This one-of-a-kind pillow was made with handwoven and embroidered fabrics from Pakistan, India and Guatemala.
20” x 20” ( 50.8 cm x 50.8 cm)
Front - cotton
Back – linen, in turquoise
Down feather pillow insert
I think this is such a rich and unique pillow, combining the turquoise and teal fabrics with the bold beige and taupe flower embroidery, on the upper left, dramatically outlined in Dutch orange thread on umber colored fabric. The beautifully embroidered shisha mirror work highlights the embroidery. I like how the embroidery is framed and accented with a contemporary zigzag stitch. This embroidery technique is called “Phulkari” and is from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Phulkari means “flower work” and was at one time used as the word for embroidery. My friend, Fahad, sends me the embroidery. His organization, Dominion Traders, has been a long-time partner of Serrv. Unfortunately, I had to cancel several work trips to Pakistan due to U.S. State Department travel advisories. Someday I will meet these women and Fahad!
On the lower left, geometric embroidery in colors of taupe and gray form a decorative pattern on the hand woven dark teal fabric with a thin warp and weft grid work weave. The group who produced this fabric is a fair trade women’s development organization known as Sasha. It is based in Calcutta, India. I have had the opportunity to visit Sasha several times. Their work is beautifully done and preserving the traditional hand embroidery is of great importance to Sasha.
The third turquoise and gold fabric is from Guatemala and is a perfect example of the intricate technique of “jaspe”. During the seven years that I lived in Guatemala, I developed a great appreciation for jaspe (also known as “ikat” in other parts of the world) which is the traditional technique for creating patterns in Guatemalan fabrics. This fabric is from the area of Totonicipan located in the Highlands of Guatemala. While driving through the Highlands, it was common to see men laying out yards of warp stretched on poles along the roadside and binding threads in a resist-dye technique to create the intricate jaspe designs. All the tyeing is done from memory! This fabric brings another complexity to the pillow with it’s beautiful gold jaspe organic design repeated in perfect form. The colors complement the two embroidered fabrics.