Decorating with Textiles: Textiil- Living in Color
I like to travel and have been lucky enough to have visited a number of interesting places in the world. The only place outside the US where I had ever lived was Japan until our family moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2008. Upon our return to the US I launched Textiil – Modern global home décor and gifts to support awareness of and to share the stunning heritage textile crafts of Malaysia and Indonesia.
Many years ago, I was looking for the right pro-bono marketing client, so I approached Creativity Explored in San Francisco and met then Marketing Director Ann Rasmussen. We walked around a cavernous space filled with special needs adults who came to make art all day. Their art was everywhere, and much of it was deeply vibrant, similar to the work of children. To me, it was glorious! And striking to rediscover how joyful and exciting, how intense and energizing, and just how inviting a colorful environment can be. Since then I always keep at least one piece of art from Creativity Explored on the walls.
Wherever I go, the craft culture of a place works its way into my bones because it’s always so right for where you are, and a special part of the travel adventure. In Malaysia and Indonesia the textiles are beautiful and often vibrant – but generally used for apparel – which would not be a traditional fit here. So how to keep the integrity of the craft itself and integrate it into to your life or surroundings? How to translate that attractively and effectively to a new context? And if it becomes your business – how to introduce these crafts to others?
With textiles, pillows, wall art, and tabletop linens are certainly to be considered.
Right now our living room has pillows from a friendly shop in Kuala Lumpur (though most of the merchandise is from India)! All the color works well against wood floors and furniture and the pale yellow walls. I change out the pillows with others from India, Thailand or my own from Textiil. It’s an easy way to perk up the room without much fuss.
Until we went to Southeast Asia, we surrounded ourselves primarily with paintings, ceramics and a few other types of decorative objects. But once we saw the stunning batiks and songkets all around us, it changed the way we looked at decoration. The house we live in now has some very wide and some very high wall space – so instead of paintings, we hung large batik tapestries in two different rooms.
In the family room, we inherited pale green walls and we have RED couches. Ha! Nevertheless it is great wall space. We found that a long green Madura batik is nice next to a small batik bought in Brazil and later framed.
Our bedroom has a bedcover from a market in Santa Fe we got when we were first married. It’s also from India. On the wall is the second highly detailed Madura batik I bought from a fiber artist and batik lover who had lived in Indonesia for many years. It is so lively!
Tip: One way to hang the batiks is by stapling black felt around a wood batten (the batten is from Home Depot). Then attach the batik with safety pins on the back side of the batten. We put eye hooks in the back of the batten too, and hung the eye hooks on nails in the wall.
At the opposite end of the room is a teak bench with a few embroidered pillows from a shop in Oaxaca that offered crafts and art from artisans and cooperatives.
Each pop of color links back to places and events. Threaded together they are my own unique story.
My daughter Sammy is a confident contributor when asked her opinion of Textiil’s existing and proposed products. She has claimed as her own the blue and green cloud pillow for her reading corner. She is 10 now and just learning how to make her space her own, and I like that it’s a true reflection of the happy person she is.
Finally, we enjoy using a variety of printed batiks for our dining room tabletop. Relatively inexpensive, they are bright, festive, unique, and wear well. As Textiil evolves from offering one-of-a-kind finds to presenting a more extensive assortment of décor, gifts, and accessories, printed batiks are newly added to our product line.
It has been our vision to raise awareness of the designs and the design processes of the heritage textile crafts of Malaysia and Indonesia. We hope that our new and forthcoming items will reach and appeal to more people, and will be made available to a wider audience via boutiques, museum shops, and other retailers who share our taste and interests.
Decorating with Textiles Series
Many thanks to Sally for sharing her home and experiences with us for this series. Sally’s business also offers ceramic mugs and Christmas ornaments, so make sure to check her website as she continues to grow her business. If your aesthetic fits in with her products, we hope that you will connect with her and buy from her. You can contact her through her website or through her Profile Page on TAFA. Sally joined TAFA in June of 2013 and we have loved having her on board!
Would you like to participate in this series? The Decorating with Textiles Series is an ongoing project on this blog. This offer is open to all of you out there who love textiles. Many of our TAFA members make beautiful decorative textiles and functional work as well and showcasing these homes can help stimulate new ideas of what to do with textiles. Seeing a photo online is much different from seeing how a textile will function in an environment. Many people appreciate textiles but have no idea how to display them or what to do with them. We’d like to have many people participate in this series, each bringing in their own ideas and tastes.
Make sure to leave a comment for Sally. I know that would please her immensely!
Contact me if you are interested and would like to submit a post:
rayela [@] comcast.net (remove spaces and brackets)
Visit TAFA to see inspiring art quilts, weavings and accessories for the home. Maybe you will find the perfect accent for your home!
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