Saturday, November 15, 2014

Handmade Gifts: Table Linen

              As part of the handmade gift project ideas; here are some table linen that can be made using inexpensive canvas drop cloths, a stencil, some paints, and an afternoon. This project includes another one of my favorite things; culturally representative textiles that embody ethnic crafts and skills.

              This project was inspired by the traditional Tenango (literally meaning ‘stone neighborhood’) textiles hand embroidered by the Otomi Indians in Mexico. These motifs are believed to be inspired from ancient cave paintings and these creations narrate the history and everyday life of the people. Similar in look to the decorative and embroidered tribal textiles ‘Suzanis’ of Central Asian countries, the Tenango were textiles created specifically by the Otomi Tribe in Mexico.

              I personally love these textiles for the whimsical, magical, and quirky spirit it evokes. I love the saturated bright colors, the graphic plant and animal patterns, and the elaborate and intricate embroidery. I saw these textiles during my vacation to Mexico but did not buy any. But I am sure to try to pick up some of these textiles on my next visit.

             Wanting to recreate that look on a cheaper budget (till I can get my hands on the real deal); I purchased this stencil from the Etsy shop of OMGstencils. Using some canvas drop cloth which you can purchase cheaply at any home improvement store, I approximately measured out enough for a table runner. This is larger in size than a standard table runner but I wanted to use the entire stencil. I machine hemmed the edges and I was ready to paint. I chose bright and vivid colors and using a stenciling brush began painting. Be sure to mix in some fabric medium with your paints. That was it; simple! And the project went by quickly too. Instantly gratifying I must say. I also made a couple of napkins or these could be used as table mats and painted them in single colors. I love the larger size of this table linen and the bright colors will add to the cheery spirit at my holiday party.





                         My Inspiration: Traditional Hand embroidered Mexican Otomi textiles

              The modern translation of this traditional hand embroidery has been to develop these textiles using only one or two colors. This gives them a more contemporary look that melds well with current d├ęcor styles.

               Give this project a try. You can make pillow and cushion covers, table linen, floor rugs, wall hangings, cloth tote bags, and many more such easy things. Purchase any stencil you like from any craft and hobby store and make a handmade gift for someone or for yourself this holiday season.