Recently a Morrissey Fabric customer sent me this photo because she knew I carried a variety of Kuba Cloth textiles in my shop. I had to admit I had not seen Kuba cloth used for upholstery in this way before. What stood out to me was the ivory color suede of the seats and chair backs. This light ivory hue prevented the black ground of the authentic Kuba cloth from appearing too heavy. Using African Kuba cloth to upholster chair backs isn't new, but combining it back to a much lighter color presented a fresh contemporary touch.
Photo: Space Interior Design (Instagram)
Kuba cloth has been a staple in my shop nearly as long as African indigo. The first few pieces I purchased from an African dealer were small and could be made into pillow covers. Since then, I've seen Kuba cloth used in many different ways. Above is a custom pillow made for a customer by request. Since each Kuba cloth is hand made and one of a kind, every pillow cover will be unique. Not only does Kuba cloth originate in the Congo, Africa, it is all woven by hand within small villages there. Local grasses are the fiber used and natural dyes create the color combinations.
Photo: Morrissey Fabric
African Kuba Cloth works extremely well as wall art. Kuba cloth can be formally framed and matted as seed above. Or you can frame Kuba cloth with the edges exposed. This is nice when the edges have fringe. If you are on a budget, you can simply hang your Kuba cloth with small push pins directly onto the wall. I've seen Kuba cloth displayed in each of these methods and they all work quite well.
Kuba cloth pillow pile! All the one-of-a-kind pillows seen in the photo above are terrific examples of just how unique each Kuba cloth is. So even if you decide on a Kuba cloth pillow, there are many options. The velvet-like texture of the pillow placed center front in the photo is nick-named kasai velvet. This isn't as soft as a cotton or rayon velvet by any stretch. But the luxurious appearance is created similarly; by cutting the loops of woven fibers.
Photo: Anitavee's Home Decor
The Kuba cloth pillow above also showcases a version of kasai velvet. This particular Kuba cloth was likely woven to be a wall hanging because when I purchased it the textile was attached to a dark wood stick for hanging. The gentleman who bought this cloth from my shop wanted a pillow that honored the original intent of the cloth. So rather than cut a face and sew it to a linen or cotton back, we collaborated and decided to keep the side details as part of the finished pillow design.
Photo: Morrissey Fabric
Kuba cloth also comes tie-dyed. It's not nearly as easy to find, but it's out there. The pillows above were created with one of these more rare tie-dyed Kuba cloth textiles. When I find this type of Kuba cloth, I purchase several for the shop.
Photo credit: LA Viva Home.com
When you are ready to add a piece of authentic Kuba cloth to your home decor, please be sure to view the large selection available in my Etsy shop.
Globally sourced textiles can be found in every niche of design. With the popularity of hand crafted items in the forefront, interior designers, apparel designers, and accessory designers are turning to exotic locales like Morocco, the Ivory Coast, and remote villiages in Asia and South America to source vintage and new textiles.
photo: Johnny Was Clothing
The bedroom above showcases both new and vintage textiles. The African indigo on the bed is similar to many I have sold in my shop. This particular room is not for the timid as it boldly displays a variety of global textiles. The live plants give the room a signature Bohemian touch.
photo: la boheme house of the wishing tree
Global Textiles can also be combined in a very clean and sophisticated manner. The monochromatic pillows seen above are limited edition pieces created with a focus on maintaining traditional processes and ethical making practices. Ehren Seeland and Hecho are responsible for creating these beautiful natural fiber pillows and they exemplify the artistry found in the indigenous textiles of Mexico. We may only associate Mexico with bright colors, but the neutral palette is equally appealing.
Photo: Ehren Seeland
Global textiles like African mud cloth and kilim rugs can add soft color to a space if that is your preference. The room above by Rug and Weave fearures black and white African mud cloth pieces atop a linen sofa and vintage petal pink rug for a relaxed well designed space.
photo: Rug and Weave
Latin American global textiles are known to be colorful and bright. The linens used for the table scape shown above nicely anchor the succulents and florals. This is a good example of using global textiles to set a mood for an occasion rather than a permanent installation.
Mixing textiles is an important part of creating a well developed global style. A Design mix may include items like beads, baskets and living plants. In selecting each item you are making a choice. It's worth taking your time to find the global textiles and trinkets that speak to you and reflect your taste. Above I placed an African basket and beads with a Mexican Otomi textile and black ceramic beads from Oaxaca. To me they look like they were all made for each other.
photo: Anita Morrissey