Bohemian interiors are free-spirited affairs that encourage the informal mixing and layering of colors, textures and furnishings. The "boho" motto is "less is never more." For highly conscious homeowners who are rejecting cookie-cutter sameness by shopping for one-of-a-kind items online at eBay and Etsy, as well as at specialty stores and flea markets, it's a fitting style.
Lately, I've noticed an increased global-ethnic influence that's bringing even more dramatic hues and patterns into the Bohemian design style. In fact, tribal textiles are especially haute items right now for those designers and homeowners willing to try something truly different and more colorful.
For centuries, cultures around the world have designed textiles for decorative purposes, to give as gifts and for recording their history. And while a few daring designers have been ahead of the curve over the last few years – incorporating African, Asian and Latin American textiles into interiors – those who haven't can hardly escape noticing the presence and influence of global-ethnic textiles in design, thanks to globalization and increased access to other cultures.
Cristi Ambroson, owner of Tessera – a Houston-based business that sells global-ethnic home furnishings – travels to Central Asia and Peru a few times each year to handpick items for her store. She often finds vintage pieces at open markets and even in the attics of residential homes (with the residents' permission, of course!). Ambroson says that Suzani items – colorful, hand-embroidered textiles from Uzbekistan – are among her most popular products. Suzani-inspired motifs are a hot design trend right now – appearing on everything from pillows and area rugs to towels and dinnerware – but this art form's cultural significance shouldn't be overlooked.
Traditionally, Uzbek women began embroidering a Suzani at the birth of a daughter and would later teach the craft to the girl. Together, they would continue stitching the Suzani with the help of family and friends, until the daughter married. The new couple then received the Suzani as a gift to use as a bed covering. Vivid hues including orange, purple, pink, yellow and red (the color of fertility) are used to create these textiles. The natural dye materials for the colors include madder, cochineal, indigo, walnut, pomegranate and sumak, along with assorted others.