Wall Hangings Archives

Navajo Rugs – Create a Southwestern Theme with a Navajo Rug

navajo-rug-united-weavers-rugsNavajo rugs are a traditional rug woven by Native Americans in beautiful earthy tones to create distinctive patterns perfect for a southwestern theme. Navajo rugs were originally quite unique to certain regions, however this is less so today with many designs based on the individual style of a particular designer.

Genuine Navajo rugs are hand woven on a loom and as such each individual rug is a unique piece of art. Although a genuine Navajo rug may be expensive, you will be purchasing a unique rug that will be a valued investment for years to come.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to a genuine rug then Navajo ‘style’ rugs based on traditional Native American designs will still create the look you are after and at a fraction of the cost.

Navajo style rugs are perfectly suited to a southwestern décor with their vibrant earthy tones to complement a myriad of decors particularly those with a modern contemporary feel.

The Navajo Indians produced rugs for many hundreds of years, however, once the Spaniards began to penetrate into the Southwest from Mexico, the Navajo fled into the canyons and added sheep herding to their farming lifestyle. The Navajo continued the art of rug weaving and integrated into the rugs, the wool from the Churro sheep that had been obtained from the Spanish herds.

Navajo rugs were often worn as blankets and were a prized item by cowboys as the lanolin in the wool kept out the rain and kept in the warmth.

It is believed that the Navajo Indians learned their weaving skills from the Pueblo Indians in the late 1600’s. However Navajo legend states that their knowledge of weaving comes from Spider Woman, a mythical Navajo deity.

Navajo rugs also make beautiful wall hangings that will enhance any room. Each design is unique and based on the talents and ideas of the individual artist. There are many examples of these beautiful rugs on the internet and if you find a particular artist whose work you really admire, you are able to commission area rugs made by that artist.

Tapestries and Wall Hangings

Completely transform your room with a tapestry or wall hanging

Transform the look of any room with a tapestry or wall hanging. Tapestries and wall hangings are a unique, elegant way to spruce up a room.  Not only do they create a talking point for guests and visitors but a tapestry or wall hanging will transform the look of a room.

There is a vast range of tapestries and wall hangings available today that will suit any home from the more traditional to the contemporary and modern.

Wall tapestries look particularly good in a lounge area, over a bed head or in an entrance over a hall table and are an excellent way of creating that first impression in an entrance way.

Tapestries and wall hangings come in all manner of designs and colors, from the very modern to the more traditional antique style. You can purchase tapestries to suit the changing seasons and holidays with tropical and winter scenes just to name a few. They are also available in reproductions of historical weaves such as the famous Bayeux tapestry.

In the past, tapestries were displayed in the homes of the wealthy, but today anyone can afford to purchase a tapestry as some are surprisingly inexpensive depending on the materials and the process. Hand-made tapestries can take up to a year or more to produce and as a result, the price reflects the amount of work involved. Machine manufactured tapestries and wall hangings however are reasonably priced and create the same result in terms of your home decor.

Why not create a theme in a room by starting with the tapestry first. Then picking out some of the colors to decorate the wall, window sashes etc. The finished effect is only dependent on your imagination.

Tapestries: An Old Art for Modern Times

A tapestry can create a whole new look

Tapestries have been one of the most popular forms of wall decoration for nearly two millennia. Egyptian wall paintings and carvings show people working on looms similar to those used for weaving tapestries, and there are images of pharaohs and others with what appear to be tapestries on the walls.

Woven tapestries were popular wall decorations in Greek and Roman times as well. Though none have survived, they can be seen in the backgrounds of paintings and on pottery that does survive from those ages.

The art of tapestries flourished during the Medieval years. The most famous centers of the art were in France and in Britain at Canterbury, but there were lesser centers throughout the European world.

It was during this time that the most famous surviving tapestries were created – the so-called Bayeaux tapestries, and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. There was another upsurge of popularity for tapestries in the late 1800s when several Europeans undertook to restore and preserve historical tapestries.
When most people think of tapestries, they think of those popular medieval European designs, with lush floral backgrounds woven into the fabric of the wall hangings, and stylized figures. They frequently depicted hunting, combat or mythical themes.

Modern tapestries take as much from impressionist painting and modern art as they do from traditional themes. The colors are softer or brighter, the figures more natural, the themes as wide and varied as your imagination. Modern work in tapestries shows the influence of African tribal art, East Indian weaving and Native American and Mexican styles of rug weaving.
If you’re looking for a dramatic piece of artwork to accent a wall in your home, you’ll find that modern tapestries have a richness and luxury that a painting simply can’t match. To help you choose the right piece for your walls, interior decorators recommend the following:

  • Choose tapestries that suit the scope of your room. A large bare wall in an open, airy room can handle a large-scale tapestry that would overpower a smaller room.
  • If the room has busy patterns in the upholstery or carpet, choose strikingly simple tapestries. There are some beautiful series that feature a single flower on a plain background with a harmonizing border, for instance.
  • For an unusual accent in a stairwell, hang a narrow tapestry on the facing wall. Choose one with colors that blend the tones used on both floors. 

Decorating with woven tapestries is a tradition that goes back to Egyptian times, but modern tapestries have given a new twist to the tradition that simply makes them timeless!

Completely transform a room with a tapestry or wall hanging

A tapestry can create a whole new look

If your walls are looking a little stark or a room needs sprucing up, then try adding a tapestry or wall hanging. A tapestry is a great way of dressing up a room and they are available on line at a reasonable cost. A tapestry can become the focal point of any room.

The variety of tapestry scenes available is extensive from traditional landscape scenes all the way to bold and dramatic geometric designs. For an extra touch of class you can purchase tapestries that are reproductions of an historical print or painting.

You can purchase tapestries and wall art for children’s rooms, bedrooms, lounge areas and even kitchens. They look best on large walls otherwise they can tend to take over a room. If this is the affect you are after, however, then by all means go ahead. There are no restrictions on home design.

For the best quality you can’t go past a hand-woven tapestry, however, if you have a limited budget then a machine-woven tapestry will create the same result in terms of your home décor.

Tapestries are not only made for your walls. You can also purchase tapestries as throw rugs, table runners and pillows. Tapestry fabric adds a touch of elegance to any room.

Bayeaux Tapestry: A Beautiful History in the Making

bayeux-embarksMy high school history teacher was determined that there was one date none of us would ever forget. She drilled us over and over on 1066 the Battle of Hastings until she could snap out “1066!” in any setting, and the entire class would immediately shout back, “Battle of Hastings”.

Despite the fact that all these years later, I still automatically link the date and the name, it wasn’t until I saw the Bayeaux tapestry that I truly understood the significance of that battle.

The Bayeux Tapestry (sometimes spelled Bayeaux) is an embroidered depiction of the all the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings and the battle itself.

Believed to have been created by women at a guild hall in Bayeaux, the tapestry is over 230 feet long but only 20 inches high. It contains hundreds of scenes of the war and the Norman invasion, embroidered in open couching stitches and padded outline stitches. The thread used is colorful wool, and the style has led to the assumption that it was created by Englishmen despite the fact that it presents the Norman side of the conflict.

bayeux-partyThere are also several theories of its origin and commissioning. While it is sometimes thought that it was the wife of William the Conqueror who commissioned the work depicting her husband’s victory, it was far more likely that the Bayeaux tapestry was commissioned by Bishop Odo of Bayeaux to be displayed in the cathedral at Bayeaux.

There is mention of it in writings as early as 1476, in a description of the Cathedral at Bayeaux that referred to an embroidered ‘white cloth’ that encircled the cathedral nave.

In 1792, the tapestry was rescued from destruction by Lambert Leforestier, who stopped farmers from cutting it up to use as wagon covers. Shortly after, the city council of Bayeaux designated a fine arts council to preserve the artistic treasures of the city. In 1842, the tapestry was restored and displayed under glass in Bayeaux.

The tapestry has been removed and restored a number of times during wars and conflicts to preserve it. It currently is on display in Bayeaux, though it has been stored at the Louvre, in the possession of Napoleon, and hidden by various townspeople during the Nazi occupation.

bayeux-boatWhile it has inspired many tapestries and rugs, the Bayeaux tapestry is actually not a tapestry at all, but a work of embroidery, Tradition has given it its name, and now any tapestry or wall hanging that is created in the style of the Bayeaux tapestry is referred to by that name.

Bayeaux tapestries typically are scenes taken directly from the original work and framed with hand-embroidered accents. The rugs are created on looms, and then removed for hand-finishing. The background is light – either ivory or cream color as the background of the Bayeuax tapestry, and the figures are brightly colored.

Tapestries and rugs created in the Bayeaux style are most often used as wall-hangings.

Bring the Rich History of Wall Tapestries into Your Home

A tapestry can create a whole new look

In medieval times, tapestry wall hangings were a sign of wealth and influence. They involved the work of many hands, and weeks or even months to complete. The tapestry was more than a decorative wall hanging. They were often commissioned by wealthy lords to commemorate a special event, or a family crest or theme.

Hung on cold stone walls, they provided warmth, covered windows and openings to the outdoors, and afforded privacy. Some of the most famous pieces of art, particularly textile art, date from those years. Many of those are available as reproductions for your home.

What’s the difference between a tapestry wall hanging and an embroidered one? Tapestry is a weaving technique. The colors that create the pattern, picture or design are a part of the fabric itself rather than being added on to it with stitches after the material is finished.

In a medieval tapestry wall hanging, the colored yarns or threads are not carried all the way through the width of the fabric. Instead, they are discontinued where the color ends. To prevent ‘splitting’ of colors—where two different hues are beside each other—weavers developed a number of different ways to splice and enclose the loose ends of the threads. These different kinds of joins are one way to tell what school of design an original tapestry wall hanging is from.
Among the most famous tapestries are several from France in the Middle Ages. These include the Bayeaux tapestry, which is said to have been commissioned by the Bishop Odo to commemorate his brother’s triumph in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. There is a mild irony to the Bayeaux tapestry being known as one of the most famous in history. In actuality, the Bayeaux ‘tapestry’ is really an embroidered wall hanging. The designs and pictures used in it are embroidered in laid and couching stitches rather than being woven into the tapestry wall hanging itself.
Other famous tapestries include the Lady and Unicorn tapestries that are widely copied for contemporary tapestry wall hangings, posters, notebooks and more. Tapestry is far from a dead art, though. The art of weaving tapestry wall hangings is carried on throughout the world by artisans working in many countries. Today’s designs may use traditional themes like hunting, florals or still life’s, or they may depart from tradition with vivid abstracts and simple designs. No matter what the theme, a tapestry wall hanging can bring a touch of regality to a bare wall in your home.

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