Textiles on walls might conjure images of everything from a tapestry you religiously tacked to your wall throughout all four years of college to an insane 18th century weaving you studied in detail the last time you were at the Met. Well, we're here to tell you that when it comes to displaying vintage fabric as art, there's definitely a middle ground.
A vintage Hermès scarf adds a colorful pop to a neutral living room. Interior by Tamara Eaton Design. Photo by Patrick Cline.
Vintage fabrics are a whole new category of accessible art you can enjoy every day. From Otomi embroidery to Indian Banjara panels, textiles are often colorful, composed of interesting patterns, and can be quite affordable. Custom framing textiles elevates them from pieces of fabric to works of art. Plus, framing can protect a delicate piece and prevent further aging.
If you collected a treasure trove of swatches on a recent trip or have a stash of old-school silk scarves you inherited from grandma, more power to you—we can help you frame those! But if you don't have any textiles hiding in drawers ready to be displayed on your wall, it's easy to tap into the marketplace and source fabric you love from the comfort of your home. Here's our tried-and-true list for vendors carrying the most captivating vintage textiles fit to be framed.
St. Frank's framed textiles are not only gorgeous, but each piece supports the economic empowerment of artisans and celebrates and revives their historical crafts. Each textile is accompanied by a story about the techniques, traditions and communities behind it, revealing the generations stories and traditions often held in just a single piece of cloth.
Jamie Meares, owner of Furbish Studio, is a pro at sourcing gorgeous pieces scavenged abroad—just take a look at the recent In Frames featuring her and her colleague Jessica Swaney for proof. We love Furbish's vintage textile offerings, including this green and purple African Textile, which would be perfection floated in our White Gallery Frame.
Collector extraordinaire John Derian sources beautiful objects from around the globe—so you don't have to. Instead, plan a trip to one of his NYC or Provincetown shops—going in-person is a necessity to explore the stunning collection of world textiles he offers.
We want to buy everything Amber Interiors sells. The California shop and design firm has a knack for seamlessly melding modern and vintage styles—from elegant natural-wood furniture to a dazzling array of world textiles. "We get our vintage textiles from anywhere and everywhere," owner and founder Amber Lewis tells us. "Local flea markets, such as the Long Beach and Rose Bowl Flea are great places to source textiles if you can’t make it to the markets in India and Thailand. Vintage clothing stores often have great items that can easily be turned into art as well."
Vintage textiles displayed in Shoppe by Amber Interiors.
This website boasts a massive and well-categorized catalog of collectible antique textiles. Their New York showroom is open by appointment only, but even if you're not quite ready to splurge on a pricey collector's item, perusing their encyclopedia of textile art on their site can help give you a great sense of the fabric styles and embroidery techniques you gravitate towards.
If you're looking for a textile from a specific region, Etsy (and ebay) are awesome because they allow you to search and filter specifically for what you are looking for from specific geographic locations. Smitten with Suzani? You must look at SULTANSHOP. Tribalcollection offers gorgeous vintage batiks and woven tapestries from Vietnam. SimplyRickshaw sells a mix of textiles from India, China and Morocco. On a search for Otomi? Try Seibalfolkart, straight from Mexico City.
Finding a textile you love on ebay is a little bit like finding a needle in a haystack—so it helps to know what you are looking for. Searching key words like "Suzani," "Otomi," or "vintage Hermès scarf" may help you zero in on a great find—or five!
1. Otomi Embroidery from Puebla Mexico. $17.95 via seibalfolkart. 2. Vintage Hmong Tapestry. $19.99 via tribalcollection. 3. Marney Kilim Rug. $265 via Furbish Studio. 4. Ganey Vintage Rug. $195 via Furbish Studio. 5. Vintage Chinese Miao Textile. App. $70.80 via SimplyRickshaw. 6. Vintage embroidered Suzani. $50 via SULTANSHOP. 7. Moroccan Berber Cushion. App. $64.57 via SimplyRickshaw. 8. Antique American Patchwork from TextileAsArt.com. Price upon request.
Need help getting your new vintage textile custom framed? Learn all about Simply Framed scarf and textile framing here.