, you can make beautiful and unique pillows from small pieces, even scraps, of vintage global textiles.
vintage or new, Latin American textiles are often filled with vibrant color and bold designs. The Otomi embroidered pillow above is from Hidalgo, Mexico, and the bright trim on the black and white African mud cloth pillow is from Guatemala.
Otomi women from Tenango de Noria sew colorful embroidery on cotton or linen cloths. Animals like birds and deer as well as flowers are hand embroidered in multiple or single color patterns. The lively patterns decorate textiles meant for use as table cloths, pillow cases, quilts and clothing. These beautiful Mexican textiles have been reproduced by fine couture companies such as Hermes, and copied as prints by large home decor corporations like Pottery Barn.
So what is henequen? Found in the Yukatan, henequen is a natural thread spun from agave fibers. If you think all Latin American textiles are brightly colored, as you can see, the a neutral palette is attainable as well. Artisan Mily Cauich Canul crafts an original cushion for Taller Maya's "Milagros" collection featuring four decorative buttons carved from bull horn. Canul works on the pedal loom with henequen threads spun from agave fibers. Black diagonal stitches create a harmonious contrast with henequen's natural hue and is on the mark for any interior space with a black, white, or natural color story.
Latin American textiles of the vintage variety are a pleasure to layer within an interior space. I have found there are some style-makers particularly adept at layering their colorful textiles, rugs, and pillows. Bari J. is a blogger who is well known for her vibrant mixes as you can see from the interior space above. Guatemalan huipils (tops) and corte cloth (skirts) were used to make the embroidered pillow and throw selection on the vintage day bed.
The stack of frazada textiles in the photo above are each one of a kind and made from soft cotton or wool yarns. Because they are heavier in weight, they make great blankets and throws. These lofty textiles come from Peru and can be seen made into purses, pillows, or used just as they are. The company, Pink Frazada, based in the UK, specializes in home and wearable accessories made from Peruvian frazadas.
Guatemalan textiles are sturdy and well crafted fabrics. You will find new pieces or vintage Guatemalan textiles will suit just about any diy or designer project. The Global Trunk, based in Los Angeles, uses Guatemalan huipiles and corte cloth to make a nice range of home goods. The dog bed cover above is made by one of their artisan coops in Guatemala. The indigo blue plaid with the rainbow colored ronda detail will keep a pampered pooch sitting pretty.
A wide range of Latin American textiles can be found in my Etsy shop or on this website store. If you don't see what you need, please contact me via my contact page or by email.
I'm relatively new to the beautiful and colorful Guatemalan world of textiles. I've seen Guatemalan ikat fabrics incorporated into purses and shoes, but I never really considered how the textiles looked as a whole. When I first came across large pieces of vintage Guatemalan fabrics, I stopped dead in my tracks to admire their artisanal beauty. Above is a vintage Guatemalan corte cloth woven on a backstrap loom. The deep indigo blue combined with the crisp white yarn-dyed stripes has a more polished look that some of the Guatemalan ikat textiles. The addition of the colorful embroidered ronda detail makes this Guatemalan textile right at home in a bohemian or coastal setting. I've seen these corte cloth fabrics (corte means skirt) used as beach towels and picnic blankets because they are woven from strong cotton fibers and they are easily washed.
While Guatemalan textiles are easy to style on their own, they also make great home accessories. The pair of pillows seen here has a subtle sophistication about them. Even though they are cotton indigo and have colorful embroidery, they maintain an understated casual elegance. Vintage Guatemalan fabrics are a good way to go to achieve this style.
The textile seen here is an artisanal-made cloth intended for use as a table cloth, or perhaps to be made into a jacket or tote bags. The colors are a bit more contemporary than the vintage Guatemalan textiles, but the fabric is still woven with care and artistry. I like to carry these in my shop when I find them because they are durable and distinctive.
The pillow seen here is made from a Guatemalan corte cloth that has a repeating ikat stripe pattern. Corte cloth such as the vintage piece used for the pillow above can be found in my Morrissey Fabric on line shops. Vintage Guatemalan corte fabrics come in a range of colors although often indigo blue is the most common hue. Of course the multicolor ronda detail makes a nice decorative focal point for the center of the pillow.
The stylish cord covers above are crafted in Guatemala by artisans who work with vintage corte cloth and leathers. The skill involved is clearly illustrated by these small accessories. The vintage ikat corte cloth coordinates back to any color leather because indigo blue looks good with just about anything.
Stay tuned for my next post about Guatemalan vintage textiles. I'll be showcasing several limited edition pillows and floor cushions made exclusively for Morrisseyfabric.com
Asian textiles have been trending for several seasons due to the hand crafted artisanal nature of the fabrics. The vintage shibori textiles typically come to the USA as indigo blue and white. But as consumers are searching for gray textiles to coordinate with their interior color schemes, the one-of-a-kind vintage shibori pieces are being specially treated to change the indigo blue to various shades of gray. Above are two such vintage Asian hill tribe textiles.
Chinoiserie batik textiles like that seen here are usually available in indigo blue. This unique version was treated to become a stunning shade of charcoal gray Chinese batik. Because the Chinese batik textile is now gray, it has a completely new look while remaining a classic Chinoiserie pattern.
Vintage Asian textiles have a global appeal because of their unique graphic patterns. These active patterns are appealing in their original indigo blue as well as in gray. The hemp fabric above is also from an Asian hill tribe and was created completely by hand. The uneven patterns give this gray hill tribe textile it's unique character.
The yarn-dyed hemp stripe seen here has been one of my most popular textiles in the Morrissey Fabric shop. The vintage hemp textile comes in narrow twelve-inch widths but can be sewn together to create a wider cloth.
When I treat these textiles to change them from indigo blue to gray, they don't always cooperate. Sometimes the hemp textile turns to a shade of gold or brown so there are no guarantees. But one thing is certain, each vintage hill tribe textile is unique.
So what if you prefer a bit of color with your gray-hued interior? You can find hand made Asian batik textiles with shots of color sewn to the surface. These hill tribe hemp fabrics are originally woven to become skirts for the indigenous people. The hill tribe people tend to like more color in their garments. The piece of batik cloth shown above has white and hot pink cording sewn to the surface for an extra decorative touch.
You will find a selection of vintage and new Asian hill tribe batiks in the MorrisseyFabric.com shop as well as in my Etsy shop.
African mud cloth now comes in an assortment of colors not previously available. For example the pink mud cloth above is a new rendition for mud cloth. There is only one African source for this particular color of pink. I am fortunate enough to know the owners of this wonderful small business in Mali, Africa so I had early access to their fun assortment of prints for these pink mud cloth textiles.
Black and white mud cloth along with shades of soft black to gray work beautifully back to all of the farmhouse-style home trends with a black and white interior color pallet. These dark color mud cloth fabrics also suit a contemporary environment and can be seen in coffee shops and restaurants as well. Some of the hand printed mud cloth comes with basic geometric patterns such as triangles and lines. If you prefer to keep the design motif from looking too ethnic, this is a good way to go.
Black and white mud cloth prints are classic as-is. However, you can add a nice twist by combining a traditional hand printed African mud cloth with a colorful accent trim. Above, I used a piece of Guatemalan hand made strapping to add a rainbow pop of color to the mud cloth pillow. The additional color combined with the bold black and white mud cloth print makes for a colorful summertime update.
Is mud cloth for you? If you like texture, one of a kind items, and hand made personality, then absolutely mud cloth is for you. It's 100% cotton too so you can gentle wash the mud cloth or have it dry cleaned if you are concerned about the color lightening a bit in the wash.
If you have any questions about what mud cloth is best for your project, please message me here or email me at email@example.com
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