Original Fabrics Become Art for Chairs

Have you ever thought of chairs as a perfect surface to display works of art? Fabrics can definitely be viewed as art, especially when they are one-of-a-kind ethnic fabrics. A few months ago a client presented me with a challenge to design eight dining chairs using ethnic fabrics from around the world. Here are the frames.

She already had on hand an otomi fabric from Mexico. She added serape to the mix. Then, we went on Ebay to find the rest of the fabrics since no fabrics found in stores would do.

The rest of the fabrics came from eastern Europe (Uzbek vintage embroidered suzani) and India (silk kantha quilt). These hand embroidered masterpieces were all amazing on their own. But how in the world would I be able to mix these in a way that made sense?  Contrary to what many might believe, there’s a lot of thinking and planning when mixing and matching diverse fabrics. And in this case, it was the most diverse set of fabrics I’d ever been asked to use together.

I wanted the fabrics to pop against the frames. Navy chalk paint with dark wax gave the best backdrop for these dynamic fabrics. And so, the painting and waxing began.

I’m a visual thinker so I had to just start putting the fabrics on the top of the chairs to see how it was going to look. Once I had a few done it was clear to me that the seats had to be different velvet solids.

Solids would not compete with the ethnic fabrics. Velvets would be durable for a family who would use this set quite often. Different colors would set each chair apart.

What fun it is when any project starts coming together! The serape went on the arm chairs for a few reasons. The chairs were a different style than the armless, so it was a safe bet to go completely different. And I had two serapes so each end chair would get its own look even though they were similar. These can also be utilized in other places in the home if extra seating is needed.

And here you have it! The final product will surround a large wooden rustic table. No one will have one like this, that’s for sure! Many of these fabrics are one of a kind pieces of art. See, chairs really can be works of art!



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