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For The Home

Ikats, Suzanis and Kilims

Author: Shawndrea Corbin
Issue: November, 2012, Page 64
Photo by Werner Segarra

Bright and festive cultural fabrics, as seen in the pillows and banco pictured above, highlight this home designed by Berkley Vallone. The fabrics add accents of color to the setting’s otherwise dominant neutral tones.

Global Affair

It is said that history repeats itself. With bold patterns and vibrant shades at the forefront of current fashions, ancient textiles are now the darlings of home decor. Valued pieces such as ikats, suzanis and kilim rugs are known for their eye-catching designs saturated with bright, natural dyes. These elaborate weavings offer up a taste of tradition with a side of ethnic eye-candy. We present a sampling of modern-day applications on the pages ahead.

Intricate in design and highly collectible, ikats (ee-kats) are made by an elaborate and time-consuming practice of dyeing and weaving. Ikats can be found in a number of countries, although they are most closely linked to Indonesia and Central Asia. Unlike traditional techniques in which an existing fabric is tie-dyed, ikats utilize individual threads that are bound and dyed before being woven. The bound sections of these threads resist dye, effectively creating predetermined patterns. However, the designs held in the dyed threads only become visible once the ikat is woven. The timeless beauty of the designs has inspired many current adaptations.

This linen pillow from Layla Grayce replicates the bright colors and unique patterns found in authentic ikats. It is available at La Maison.
The Nila ikat print by Beacon Hill, shown in Indigo, is an abstract take on classic ikat designs. The print is part of a fabric line designed to resemble watercolor paintings. Available through Pacific Resource Group.
Ikat-inspired fabrics are used in modern-day adaptations, such as this Century Furniture chair. Shown here in subtle gray and cream hues, it is available at La Maison.

Lavish embroidered designs, asymmetrical beauty and thoughtful ancestral patterns are the characteristics that distinguish suzanis. Created throughout Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries, authentic suzani designs are embroidered against neutral backgrounds. They retain their bright colors despite aging, due to naturally derived pigments. Making suzanis was originally a collaborative effort, as separate sections were individually embroidered by female family members and stitched together to be used for a bride’s dowry. Today, suzani patterns are reproduced on an industrial scale and often are accompanied by colored backgrounds.

This settee has been reupholstered in a vintage suzani textile that dates back to the 19th century. It is available through Jayson Home.
This Murri suzani area rug, with its pattern on a black background, is a reflection of the charm found in antique versions. The Tommy Bahama rug is available at World of Rugs.

Kilim rugs are a continuing trend in “Western” homes, as the colors and designs closely resemble textiles of indigenous peoples of the region. Kilims are tapestry-woven and traditionally created on looms. Often used solely for decoration or as prayer rugs, kilims are made in Turkey, Pakistan and Eastern Europe. Today, they sometimes are used to upholster chairs, ottomans and more.

This dining chair is made from mango wood and upholstered with a wool kilim in a bold pattern. It is available through Ladlow’s.
This red patchwork kilim pouf and rug were woven on Indian Punjab hand looms. Created from various traditional patterns that were sewn together to generate a new, custom design, they are available through VivaTerra.

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