Connect with us

Current

Ancient Mexican tradition of Otomi embroidery is making its way into our homes

Voice Of EU

Published

on

The pent-up yearning for travel and a longing for vivid colours are set to determine interior taste this autumn. 

This means getting ready to welcome into your home pieces that can take you on a journey and brighten up a neutral interior. 

Otomi embroidery pieces from Mexico, now being seen in some of the smartest homes, are prime examples of this globetrotting, life-enhancing decor movement. 

People who a few months ago were unable to even pronounce Otomi — and were dismissive about folkloric style in any form — are now enthusing about this exuberant craft work with its millennia of heritage. 

Hand-crafted: A Moppet alphabet wall hanging with its menagerie of stylised birds and animals. The Otomi tradition has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries

Hand-crafted: A Moppet alphabet wall hanging with its menagerie of stylised birds and animals. The Otomi tradition has been passed down from mother to daughter for centuries

They will proudly tell you that Otomi (ohto-me) originates in the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains of Hidalgo — and that its rainbow-hued depictions of the local flora and fauna may even be modelled on cave paintings. 

The area’s lush vegetation — the tropical and subtropical pine forests at the higher levels are one of its features — provides another key inspiration. 

The techniques of the embroidery have been passed on from mother to daughter over the centuries. 

The scenes and figures are hand-drawn then hand-sewn. Such is the appeal of the Otomi aesthetic, with its menagerie of stylised birds and animals, such as deer, doves, rabbits and squirrels, that its patterns have appeared on scarves from Hermes, the French fashion house. 

The designs first came to international attention in the 1960s. But it is only recently that they have started filtering into British homes. 

Their arrival seems to have been speeded up by the discontent that arose during lockdown with grey and beige which, though elegant, often failed to bring cheer. 

The growing appeal of Mexican and other Latin-American craft items is encouraging homewares companies that already focus on ethnic embroidery pieces to find ways to move into the area, but with sensitivity to cultural traditions. 

Moppet is one example of this migration. The business specialises in hand-embroidered alphabet wall hangings, made by craftspeople in Kashmir, India. 

Each letter is accompanied by an animal, a person or a thing. Laura Cremer, Moppet’s founder and chief executive, says that these pieces serve as both art work and educational tools: ‘They add pattern, stories and lives from another part of the world.’ 

When it becomes feasible, Cremer plans to add wall-hangings from Peru and Mexico. 

But if you’d prefer to give a subtle nod to the vogue for Otomi with just a single item, the Otomi collection at Mary Kilvert includes a cushion (£55), a mug (£12.95) or a tea towel (£12). 

Wayfair has several Otomi prints, such as Otomi Colours (£109.44) and Otomi Love (£45.99) both by Sylvie Demers. Not On The High Street has a round mirror surrounded by tassels in Otomi eyepopping shades (£20).

Redbubble, meanwhile, a marketplace for independent artists, appears to have anticipated the demand for Otomi patterns in every room with bed throws (from £34.64), a shower curtain (£51.46), cushions (from £12.46) and a mouse pad (£16.17). 

Otomi’s allure lies in its eye-popping tones, but it is possible to like the iconography but long for more subtle shades. 

Andrew Martin offers Omoti Dove wallpaper, featuring birds and beasts against a background of cactus green, desert beige, dove grey or powder blue (£75 a roll). 

Sitting pretty: : Graham & Green’s Mexicana pouffe, £195

Sitting pretty: : Graham & Green’s Mexicana pouffe, £195

The proliferation of Mexican and Latin-American pieces suggests the British are ready to embrace vivid colour and patterns. 

Graham & Green has a king-sized tapestry bedcover in a print that evokes the paintings of Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist (£115). 

The same print is available on an armchair (£395) or a tablecloth (from £25). And Oka has a lava red alpaca wool throw (£325). 

Budget home furnishing store Dunelm, meanwhile, offers the Corona line of furniture; solid rustic pieces with a 19th century Mexican farmhouse feel including a bed frame with a high footend (£169 to £249) and a storage trunk with a metal lock (£95). 

B&M has a similarly solid range, with pieces like the Rio, a dining table with four chairs (£80). 

Travel to Mexico and other Latin-American countries may be difficult now. But that doesn’t stop you admiring a wonderful Otomi cushion and starting to plan.

WHAT YOUR HOME NEEDS IS A… READING LAMP 

Subtle lighting is flattering to the complexion and makes a room appear cosier and more inviting. 

But, as the evenings grow darker, something brighter is required. This is why your home needs a reading lamp to stop members of your family complaining that ‘they can’t see a thing in this gloom’. 

The Hektar reading lamp from IKEA (£50) has a slightly retro look, but it also possesses a useful contemporary feature: wireless charging for your phone (ikea.com). 

Light touch: Dunelm has two styles that would suit a country-type decor: the Logan (pictured, £35) and the lever arm antique brass (£32)

Light touch: Dunelm has two styles that would suit a country-type decor: the Logan (pictured, £35) and the lever arm antique brass (£32)

Dunelm has two styles that would suit a country-type decor: the Logan (£35) and the lever arm antique brass (£32. 

You may decide that being able to read without screwing up your face and causing wrinkles is a wise investment. 

Your choice includes an Anglepoise, an iconic piece of British design that comes in many different sizes and colours (from £100) and the Tolomeo ­Basculante from the Italian Artemide group. This costs £334, but if the lamp is used for ten years, this works out at 0.09p a day

Source link

Current

Tetchy Tánaiste stirs the Stormont pot

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Some of the most petulant reaction to the latest protocol row has come from Fine Gael, which may explain unwise comments on direct rule and a Border poll from Leo Varadkar.

Speaking at a Co-operation North event in Dublin on Tuesday night, the Tánaiste said direct rule was not a viable long-term alternative to devolution. If Stormont is not restored quickly other options must be considered, with the best forum to do so being the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) of the Belfast Agreement.

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen by the bed is up for rent at £1,000-a-month

Voice Of EU

Published

on

Tiny one-room flat with BATH in the lounge and kitchen just few feet away from the bed goes up for rent for £1,000-a-month in London

  • A cramped studio flat that is up for rent in south London is so small it has a bath located in the lounge
  • The property, that is in the ‘highly sought after’ Wimbledon area, has a bed only feet away from the kitchen
  • Renters will have to fork out over £1,000-a-month to live in the odd space, though bills are included

Advertisement

A tiny studio flat has been mocked because it costs over £1,000-a-month to rent and the bath is located in the lounge.

While the bed is found only feet away from the kitchen area, with a giant telly on the wall.

The south London property is on the market to rent for an eye-watering amount considering its size.

The bath is right by the back door leading out to a small private area on a patio garden.

The listing states that it has been ‘designed to maximise the space available’ and adds that the bathroom has ‘been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view’, but this appears just to be a shower curtain.

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

A compact studio flat in Wimbledon is charging more than £1,000 a month for the luxury of having a bath in the lounge (pictured)

The property's bed is located just feet away from the 'Kitchenette area', which boasts a microwave and kettle

The property’s bed is located just feet away from the ‘Kitchenette area’, which boasts a microwave and kettle

The flat has a 'self contained pied-a-tierre' (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat has a ‘self contained pied-a-tierre’ (pictured) with a small table and two chairs

The flat in upmarket Wimbledon Village will cost lodgers £1,150 per month – or £265 per week – to live in it.

Bills are included within the rental and there is a secure parking space available.

One home hunter fumed: ‘London cost of living is so disgusting that you pay £1,150 per month to rent a bath in a bed/kitchen as advertised on Rightmove today.

‘Living in a decent home is an essential and fundamental basic human right.

‘It shouldn’t be a privileged novelty.’

The letting agent said it would be ideal for someone to rent for the Wimbledon tennis tournament which starts next month.

The All England Tennis Club, where the grass championship is hosted, is just half a mile away.

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat 'disgusting'

A Twitter user bashed the listing, calling the price of the studio flat ‘disgusting’

The listing says the flat is 'finished to an exceptional standard' and is available for short term rent

The listing says the flat is ‘finished to an exceptional standard’ and is available for short term rent

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

The toilet is found opposite to the bath and appears to have more than a curtain separating it from the lounge, unlike the bath

It is being let by CHK Mountford and advertised via Rightmove, the property listing reads: ‘Set on the ground floor of a wonderful detached private residence in the heart of Wimbledon Village is this self-contained pied a tierre.

‘The property has been immaculately refurbished to a very high standard and has been cleverly designed to maximise the space available.

‘To the front of the property is a small private patio.

‘The room is fully furnished and there is a small kitchenette area complete with sink, microwave and fridge.

‘There is a separate WC and a bath which has been cleverly designed to be fully hidden from view if required plus a generous storage cupboard/wardrobe.

‘One parking space is available and is set behind the properties private gates offering complete secure parking.

‘This property would be ideal for a working professional looking for a weekday base and who is looking for something which is centrally located and finished to a high standard.

‘All bills are included within the monthly rental.

‘Available on a short or long term basis, please note that for a short term rental the cost would be on a weekly basis.

‘And would be at a higher rental amount than for a long term tenancy – please contact the office directly for verification of the weekly rental.

‘The property is available for rental during Wimbledon Tennis event and is the perfect base for those wanting to be close to the site and have secure parking in addition.’

Advertisement

Source link

Continue Reading

Current

Truss made ‘turnips in truck’ Brexit remark about Ireland, former diplomat says

Voice Of EU

Published

on

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss told a US audience three years ago that the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Ireland would only “affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks,” a former UK diplomat said.

Alexandra Hall Hall, a former Brexit counsellor at the UK embassy in the US, disclosed on Twitter on Tuesday night that Ms Truss made the remarks to a US audience three years ago.

The former career diplomat revealed in an article she wrote in a US academic journal last year that a UK government minister made the remarks but she did not identify the minister at the time.

Last night Ms Hall Hall retweeted a tweet by Ms Truss in which the foreign secretary said the UK government’s “first priority is to uphold the Belfast Agreement” – the 1998 deal that underpins the Northern Ireland peace process. Ms Truss shared a link to her House of Commons speech in which she set out plans to introduce legislation to override the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Retweeting the message, Ms Hall Hall said: “So pleased to see Liz Truss become a genuine expert on Irish matters. She was, after all, the minister who told a US audience three years ago that Brexit would not have any serious impact in Ireland . . . it would merely ‘affect a few farmers with turnips in the back of their trucks.’”

‘Under strain’

Ms Truss told the UK parliament that the protocol had put the Belfast Agreement “under strain” because of opposition by Unionist parties, citing this as a reason to plan to introduce new legislation in the coming weeks to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Brexit deal.

Ms Hall Hall wrote in the Texas National Security Review journal last year that during her time as a diplomat in Washington, DC that Boris Johnson’s government damagingly played down the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland’s peace process in statements intended for US audiences.

She resigned from her job in late 2019 because she said she was unwilling to “peddle half-truths on behalf of a government I do not trust,” she said in her resignation letter.

In her article last autumn, she described the “turnip” remarks – without naming Ms Truss at the time – as a “low point” of her time in Washington when the UK minister “openly and offensively” in front of a US audience dismissed the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Irish businesses.

Ms Truss, then the UK secretary of state for international trade, was visiting Washington at the time to meet the then US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and the US trade representative Robert Lighthizer, both members of US president Donald Trump’s administration, and other politicians.

In the academic article, she said he had become “increasingly dismayed by the way in which our political leaders have tried to deliver Brexit, with reluctance to address honestly, even with our own citizens, the challenges and trade-offs which Brexit involves.”

She took issue in the article – entitled: “Should I stay or should I go? The dilemma of a conflicted civil service – with the UK government’s “use of misleading or disingenuous arguments about the implications of the various options” with Brexit.

Ms Hall joined the UK foreign office in 1986 and served in various roles around the world, including in Bangkok, New Delhi and Bogota before serving as British ambassador in Georgia.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates 
directly on your inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!