Saturday, October 23, 2010

Oh! suzani ...

Exquisite, silk-thread embroidered suzani panels made by Uzbek women turned the design world upside down several years ago, and many thought the 'fad du jour' would be out like a nova. However, the Central Asian folk art trend has shown real staying power, driving the price of antique suzanis sky-high.

The term, suzani, actually translates to 'needlework,' and this amazing needlework was originally sewn on coverlets for the bridal bed. These gorgeous, brilliantly-colored textiles are stunning as bedspreads, and their design appeal is shown in the above images from Metropolitan Home (left) and Domino (right).


These images above from House Beautiful (left) and Hip Marrakech (right) reflect the subtle color and texture suzanis can lend to a room's decor without creating a 'theme' that is over the top.

In recent years, designers have moved suzanis from private spaces to a variety of public settings where the textile's artform can grace walls and furnishings. Below, The City Sage image shows how to create a warm entrance with a antique, suzani-upholstered bench (below left). Even new furnishings can have a broad appeal with these rich textiles, like the traditional canape sold by Jayson Home and Garden (below right).

Drape a suzani on a table like those below, and voila!, you have just upped the room's drama and appeal!

Images from Beach Bungalow 8 (above left), Elle Decor (above right), and Style Files (left) show how these textiles create a real impact wherever they are used.

If you can't spring for the real thing, there are a number of printed fabric lines with the ikat pattern. From rich jewel colors to earthtones and neutral palettes, there are suzani-inspired textiles to complement any design scheme.

Using neutral ikat patterned fabrics on pillows, accent furnishings and tabletops creates a fresh, contemporary feel when used with dark woods.

The Hillary Thomas designed living room (above) wears its Moroccan-inspired design beautifully. With a very similar use of accessories and fabric, the dining room (right) is elevated by the same fresh scheme. Image via Honey Living.

If learning more about these vibrant textiles interests you, there is a great exhibit at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC from October 16, 2010 to March 13, 2011 entitled, 'Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats.' Can't make it to the Capitol? Instead, visit the museum website and order the exhibit catalog. According to the site, "A beautifully illustrated catalog presenting all of the textiles from The Megalli Collection will be published in conjunction with Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, offering a fresh and concise perspective on the rich ikat weaving tradition in 19th-century Central Asia."

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