Suzani

When I saw this photo of an antique suzani hanging in Lindsay Reid's home featured in House Beautiful's June issue, I thought, 'That's it.  Love."

{Lindsay Reid's house featured in House Beautiful Magazine's June issue}

First of all, I'm crazy about layering large pieces of artwork/ textiles behind other pieces of furniture.  I love the layering, the overlap, the defiance of rules... 
And second, I've been collecting pictures of crewel work & suzani for a while now, and I have to admit that they've grown on me in the strangest way.  They were definitely a huge trend and it wasn't love at first sight for me, but definitely intrigue.  The pattens themselves didn't completely float my boat right away, but I did love the handmade nature & detail & colors.   Once I saw this suzani used such a practical & perfect situation, it became love.  (I'm really not very good at paying attention to whether trends are in or out, I end up just liking what I like, not knowing/ wanting to know if it's in or out.)

"Suzani is a type of embroidered decorative tribal textile made in certain Central Asian countries.  Suzani comes from the Persian word "suzan" which means needle.  Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers, leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates), and occasional fish and birds.  The oldest surviving suzanis are from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but it seems likely that they were in use long before that. " (info via wikipedia)  It entails stitching one fabric on top of another groundcloth.

I've always been a bit foggy about the difference between suzanis and crewelwork designs so I looked into it.

Here's a close-up of a crewelwork pillow used by Peter Dunham:


... In this dining area I mentioned last week:

{Design by Peter Dunham featured in House Beautiful}

Crewelwork is an embroidery technique that is at least a thousand years old and suzanis are just type of textile that are created using crewelwork.  (Other crewelwork textiles include Jacobean embroidery & Quaker Tapestry and the list goes on & on.)


Crwelwork runs gamut from Traditional English textiles to Eastern Tribal textiles.

Anyway, one of the most common suzani themes is the medallions/ discs...

Here's another of my favorite spaces using a suzani layered over a settee paired with a (gorgeous!!) framed antique ikat.  (Again, I love the layering of the piece behind the settee.)  This was the first photo I saw (in March of 2009) that really piqued my interest in suzanis.

{Anne Becker's apartment featured in Elle Decor}

Here are some rooms featuring suzanis in unique ways.  Here it's used as a room divider:

{From Domino via Style-files.com}

I love the fresh pink & aqua scheme & it's used as a rug:

{Elle Decor}

They are particularly gorgeous framed:

{IMage via In Every Corner}

And I love them layered on beds:

{Domino via Little Green Notebook}

..And one last picture of a suzani as a hanging tapestry:

{Image via Laura U}

Hope you're having a great week!  (This is my husband's last week of school- yay!!!)  Also, thanks so much for all of the sweet comments about the Home & Design feature.  I really apreciate it!!

For some more posts on suzanis, check out:
Cote de Texas- Written in '07 with serious detail & sources
Little Green Notebook - has some great framing ideas & sources for purchasing


xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

30 comments:

Eclectic Etcetera said...

I have literally JUST been searching for a suzani on ebay! I've been obsessed with Million Dollar Decorators and that's totally influenced me to get back on that bandwagon. I actually had a suzani way back in my early 20s and my beloved first dog (who loved sleeping on it on the foot of my bed) died unexpectedly and so we wrapped her in it to bury her. But that's been over a decade so maybe now it's time to find a new one.

Thanks for the post! Lovely!

Verdigris Vie said...

This is a brilliant design option. I love to see textils on walls, it adds an entirely new element to a room, and you are bang on with the latyering of it behind furnishings!

Best..vie

abode love said...

woah... these are amazing images! I think I am in desperate need of an oversized textile to hang behind my bed. What a gorgeous, layered and eclectic look!

abodelove.blogspot.com

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Lauren- My husband's last week, too! No students, just grading. Yesterday he spent eight hours grading the same three problems again and again...

Love the suzanis and background you give. They are SO powerful graphically. The rooms you choose really have a nice balance to counter that.

Loretta

Karena said...

Lauren,

I adore Ann Becker's home. I agree that it is more of finding a pattern and palette that speak to you in textiles and then they ARE perfect for layering.

xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

Last day to enter my exciting Giveaway from the Artisans at Novica!

kayce hughes said...

I am in love with the pink one.

Kristy {The Kiki Chronicles} said...

Great post Lauren! Love all the information...and of course, all the beautiful pictures :)

- Kristy

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

Suzani patterns are so beautiful. I love the idea of framing the textile and using it as art.

under spanish moss said...

Using a textile as a work of art adds such depth and interest to a space. Great inspiration!

The enchanted home said...

Love it! Its akin to using a piece of art as an accent, love the vibrant colors and texture it adds!

diane said...

Any idea what the name of the crewel Peter Dunham used is? so beautiful..

www.thewowie.com said...

I have two large (blank) walls. I love this look! Thanks so much.

Carla@DesignintheWoods said...

I love suzanis too. I have a client with some she brought home after living in Pakistan for years. They are fabulous to hang and lay over tables. Staging her home for the photo shoot is going to be fun!

Brian and Staci said...

Been in Philly for a fun little trip and just got back to read this post!!! I need LOTS of Suzanis in my house!!! Well, not lots...but me oh my do I love these!!!!!!!!! And congrats on your "Designers to Watch"!!!! That is A-MAZE-ING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

designchic said...

Oh Lauren, I completely agree, it's stunning. The colors are so gorgeous and certainly a statement maker in the room. The Peter Dunham crewel...stunning!!

sachin said...

PG in Noida

Aubrey said...

love the pics! My husband brought me back one from Afganistan this year...I hung it for awhile behind my bed...it's gorgeous! :)

Ayesha said...

Thanks for a nice share you have given to us with such an large collection of information. Great work you have done by sharing them to all. simply superb. Photo Recovery

Erica said...

I adore Ann Becker's home. Great inspiration!

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LittleBlackHome said...

I've had a longtime love affair with suzanis. (Shhh! Don't tell my husband...although, he probably already knows) Anything ethnic like suzanis, ikat, kuba cloth- also a fave of mine- really speaks to me. It represents history and tradition, it tells a story and has true character and soul. Someone spent a lot of time, energy, and love to make it with their own hands, putting thought into what they were doing. They're very special pieces and make gorgeous, artistic, graphic conversation pieces. I don't ever pay much attention to what's in and out, either. Design should come from the heart. Instinct will tell you if it's right for your home. Who cares what anybody else says. Btw- the suzani colors in your first pic are CRAZY fantastic.

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

I am a textile hound...especially ethnic, tribal...

Love suzannis!

lisaroyhandbags said...

Great examples! I admit, I was a little slow to embrace suzanis, I guess since I gravitate towards seaside colours, etc and suzanis have such a tribal vibe that couldn't see how it would work for me. But I'm gradually loving them too and I think even just adding one pillow would be a fun mix.

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Miss B.e.e. said...

Great informative post!

Mary said...

Loved your latest post on furniture arrangements. As a home stager, I have to include good traffic flow and good conversation area. Sometimes, I can't always have the furniture face a focal point, have a great traffic flow, and a good conversation area.I have to neglect one of those areas. What's your feeling on this - is it better to have chairs in a living room face the focal point with their backs to the entry way of a rooom OR should the chairs face the entryway of the room and have their backs to the focal point?

Pam said...

I'm inspired!

Pam said...

I'm inspired!

Amendolara said...

I am a Brooklyn based interior designer and I first heard about suzanis from an assistant of Stephanie Odegaard. I was immediately intrigued and I have just started to collect (like I need more stuff, right?). I would like to correspond with you about aspects of collecting. What you spend on a piece, vendors etc.? I am not spending serious amounts. I just bought a beautiful piece of work for a mere $60. I have used rugs as wall decor in the past and I am excited about the bump up in color as my designs tend to be a bit quirky. Thanks for your page. Michael Amendolara mamendolara@nyc.rr.com

Amendolara said...

I am a Brooklyn based interior designer and I first heard about suzanis from an assistant of Stephanie Odegaard. I was immediately intrigued and I have just started to collect (like I need more stuff, right?). I would like to correspond with you about aspects of collecting. What you spend on a piece, vendors etc.? I am not spending serious amounts. I just bought a beautiful piece of work for a mere $60. I have used rugs as wall decor in the past and I am excited about the bump up in color as my designs tend to be a bit quirky. Thanks for your page. Michael Amendolara mamendolara@nyc.rr.com