May 29, 2010 on 2:38 pm
When you think of southwest style decorating, places throughout the western United States such as Colorado, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico come to mind. Although many homes and business in these areas have a southwestern decor theme, you can be located anywhere and still enjoy a warm and welcoming southwest environment in your surroundings. All it takes is a little creativity.
There are many interpretations of southwest style decorating and the definition varies from person to person. Likes and dislikes as well as experiencing the southwest personally, help mold these opinions. While the southwest to some may be visions of cowboys and Indians roaming the wild western plains, others visualize the bright colors and bold patterns of a Mexican open door market and cantina. Many may imagine rounded arched doorways so commonly seen in old southwest missions, while others see a Spanish touch which includes wrought iron furnishings and colorful ornate cathedrals. These conclusions are all correct and can be considered important influences for southwest decorating.
No matter which parts or how much of each aspect of southwest decorating you adopt, there are usually certain elements that are incorporated into a southwest style room. The first and major element is color. Color sets the stage for completing the artist’s pallet. Think of your room as a blank canvas and allow your creativity to flow into the room. The color you choose should be warm and inviting such as a member from the red, orange, yellow or green family. Accent colors are used as well. Associate the colors you choose with what you see in your mind when you think of the southwest.
The next major element to consider when decorating with a southwest style is the furnishings. Chunky wooden pieces, wrought iron and leather go well with southwest decorating. Furniture that is mismatched or imperfect add unique charm and tend to lend a relaxed feeling. Second hand stores and flea markets are great places to find a bargain for your room. When using existing furniture, brightly colored cotton throws are a good investment to give your old furniture a new look. Patterns and textures add interesting aspects to your room, and can be seen in throw pillows, area rugs, and accessories. Woven rugs and floor runners are vital for adding warmth and character. Geometric designs work wonderfully and tend to pull colors together from within the room.
To accessorize your southwest project, choose things that appeal to your personality. Surround yourself with things you love. That feeling will then be transferred to family and friends. Consider including items such as colorful Mexican pottery, Native American baskets in assorted shapes and sizes, and hand tooled leather objects. Items crafted from rawhide and cow skins also work wonderfully.
In any environment, the southwest being no different, greenery is important in creating a refreshing and desired place for the gathering of family and friends. Plants tend to calm and refresh us. Placed strategically around your home or room, these live beings welcome and give a sense of calm. Your plants need not consist simply of cactus for which the southwest is well known, place any type of plant in a brightly colored pot and it will be at home.
Another element that is equally important before you may call your southwest room complete is art work for the walls. Items such as a cow skull and paintings that include wolves, cows, bears, coyotes, buffalo and the eagle are certainly a welcome addition. Scenes from western or Indian art give realism and adapt to their southwestern surroundings nicely.
The main thing to keep in mind when choosing to decorate your home, cabin, ranch, lodge or office, using a southwestern theme is just to follow your heart. Enjoy experimenting. Be creative with color. And opt for the unusual. Anything is acceptable and remember you don’t need to settle for a cookie cutter environment where everything is magazine perfect. Imperfection is acceptable and desirable. Spending time in your new southwest environment will be an enjoyable and delightful experience to share with those whom you love.
May 26, 2010 on 3:23 pm
American Indians are very much in tune to symbolism and the use of tools during special rituals. One of these is the Native American trail marker.
Interesting and unique items were used by tribal people during their ceremonies and celebrations. The Native American trail marker is one of the more interesting and inspiring artifacts they used. The main purpose of the marker is to mark trails during a journey. Of their uses, they are also known for marking lodges and pointing out burial sites for ceremonies.
Like the other kinds of artifacts and symbolic sticks crafted by Native American tribes, the trail marker also portrays the same unique, rustic identity that is common to them due to their affinity to nature. We see through history how the earth, nature and Indian people are closely related. Many of their rituals and ceremonies show their connection and love for nature.
One of the attributes of the Native American trail marker is that it is usually covered in leather. Many times, it is adorned with a coyote skull and often, prayer feathers will adorn t it. There is also a hand carved blade made of wood that is positioned at the base.
The trail marker, for some, is used in a variety of ways depending on its adornment. Of the many uses, the three most significant are used as a dance stick, in medicinal practices, during music or even meditation. The owner can determine how he wishes to use it.
The rustic and decorative design of the trail marker makes it a nice item to include in your southwest themed home. A trail marker is ideal for those who appreciate the dynamic beauty of Native American craftsmanship.
The composition of the materials used in a trail marker corresponds well to nature. Native Americans hold certain traditions, ideas and beliefs which give us a better understanding of their cultural connection to mother earth.
For many people who wish to understand Native American culture, the close connection to the environment and nature holds a lot of interest. Trail markers show the desire of the Native American people to spiritually harness the power of nature.
When purchasing a Native American trail marker, be sure to find a reliable provider, such as an authentic Indian tribe, to avoid buying counterfeit items. These are a little larger than the usual ceremonial sticks and require much more labor so take that into account when asking about the cost.
They can be a great conversation piece while being used as a form of southwest decoration in the home.
May 25, 2010 on 7:47 pm
Known by the Aztecs for their skill in weaving, the southwest Zapotec Indians are still producing their works of textile art today. While isolated in southern Mexico by mountains and distance from the rest of the world, it has become possible for anyone now to acquire one of these beautiful and traditional rugs or tapestries. The Zapotecs’ still weave entirely by hand, using only the wool from sheep. All their textile products are made of 100% wool, and provide an authentic and cultural heritage.
Getting a genuine piece of Zapotec Indian art is both a wonderful southwest decor addition and an educational, cultural experience. All of the weavings are made by hand by these talented Indian people. You can be assured that hundreds of years of artistic heritage is behind each piece, when purchasing a tapestry, rug, or pillow. A home or room decorated using authentic Zapotec pieces, will become a creative southwest masterpiece.
Unchanged for hundreds of years, the process used by the Zapotec Indians to weave their rugs and tapestries has remained the same. This causes the process to be slower but assures that each piece made, is a work of art that is never to be duplicated. How to design the patterns is passed down from generation to generation as well as the knowledge needed to handle the mechanical side of weaving. There is always a need for new concepts and ideas when weaving however, many of the designs used are traditional and will always remain the same. Master weaver families provide a premier line of woven textiles renowned for the skill with which they are created as well as their design qualities.
The Zapotec people are very dedicated to maintaining the traditional skills in their culture and pay close attention to ensure that every step in making their rugs and tapestries is followed correctly. The sheep used for the wool are descendants of those brought by the Spanish when they first landed in Mexico. After the sheep are sheered, the wool is hand carded and then the spinning wheel is used to spin the wool into usable thread. The wool is spun into skeins, still needing to be dyed, which will be done by hand in the Zapotec village.
Once the wool has been colored to the demanding specification of the master dyer, it is hung up to be dried. After the wool is dried, it is taken to the weavers who will turn the spools of yarn into beautiful textiles. There can be no mistaking the quality of a rug, pillow, or tapestry made in a process that is natural and organic from start to finish. You are helping the Zapotec people to achieve self-sufficiency and independence by purchasing one of these southwest Indian masterpieces.
May 20, 2010 on 4:17 pm
In choosing a southwestern color ensemble for your decorating project, it is important to keep in mind that different moods can be created by color. You need to consider what type of mood you want to create in the room you are decorating. Earth tones, such as those used in many southwestern rugs, are wonderful for setting a mood that is welcoming and are ideal for public areas of the home such as the living room, family room or den. Such color options include deep reds, oranges, yellows and greens. If you are looking to create a calming mood, consider cooler southwestern colors such as turquoise and pinks which can be found in many Zapotec rugs. All color choices when combined correctly with accent colors can create a beautiful southwestern space that is wonderfully relaxing and a fun place in which to spend time. Southwestern colors are cheerful and a truly fun way to create a unique southwest living space you can call home.
May 20, 2010 on 3:02 pm
One of the most basic of all elements, earth, has been transformed into southwest Indian pottery lamps by the skilled artisans. These lamps will impart an earthy, organic look to any room in the house. They also provide a type of beauty that can complement the rest of your rustic design elements. Blending with any southwestern decor scheme, these southwest Indian pottery lamps are one-of-a-kind objects sure to cause admiration in all who see them.
A home that is decorated in a southwestern style will provide a rustic and natural design finish. This does not mean crude, however, and adding a southwest Indian pottery lamp will add a touch that is both sophisticated and organic. Most people will use more than one of these pottery lamps in their home. You can be assured that they will add the perfect decorating touch due to the intense skill necessary to make them.
Some of the most lovely pottery lamps for sale today are made by the Tarahumara Indians of northern Mexico. Made entirely by hand, these lamps can hardly be considered utility objects. They are individual pieces of art, one-of-a-kind pieces that will assure the individuality of your home. The shapes chosen by these native artists are those that echo the pots formed for thousands of years by these people. They are shapes that are friendly and natural, like river- and wind-smoothed rocks. These clay made lamps sit on a wooden base, are strung with rawhide and adorned with a rawhide lamp shade for a real southwestern touch. No southwest room is complete without them.
Besides the Tarahumara lamps described, there are other styles of southwest Indian pottery lamps available. Basing their designs and decoration on the wonderful artistry of Navajo, Anasazi, and Zuni Native peoples, these lamps will draw you right into the pueblo and desert. You can almost hear the drums or the songs of the wolves and coyotes when looking at these pottery lamps. They will add a tasteful, yet definite Native American presence to any room in your home.
May 19, 2010 on 5:46 pm
Native Americans hold a fascination of certain objects. The symbolism of the talking stick is really interesting. They use various kinds to create organization and order in their lives and to avoid disputes. Take a look and see the unique tradition of using the Native American talking stick.
The Native American people hold many amazing traditions which are filled with symbolism. The Indian culture has many exciting and refreshing aspects an outsider may observe. Look at the examples of items used by Native Americans throughout history. One such artifact is the talking stick. Among tribal people, it offers a respected symbol of organization.
During council meetings of Native American tribes, the important talking stick is used to promote order. The stick is used to demonstrate courtesy when the tribal chief is speaking. No one will interrupt as long as the speaker is holding the talking stick. Only when holding the stick, may someone in the council speak their opinion.
This incredible artifact holds deep significance which is proven by the materials used for construction. Normally, it is adorned with the feathers of an eagle and also crystals which make it significant.
Native American adults still use the talking stick with groups of children to maintain harmony today. By utilizing the stick, discussions will remain pleasant and respectful. Ensuring that the words being spoken are respected, the stick can help the people listen.
If a council meeting is held, it becomes the tribe’s responsibility to procure a talking stick. Of the main purposes for it, the main three would be a tool used for instructing children, an aid for telling stories and a method of resolving disputes or listening.
A very organized and civilized life has been achieved by the native people with a deep appreciation for the natural environment in life. There is no better tool used for effective communication than the powerful talking stick. The stick alone, as an artifact, is an item that will surely make a wonderful addition to rustic or southwestern decor. It will be admired by everyone when they realize its ability to sustain peace among the people.