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Embroidery fabrics for interior design are a fabulous way to create exciting and unique interiors.  They can be used for cushions, curtains or even celebrated as a distinctive piece of art in the form of a wall hanging.

Embroidery as Art

Ancient Moroccan embroideryBefore the restrictions of travel, I loved searching boutiques, souks and bazaars for embroidered cloths that capture the essence of a place.

In my own home I have framed a fragment of late 18th Century Moroccan embroidery and an ancient Japanese kimono laced with gold thread. They brighten up my space, add interest and I love them.

A Rare Find

My most recent find was an antique Jamawar shawl hidden in the depths of an unlikely shop in Spain. As it unfolded, I marvelled more and more at the intricate stitching; the lustrous colours of rich threads and the old-worldly motifs. I was captivated by its exquisite beauty and knew immediately that it was perfect for a current project. It shared much of the same colour palette as the rest of the room but because of its antiquity, added depth.  Rooms that encapsulate different time periods often have a more lived-in, organic feel.

Fortunately, my clients agreed and I purchased the shawl without hesitation.  It now hangs at the top of their stairs with plenty of space around it to breathe. There was discussion about whether it should be framed or hung from a pole.  It was decided that the texture and essence would be better appreciated if left to hang free.  I think it was the right choice.


Embroidery intricate stitching

The Value of Hand Sewn Embroidery

Such items are rare and becoming more so.  This particular shawl was embroidered about 100 years ago in Kashmir India, and signed by Khan, suggesting that the artisan was Muslim.  It would have taken about three long years of intricate stitching to complete. That love and patience shines through and makes it not only a luxury item, but exclusive.

A Dying Trade

Hand sewn embroidery, as a craft, however, is a dying trade. It is highly skilled, precise work but because traditionally it has been done in the home by families, the value of embroidery has not been duly recognised.

The younger generation are not encouraged to take up embroidery because of low wages and long hours.  It is intensive and time consuming work.  Instead, jobs in areas such as technology and computers are endorsed because they carry better prospects.

To lose this time-honoured craft however, would leave the world much less joyful.  From ancient civilisations to current day, embellished fabrics have been much admired and desired.  Our homes would be much the poorer for their loss.

Hope for Artisans

There is some hope, however, that this precious craft will reach new heights of appreciation. Fabric houses are setting up embroidery schools for training.  Better working conditions are being implemented, with more ethical treatment of the underprivileged and wages are beginning to be standardised. But there is a long way to go in countries like India, where much embroidery originates.

Hopefully, consumers will become better educated about the value of this craft and recognise that exquisite workmanship is worth paying for.  In turn this will mean that artisans are better valued and better paid and the art of embroidery will continue as a desirable and much coveted skill.

Let us use embroidery fabrics for interior design without forgetting the hands that sew the threads.

Contact Penelope for further enquiries.