The Lucia pillow is very special and truly a one-of-a-kind pillow. The extraordinary piece of vintage embroidery featuring mirror work, parrots and floral motifs, I found in a crowded night market in Ahmadabad, India, and named the pillow after the Dominican Sister who brought me there. The fine detailed indigo batik is from a traditional pleated skirt typically worn by Hmong women in the Hill tribe villages of Vietnam. This pillow is a heirloom piece and will be a talking point in any setting.
20” x 20” (50.8 cm x 50.8 cm)
Front - cotton
Back - polyester blend, in ecru
Down feather pillow insert
Fabric origins: India, Vietnam
This truly is a one-of-a-kind pillow, using a vintage Mochi style embroidery traditional to the region of Gujarat, India. The chain stitch embroidery, depicting two parrots surrounded by floral motifs, is from a toran, a fabric that is hung above doorways on special occasions. In Hindu mythology, the parrot is a sacred symbol, a winged messenger. Symbolizing courtship, the parrot has also become a marriage totem for Hindu ceremonies and rituals. In the Gujarat region of India, motifs of parrots can also be found in bridal trousseaus. I believe this toran was given to a new bride to hang in a doorway of her new home. I found this piece in a large, colorful street market in Ahmedabad, India, while visiting a fair trade embroidery group known as St. Mary’s which has been a long-time partner of the fair trade organization, Serrv International. It is a beautiful vintage embroidery and sparkles with small mirrors called “abhla” or “shisha.” It requires tender care of the owner.
Paired with the embroidery, is a Hmong indigo batik from Vietnam. This batik is from a traditional pleated skirt worn by the Hmong women. The intricate painting of the design is made using a beeswax resist, followed by indigo dyeing and accented with complementary red and yellow appliqued cotton stripes. I acquired several of these traditional skirts during visits to Craft Link, a fair trade organization that supports ethnic minority groups and traditional craft producers to revive and promote traditional culture and skills through handicraft production. Craft Link is located in Hanoi. I have visited Vietnam six times but not once did I have the opportunity to visit any of the Hill Tribes in the northern part of Vietnam, which is unfortunate because the textiles made by the Hill Tribes are notably some of my favorites.