AFRICAN TEXTILES: A FOCUS ON YORUBA ASO OKE
African Textiles continue as a strong trend in home decor. Vintage Yoruba Aso Oke fabrics are gaining popularity as an alternative to African mud cloth. Aso Oke, like many African textiles, was originally created to be worn as a garment. These textural fabrics are also called Nigerian wrappers since they were and are worn as a shawl or wrap, typically for more formal occasions. As shown above, the pillows from My Haven Home are full of texture and character due to the contrasting colors and the eyelet detail.
A vintage Aso Oke textile is not always easy to find in good condition. Because they have been worn and perhaps in use for decades, often they are stained, the eyelet is torn, or sometimes the colors have bled. But these African textiles from the Yoruba people are larger than the average African mud cloth. The sizes are usually at least seventy two inches long by fifty inches wide or more. This will yield plenty of fabric to create some pillows even if there are damaged areas to the Aso Oke cloth.
The neutral brown and ivory Aso Oke pillow above was created by Adetutu Home. Once again the eyelet detail and simple geometric patterns give the pillow its unique and hand crafted appearance. Pillows are a wonderful way to repurpose vintage Aso Oke textiles, especially when you find one that still has plenty of workable cloth within the piece.
Yoruba Aso Oke textiles come in many variations and qualities. Some are flamboyant and colorful while others have a quite sophistication. The Aso Oke seen above has a sophisticated coloration appropriate to its mid-century origins. The organic fibers woven with eyelet details and black and gray stripes would be stunning simply displayed as a throw over the foot of a bed or sofa.
The Aso Oke pictured above is richly textured and colorful while still remaining sophisticated. By weaving black and sand colors through the cloth the artisan has given this textile a neutral base. The bright orange and hot pink combined with strands of silver and brass metallic thread create the excitement and outgoing personality seen in this Aso Oke textile. Can you picture some eclectic style pillows made from this African Fabric?
Not all Aso Oke is woven from taupe and sandy colors. The African culture is renowned for their love of bright hues so it follows that Aso Oke Nigerian wrappers would be woven in bright colors too. Above are examples of a yellow and turquoise Aso Oke and a purple and pink Aso Oke. These would be a fun addition to a childs room or eclectically styled space.
A final word about Yoruba Aso Oke textiles for home decor; African Aso Oke textiles are wonderful fabrics to use when texture and unique character are what you desire for a space. These vintage African fabrics can be fragile in nature due to eyelet details, color bleeding, and loosely woven designs, but these are the very characteristics that make Aso Oke textiles a treat to create with. Remember that the beauty is in the imperfections found in hand crafted items.