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!