Friday, July 5, 2013

Girl's rooms - what fun

With only one girl, I wish I could continually redo her room a hundred different ways.  Currently it is gorgeous turquoise and hot pink, with a Handira on the wall - but I am dying to start from scratch and do an India princess fantasy of mirror cloth and draped saris. 
Basically one can only do so much with boys - both of mine just want blue, blue. blue!

Tulu textiles Yejiju print on large pillow - Moroccan wedding blanket on the wall.

I still love the pink and turquoise the best - but you have to love the riot of color in the India bed I put together at the store - so much fun! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Kutch embroidery

Kutch, in the northwest of the state of Gujarat, is famous for mirror worked embroideries.  These textiles are a study in the skill and design mastery of generations of women.  Varying by region, their intricate patterns tell the story of the maker's lineage, caste, and prosperity.  As an important part of a girl's dowry, these embroideries are worked on for years by the women of each family.  In addition to the usual gifts of jewelry and cooking utensils, a dowry almost always includes embroidered wedding outfits, wall hangings for the bride's new home, and decorations for domesticated animals.  
The bright colors of Kutch embroidery stand out in the dusty desert, and celebrate youth in particular.  Unmarried girls and young children are often the most kaleidoscopic in any village.  Religious festivals are also important places to show off one's embroidery skill - from camels and horses, to the carts they pull, trappings for all to see are often brilliantly ablaze with shocking color and detailed stitches. 

 Walking through Tierra since our textile shipment came in, I find it difficult to keep from lingering all day on the piles of textiles we just received from India.  Anyone who has ever been to my house can surely attest that I do not, under any circumstances, need any more pillows - but yet there are a few that are seriously calling my name.
I will have to remember to post a photo of the pillow forts my kids come up with - you have never seen a more confusing riot of color and cross-cultures.  (And expense come to think of it - the things I let them do - ha!)

Toran, like the four below, are hung over doorways or on celebratory tents during weddings or festivals.  The pennants that hang down represent mango leaves that welcome all comers, be they man or god, and serve as good luck symbols.    
For a great article on Toran take a peek at the Cloth and Kind, a fabulous blog about the joy of textiles and the world of design.  Krista Nye Schwartz is the curator and created a regular column called Provenance that details the origins and uses of textiles the world over.  Jacqueline Wein from the blog Tokyo Jinja researches and writes each column.  Take a peek at 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Indian textiles in the store

We finally received our textiles from our last India trip.  There are piles of Gujarati pillows, stacks of Kantha blankets, saris strung up here and there, print block blue and whites, technicolor mirror cloth - so many textures and saturations - I love it all....

A few of the finely embroidered Kutch pillows we had made, as well as a shisha work Toran, a spangly Moroccan Handira (wedding bed cover) and a Portugese style four poster bed.

 Crisp blue and white adds some calm to the hot and spicy mix.

Cowrie shell tassels in a Moroccan plate.
 Baskets full of Kantha blankets.

A silk sari draped with a Turkoman suzani.
 A bright pile of printed pattern bedcovers.
 Yes, we get a little silly sometimes - we bought about a dozen animals covered in vintage textiles!
A stack of patchwork mirror cloth throws.

I love India!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Morocco arrival

Our Morocco container finally arrived at Tierra - and I couldn't be happier!  Since we were in Marrakech in January I have been holding my breath, hoping that the shipment would get here safely.  It was so late arriving I was starting to just pray that it would get here at all!  But as the container was being unloaded and I sliced open each cardboard package my heart thrilled at each intact hand-painted vase, each delicate, un-crushed brass pendant, each colorful, un-smashed moucharabi daybed. 
It is all so gorgeous in the store!  We had a party on the 14th to celebrate.  Even in the heat of summer we had a wonderful turnout and we drank to the wonder of Morocco.
Pierced silver pendant inside an Indonesian teak daybed with Gujarati pillow and Indian saris draped overhead.
A trio of iron lanterns illuminated.
 Hand-painted star tables on zellij tile table tops with glass lanterns.
Indian daybed with ikat pillows, draped with a suzani - a sari from Jaipur overhead and a Moroccan iron screen behind.
Colorful pottery from Fez.  Herringbone zellij tile table top and Moroccan lanterns.

Zellij top on on modern base - glass lantern on top. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


You might have noticed over the years that I put up posts when traveling, or when some fabulous new thing is done at our house - but not so much the rest of the year.  Well, the honest truth is that running a store day in and day out is just not the most scintillating blog fodder.  There are days that just seem to repeat themselves - and while we get some fun things in and there are some fabulous customers to help - it can sometimes go by in a blur. 
Recently, however, I've had some fun projects to work on with new people - and I thought I'd share a bit about this more interesting side of things.
For an artist in Prescott we are bringing a bit of India into a new home - he is building from the ground up and wants to incorporate architectural elements from his favorite country.  After spending college years studying miniature painting techniques in Rajasthan, this client is passionate about Indian design.  We are happily helping him find columns and old arches to build into his new living spaces.

  These columns are from south India and will be used to help delineate an open plan great room.

We are looking for a triple archway like the one above - but with carving on both sides to build into a covered patio.  

These doors will be used for a linen cupboard at the end of a hall. 

Coming soon I will post about a very exciting project we are doing with a client (and great friend!) in central Phoenix.  She is incorporating a triple arch like above into her bar area, zellij tile from Casablanca into a star shaped fountain inside her formal living room, and incredible custom  painted ceilings we had made in Marrakech in various places.  Additionally we have dozens of Moroccan and Turkish lanterns coming that will be used in the most extraordinary ways -- can't wait to see them installed in a few months!  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

An India moment

On our last day we had a few hours to kill before our long journey home.  We traipsed over to Hauz Khas Village and did some personal shopping. 
I had to take a couple shots of graffiti and a perfectly India sign at the Deer Park next to the warren of shops.
Kookoo India cow

 And then there is this building-sized sea monster?

 But this is classic -- 210 deer, 174 rabbits, 15,500 shrubs?  I can just see an army of uniformed park attendants swarming the grounds once a year with little thin papered notebooks, meticulously noting down every tuft of grass. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

India - Textiles!

Indian Textiles -- a major love of my life...
Today was devoted entirely to all things of brightly embroidered beauty....

We bought piles of mirror cloth toran, which are wall hangings used over doors or windows with festive trim hanging down like oversize rick-rack.

Cowrie shell tassels
 Old Kutchi pillow cover fronts
 Stacks of silk hand stitched shawls
Did I mention how much I love these intricate Kutch mirror worked pieces?  They are from an area in north Gujarat known for it's incredible artistry in cloth.  Often included in girl's dowries, these beautiful cloths take women weeks to complete.  Light dances across the tiny mirrors and the brilliant colors seem to vibrate.

Good old kantha - these blankets made of old cotton saris and other household textiles are an easy thing to overlook.  They are suddenly everywhere in the design world and I keep thinking they are done - over-exposed.  But then we start looking through the piles - turning over one questionable side to find the most delightful pattern on the reverse.  Maybe I'll just open one more, three more, two dozen more -- and that is how you end up with stacks of them -- such fun!  

Speaking of questionable textile purchases...  Yes - we bought a dozen or two kooky patchwork critters - from tiny to trottable.  Camels, horses and elephants -- we couldn't help ourselves.  See how they look like they are making a break for it out the door?  That's what shopping for textiles for 9 hours straight does to you...
Reality of shopping - it takes a lot of patience....
And perseverance -- here is Linda in the basement of the third textile warehouse of the day...

But even the simplest cotton blankets are beautifully rendered in earthy tones, subtle stripes. with delicate hand knotted trim - they are subtle and love to layer.
Other pieces beg to be touched and examined.  These Afghani Zazi textiles are the perfect size to traditionally cover your tribal tea table while having a cup of chai.  The little hand embroidered squares have clusters of blue seed beads completely surrounding their borders. 

Last but certainly not least - a delicious double sided Pashtun pillow cover - these are from the Swat Valley in Pakistan and are covered entirely in the most delicate silk hand embroidery. 
This might very well have to follow me home...