Frazadas – the greatest global textile you've never heard of

1/15/2016 12:27:00 pm HELEN STILES 0 Comments

Maybe it's the sudden cold-snap, but suddenly I feel like I need some colour in my life, and today's post certainly has plenty of that! I love a good textile, especially one from some far-flung and exotic land. Textiles add warmth, texture, comfort, pattern and interest, and in my opinion, every room should have some (preferably lots!) At home I have numerous textiles – vintage hmong and indigo cushions from Thailand in the playroom; hand-printed mud-cloth cushions from Mali in the living room; a mud-cloth blind in the kitchen; Turkish kilim cushions in several rooms and even an Indian kilim rug in the bathroom!

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that I'm always on the lookout for the next great global textile to add to my collection. And a couple of years ago I came across the frazada. "What the fra**** is a frazada?" I hear you ask. Well, unusual name aside, frazadas are beautiful and versatile textiles from South America, and I'm pretty sure we're going to start seeing a few more of them in the interiors world soon. We've been loving Moroccan and Indian textiles for a long time now, and I think it's about time South America's skills started rising up the interiors agenda.

As you can see from the picture above (a sneak preview of the next Hide & Seek lookbook) each frazada is a large, square, colourful woollen blanket. Each one is hand-woven at home by women in the Andes (Peru and Bolivia in particular) and takes approximately one month to complete. They are made in 2 sections which are then sewn together in the centre with a colourful wool border.

In the Andes frazadas serve many purposes, often used as blankets to ward off the cold mountain nights; as rugs and picnic blankets; bed throws and well, anything else you might need a lovely warm, woollen blanket for! I genuinely believe you value and enjoy things more if they have a history or a story to them. It may sound like a cliche, but for me it holds true (not that I need much of an excuse to covet one of these frazadas!) I just like collecting textiles, and love the slightly eclectic, collected look they bring. If you're not convinced, then here are some reasons you should consider adding a frazada to your collection:

1. Each frazada is handmade and individual – there is literally no chance that anyone else will have the same one.
2. They are beautifully soft and heavy. If you like texture (which I do!) then these really are luxuriously cosy, warm and tactile.
3. Frazadas are an entirely natural product, made from sheeps-wool and hand-dyed using natural pigments.

4. They come in a huge range of colours – from natural, earthy, muted tones to amazingly vibrant and colourful combinations.
5. They are really versatile – use as a blanket on chilly evenings; as a colourful throw on your bed; to drape over a sofa that's seen better days; as a picnic blanket in the summer or on the floor as an unusual rug.
6. Buying a frazada directly helps to keep the traditional techniques alive. Unfortunately, the craft has been in steep decline in recent decades due to the growth of mining and the pull of more lucrative work elsewhere. This has made them increasingly rare.

7. They work really well with many different interior styles – traditional; contemporary; mid-century modern; laid-back California cool...you name it, a frazada will fit right in. Add one to an already colourful scheme or throw one into a predominantly neutral room, either way they just work.

I have (of course) sourced some of these gorgeous frazadas for the store (how could I resist!?) together with some oversized frazada cushions. I have some more plans for my frazadas for the spring/summer collection – but more on that soon I hope! Let me know what you think – could you use a frazada in your life? 

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