The Paj Ntaub pillow features three very distinct textile surface variations including the intricate ikat from Indonesia, the ethnic Hmong embroidery on indigo hemp from Vietnam and the colorful geometric weaving of Guatemala. It is a one-of-a-kind oversize pillow that will add an element of ethnic textile distinctiveness to any room in which it is displayed.
25” x 25” (63.5 cm x 63.5 cm)
Front - cotton and hemp
Back - polyester blend, in ecru
Down feather pillow insert
Fabric origins: Indonesia, Vietnam, Guatemala
The Indonesian indigo ikat fabric from Java, Hmong cross-stitch embroidery on natural indigo dyed hemp from Vietnam, and brightly woven fabric from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, make this over-sized pillow a one-of-a-kind must have.
I was first introduced to ikat on a trip to Indonesia in 1992. I continue to be amazed by beautiful and complex patterns the weavers can achieve with this technique of wrapping warp threads before the dyeing process. The ikat fabric on the left in this pillow was woven by a group in Jepara, Java, called Syakila Collection. They are a producer member of Pekerti, the first fair trade organization in Indonesia whom I have worked with for a long time.
The center section is repurposed from a vintage Hmong jacket with the knotted loop closures now a design element. The indigo fabric is handspun hemp, embellished with African trade beads. There are two panels, each with a different cross-stitch embroidery pattern using rust, black, and white to form the traditional Hmong “flower” motif embroidery. On either side of the embroidery and in the center of the piece, are vertical rows of natural and orange fabric forming a decorative trim as well as bordering the hemp. It is a lovely piece and complements the ikat and the Guatemalan fabric.
The bright geometrically patterned handwoven fabric on the right, is from my collection of textiles purchased during my years in Guatemala and is from the Western Highlands. The fabric was woven on a four-harness floor loom, and the designs were achieved using a supplement weft technique. I think the contemporary look, as well as the colors combinations pairs well with the two traditional fabrics from Indonesia and Vietnam.