Lately I seem to be passing up amazing indigo textiles at markets all over town, like this antique katazome futon cover, with scrolling floral and arabesque design.
This giant furoshiki (wrapping cloth) with sashiko stitched corners was purchased by someone else, perhaps at my urging. Am I turning into my grandmother if I am talking to strangers and pushing them to buy things?
And it is fairly rare to see such a fantastic boro futon cover. This one was so artistically patched that I went back and looked at it numerous times before leaving Kawagoe. I am sure purists would decry that tiny bit of red, but I think it is the perfect touch.
My reasoning for not purchasing, besides the usual “I can’t have everything,” is that I am not sure what to do with them. Not usually my problem…
But lately, I have been seeing indigo textiles in design projects everywhere and I have been craving some of that organic deep blue as it has such a cooling effect in warm weather. Many of the textiles in these projects are not Japanese but are instead Indonesian batik or even French Provencal fabrics, but they all have the same visual effect. In the best spaces, textiles from all over the world have been blended together!
I spied what looks to be a Japanese textile thrown over the sofa on the cover of the newest House Beautiful.
April’s Elle Decor featured the Brazilian beach house of designer Sig Bergamin, always a master of the global textile mix. The most unusual fabric placement? The indigo piece on the wall, serving as a backdrop/frame to the painting!
One guest room has beautiful batiks as extra coverlets at the foot of the beds.
Another is such a riot of color, country and pattern all piled on an amazing antique Chinese bed. Click the photo to enlarge and you will see textiles from almost every continent!
Stylist Peter Frank’s house was featured last fall, but I had to include his living room. That perfect blue patchwork pillow, made from antique Japanese textiles, the blue grasscloth on the walls and the amazing 18th century Korean screen, all on a woven paper tatami mat rug from Merida, exude an elegant cool. His entire Hudson Valley house is well worth looking at here.
Interested in cooling down and adding a bit of indigo to your life? I have been cruising the internet for throw pillows and found these made from vintage kimono at Jayson Home & Garden. That might be a good DIY!
Want a bigger swath of blue? Madeline Weinrib, famous for her ikat pillows and Moroccan motif flatweave rugs, also does a denim patchwork line, combining the look of patched Japanese textiles and vintage dhurries.
While we are mentioning Ms. Weinrib, here are a few photos of her New York apartment, resplendent with her textiles and also a great collection of Japanese inban (transfer printed porcelain) and other porcelain.
For those of us in Japan, it is easy to add a bit of indigo to our lives, and what better way to do it than by helping those up north in Tohoku? Amy Katoh’s Azabu Juban shop Blue & White is selling special “Genki Japan” tenugui. The checkerboard motif (remember it here?) is interspersed with encouraging kanji phrases, such as “Let’s Join Hands” and “The Power of Everyone.” All profits from sales will be donated to relief agencies. I think everyone needs one!
And speaking of tenugui, I promised to devote some time to them in my last post, but my dear friend and quilting master Julie Fukuda has beaten me to it and written a great piece on her blog My Quilt Diary. Take a look! Julie often pieces tenugui to create the backs of her quilts and while it may look random, there is always a masterful artistic hand at work. Julie, don’t be angry with me, but sometimes I love the tenugui backs as much as the amazing quilt fronts!
Which brings me to one last indigo image from recent press – this bedroom in Maine by Tom Scheerer. The quilt on the bed must be American, but it is reminiscent of a patched Japanese textile or even Julie’s tenugui quilt back.
Stay cool wherever you are! And stop in to Blue & White for your “Genki Japan” tenugui!
Image credits: 1-3 & 14. me, 4. House Beautiful June 2011, photo credit: Francesco Lagnese, 5-7. Elle Decor April 2011, photo credit: Simon Upton, 8. House Beautiful October 2010, photo credit: William Abranowicz, 9. Jayson Home & Garden, 10. Madeline Weinrib Atelier, 11-13. Elle Decor December 2008, photo credit: Simon Upton, 15. Julie Fukuda at My Quilt Diary, 16. House Beautiful April 2011, photo credit: Francesco Lagnese.