Black and white home decor continues to be a strong trend whether you look at farmhouse style, contemporary style, beach cottage style, or global style home goods. But not everyone wants pure optic white in their home since it can read as cold or unwelcoming. So why not try natural homespun cotton textiles for a warmer version of the black and white trend? Above is a natural linen hill tribe cloth from Asia that has a rustic yet crisp appeal. These Asian hill tribe textiles run very narrow at just ten to twelve inches in width, but you can easily join several panels together to get the width you desire.
The chair seen here was a cast-off piece that I knew was worth saving. I sanded down the old finish and painted the chair a warm gray. I then sewed together two panels of the vintage Asian hill tribe cloth to get enough width to cover the chair. I also used a decorative black and natural one-inch trim to disguise the seam. So while this chair is not strictly black and white, it does fit into a black and white color story.
African textiles are usually made from homespun unbleached cotton fibers. The African cloth in the photo above seems to have different names depending on which African dealer I spoke to. The gentleman I sourced this African textile from informed me that it was called a Hausa textile. But I've also been told it is a cotton African Fulani blanket. Whatever you choose to call it, in my shop I offer some of these large textiles as full size pieces. They are individually hand crafted in Africa to be used as bed covers. They can be pricey, so I also offer smaller sections for my clients to make pillows. The texture of the African hausa and fulani textiles make lovely pillows, upholstery, or as intended, bedspreads.
The pillow above is another example of a warm white homespun cotton Hausa textile made into a beautiful pillow at Cloth and Main. The African Fulani textile was laundered and cut down to custom make large cozy pillows. The hand stitching used to join the narrower strips of cloth is still visible and adds hand-crafted charm to the finished pillow.
African mud cloth textiles are originally woven with unbleached homespun cotton fibers. This is why the mud cloth fabric has a warm organic look about it. African mud cloth is printed by hand once the strips of narrow cotton cloth are sewn together to make one wider textile. Since these unbleached cotton fabrics are made by hand, they don't often come in large sizes. What many people don't realize is that authentic African mud cloth is commonly made into mud cloth pieces that run about forty inches wide by sixty inches long. That's about the size of a large beach towel.
Authentic black and natural African mud cloth fabrics will provide you with one-of-a-kind pillows due to the hand made nature of the textile. Every pillow crafted from authentic mud cloth will have it's own set of unique charactaristics such as the number of slubs and seeds visible and the spacing of the hand-applied print. Even the shades of white found in African mud cloth will vary. So if you are looking for a way to add a touch of soft ivory and black to your home, global textiles are a great way to do just that. Find a selection here at my on line shop or visit my Etsy shop for even more global and vintage textiles.
I have only recently become familiar with the beauty of vintage Guatemalan Textiles. Since I am based at the coast in California, the indigo blue Guatemalan fabrics work particularly well for home decor. Indigo blue textiles, especially the more worn and faded pieces, make a nice addition to a home with casual style because of the warmth and durability of the cloth. The vintage corte cloth above and below were originally woven to be worn as garments. The term "corte" means skirt. These two textiles are quite heavy so it's a novelty to imagine a tiny indigenous Guatemalan woman wearing them!
inGuatemalan corte cloth makes up into comfortable and durable pillows. The two large pillows above made their way to a new home in Florida after hurricane Harvey. These global-style pillows are the only two of a kind due to the vintage ikat corte cloth that was used to custom make them. Pillows are just one way to display vintage Guatemalan indigo ikat fabrics.
Guatemalan corte cloth is woven with a back strap loom. Beautiful ikat patterns are created with indigo and often mixed with other naturally dyed colors. The Guatemalan corte cloth fabric above has purple, soft plum, and green to liven up the design. You could use a textile like this to place on a table, use as a pick nick blanket, make pillows, or use for slipcovers.
In the photo above, ARA Collective has mixed vintage and new pieces of Guatemalan indigo fabric to display as wraps. The indigo textiles with the fringe are created more recently by artisan coops within Guatemala. I have seen them woven large enough to cover a bed with retail prices topping $500 USD.
Because Guatemalan corte cloth is woven with a back strap loom it can only reach the maximum width a person can reach while seated. Typically the widths range from 36 inches to 40 inches. Can you imagine? If a person is tall and needs more length for their corte, an additional strip of cloth is sewn on at the bottom. In the photo above, the extra cloth was given a decorative embroidery detail and a velvet edge traced with gold trim.
Do consider the unique bohemian appeal of Guatemalan indigo fabrics for your next project. You don't have to sew to use this cloth. Guatemalan textiles work well as-is for throws or tablecloths.
Gray fabrics work as neutrals in any interior space and Morrissey Fabric offers vintage shibori textiles in many shades of gray. Above are several vintage Asian hill tribe textiles in one of a kind gray hues. Each one is a slightly different color gray which gives these shibori fabrics their distinctive personality. The pillows in the center are two of a kind offered only at Morrissey Fabric.
Gray interior decor can be adapted to suit many styles. Above is a cozy space created by Decoratio. The rustic cottage furnishings and linen pillows work well to create a relaxing family room of gray. Who knew? Don't limit your impression of gray interiors to a contemporary modern style.
Gray interiors to minimal for you? Then add a bit of color to a gray-themed space. Sea glass greens and soft sky blue will give your room a coastal feel. Something as simple as glass bead garlands can be used as inspiration. Place the on a table top or window sill for extra color and a hint of sparkle.
Home BNC combined several neutral colors to the well designed kitchen and family room in the photo. The painting on the right in the interior space could easily have been the inspiration for the combination of colors in the rooms. Also note the pillows on the chairs. The prints have gray, white and various shades of soft blue.
Design Seeds provides well thought out color palettes for interior design inspiration. They get their color palettes from a source that never goes wrong; nature. When earning my BFA in painting, I had a color theory professor that had us bring cut flowers, twigs and leaves to the studio. She gave us the task of observing then painting all of the colors we could see within two of the items. It was a valuable lesson in training my eye for color. If you are stuck, look at nature and you will automatically be drawn to the colors you like best. It's a great jumping off point even if you later change direction.
Gray textiles can handle the addition of most any color. For this post I'm sticking with fabrics and accessories in greens and blues. What do you think of the photo by Heavy Threads? They successfully incorporated gray with indigo blue African textiles. Not only are the colors a win-win, the contemporary sofa in heather gray supports the vintage indigo textiles from Africa quite nicely.
The variety of African indigo textiles seen here will give you the relaxed look inspired by the Heavy Threads interior space. There is a wide selection in the Morrissey Fabric website store as well as in the Etsy shop. Or send me a message if you would like custom pillows. And just in case you are wondering, a future post will share ideas for using gray with pinks and yellows.
Vintage Guatemalan textiles come in the full range of colors. The texture of hand crafted patterns gives these unique fabrics extra depth. The additional embroidery detail stitched on top is called a randa. This randa is a decorative way to disquise two narrower pieces of cloth joined to make one wider cloth.
The sofa above is an amazing example of how to use vintage Guatemalan corte cloth for upholstery. The tight weave of the indigo textile almost looks like velvet. The embroidered randa of the corte cloth was skillfully placed to balance the focal points of the upholstery work. These Guatemalan textiles are very durable so this sofa will last for many years to come.
The indigo ikat corte cloth pillows above are a personal favorite of mine. These custom made pillows were sent to a client in Florida after hurricane Irma caused severe water damage to her home. The cheery feeling of the Guatemalan cloth is more subdued due to the dark indigo color. The colorful randa embroidery hints at at the artisan's joy in creating these corte fabrics.
Vintage corte cloth from Guatemala is hand made in many variations in many different villages.
It takes years to become an expert on where each style originates. But I rely on indigenous Guatemalan associates to assist in identifying each unique style. Each style of Guatemalan corte cloth is suited for various occasions, The green and black corte cloth above is right at home on the vintage cain-back chair.
The selection of Guatemalan textiles found in my shop varies daily. I'm always on the lookout for more vintage Guatemalan cloth to offer my on line customers. It's a pleasure to search out and discover these hand made Guatemalan textile treasures for your home and unique design vision.
Chinese Batik textiles have been a favorite of world-class interior designers and stylists for over a century. The durability of most Chinese batik fabrics lends itself to everything from upholstery to pillows. Most vintage pieces of Chinese batik, also called paste-resist, were not made from cotton but rather they were woven from hemp. Hemp is extremely durable and was therefore used for bed covers and outdoor garden seating in Asia.
The large indigo blue and white Chinese batik seen above is an example of a classic Chinese hill tribe pattern. This particular type of pattern is available in many similar variations. These batik textiles usually measure 76 to 84 inches long by 48 to 54 inches wide. The wide width is made by sewing three narrower panels of fabric together prior to the paste pattern application and the indigo dye process. If you look closely you will see the seams. These are part of the hand-made charm of these antique Chinese batik textiles.
A wing back chair gets a whole new look when reupholstered with indigo blue Chinese batik. It's likely that it took at least two large indigo batik textiles to upholster this grand chair. The addition of the batik pillow makes a nice compliment.
Chinese batik in gray is an update for this Chinoiserie textile. Originally indigo blue and white, a blend of hot water and various detergents turned this hemp cloth to gray. The repair patches add to the history of this vintage Chinese Batik fabric.
Vintage Chinese batik textiles sew up easily into pillows full of charm and style. The faded pieces are nice for a rustic romantic space. This type of Asian batik pillow also works in a coastal-style home because of the classic blue and white patterns.
For your next upholstery project consider using vintage Chinese batik textiles. These antique fabrics are usually made from hemp which is very durable. The indigo color will hold well because it's likely the blue and white batik has already been laundered dozens of times. I have found these vintage Chinese batik fabrics to be more durable than denim.
Not up for an entire chair upholstered out of these lively patterns? Then consider a pillow or two for a crisp addition to a global-style space or boho abode.
An evolving selection of vintage Chinese batik textiles is available in the Morrissey Fabric on line store. Also visit the Morrissey Fabric Etsy shop to find even more one-of-a-kind artisan-made vintage Chinese batik textiles.
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.