International Textiles

Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to travel, so to speak, through textiles! A new friend who was a missionary in both Papua New Guinea and the tiny island nation of Yap shared some beautiful pieces she brought back with her. 

First up, the bilum bag.

These bags from Papua New Guinea are very similar to crochet, but they are made of yarn or fiber that is untwisted and re-twisted by hand, and knotted into a mesh fabric using a tool made from an umbrella spoke. They can range in size from large enough to carry a toddler in to small enough for a little project or some produce. The larger bags are carried hung from one's forehead, or hung around one's neck to carry in front, leaving the hands free in both cases. 

Traditional Bilum Bag

The one my friend gave me was made from twisted grass fibers, and dyed in the center with yellow to create a beautiful stripe. (You all know how I feel about yellow!). The style of this bag is more openwork, while some bilum bags are much more tightly knotted from colorful acrylic yarn to create a dense fabric. You can see more examples of bilum bags here, here, and here. The best part? Australia has funded a project to help women in Papua New Guinea increase their income through their bilum bags. You can read more about this project here

Next, the lavalava skirt.

These skirts, made in the tiny Micronesian nation of Yap, are tightly woven from handmade looms using very thin fibers akin to single embroidery threads. The fabric is very dense and sturdy, but with plenty of drape. Worn like a sarong, they are wrapped around the hips and tucked in at the side, allowing the fringe to drape down in the front.

Traditional Lavalava Skirt
Traditional Lavalava Skirt
Traditional Lavalava Skirt

There's even a sort of ritual or routine to fold these skirts properly - it was fun to learn how. The colorwork and intricacy of these skirts is just incredible, and they are woven completely by hand! The looms used to weave these skirts are similar to belt looms, and they are usually made from found objects. The most interesting loom my friend saw was one crafted from the parts of a plane that crashed during World War II. You can read more about lavalava skirts here and here

I'm really happy to own textiles made on the other side of the world, and be able to enjoy their beauty and intricacy in my own home. It's incredible to me how various cultures create cloth, and what they make with the cloth they've woven. Even the colorwork - it's so special. I hope you enjoyed this little international journey through textiles with me! 

3 Ways to Style Fiber Art in Your Home

My winter collection was released today (my first 'collection' ever, as a matter of fact!). Along with this fun release, I wanted to share some styling tips with you. Fiber art and textiles are a great way to create a layered feel in your home, and an even better way to warm up a bare floor, basic chair, or white wall. I'm a little biased, but I love the look and feel of lots of chunky knits, handwoven fabrics, fluffy fringe, and lacy textures in my home decor. In fact, it's often hard to give up the things I've made, but if I didn't, I'd be pretty much buried in fiber. Here are three ways you can style handmade in your home.

3 Ways to Style Fiber Art in Your Home

Stagger it. Try hanging two or more weavings or macrame wall hangings in a diagonal line across your wall. Alternate with another piece of artwork, such as a print or a photograph. This will create a line for the eye to follow, and also provide some alternate visual stimulation. Or hang them in alternate rows: one high, one low, repeat!

3 Ways to Style Fiber Art in Your Home

Mix with other pieces. Just acquired a handwoven pillow? Layer it on your couch or bed with a pillow of your own, or a linen bedspread, or a quilt! Put the pillow on your office chair, or if you're too much in love with how it looks to actually use it, you can even display it on a shelf. 

3 Ways to Style Fiber Art in Your Home

Put a piece in an unexpected place. Try hanging a weaving in the bathroom! The steam will be good for the wool, and it will look effortless and warm in an otherwise chilly tiled space. Or, layer two rugs together - a chunky handmade one and a fringed one from another store. 

Need more inspiration? Here's the link to my Winter 2018 mood board, that I used for inspiration when creating my collection. If that doesn't get you 'in the mood' for coziness, I don't know what will! It sure made me want to buy my ticket to Iceland ASAP. Or maybe just buy an olive tree and a lot of wooden chairs and baskets.