News

The Yoruba Beaded Chair: Where Artistry Meets Interiors

Posted on August 25, 2023 by Dael Lane

In the realm of artistic heritage, the Yoruba beaded chair is a testament to the rich, cultural history of the Yoruba people of West Africa. These exquisite chairs are not only functional pieces of furniture, but also intricate works of art that tell stories of tradition and craftsmanship, steeped in history and symbolism. Seen as bespoke, statement pieces in homes around the world, here we take a closer look into this beaded icon and how it has found its place in modern interiors.

Yoruba Beaded Chair

The Yoruba beaded chair is iconic and renowned for its intricate beadwork and vibrant colours. Seen here in stunning black and white.

Origins and Cultural Significance

The Yoruba beaded chair finds its origins in present day Nigeria, a country and people known for their vibrant, colourful culture and artistic prowess. With a deeply rooted tradition of creating art that reflects their beliefs, history and spirituality, the Yoruba people are recognised and admired for their exquisite beadwork, often used to adorn clothing, accessories and ceremonial objects like the Yoruba beaded chair, that date back centuries.

Symbolism and Spiritual Connection

The Yoruba beaded chair is more than just ‘a chair’. For those who have seen one up close, it truly is a complete ‘vibe’. Traditionally, these expertly crafted pieces are a symbol of prestige, power and spiritual connection, often reserved for important individuals within the community, such as tribal leaders, priests and royalty. Completely covered in tiny glass beads, the intricate beadwork is symbolic, with a deep meaning attached to the patterns and colours of each design, representing the various aspects of Yoruba cosmology, deities and historical narratives.

The Making of Yoruba Beaded Chairs

One of the most awe-inspiring aspects of Yoruba beaded chairs is the craftsmanship involved in their creation. Each chair is meticulously handmade by skilled artisans, a process that requires dedication, precision and phenomenal artistic vision.

Materials

It’s hard to believe that the primary material used in crafting Yoruba beaded chairs, aside from the natural wooden frame, are tiny glass beads. Using an array of colours, allows artisans to create intricate patterns and designs that contribute to the overall beauty and aesthetic of the chair.

Process

The process of making a Yoruba beaded chair is a complete labour of love that involves several steps. The chair's wooden frame is first carved by hand and assembled, serving as the foundation for the beadwork. Artisans then meticulously string individual beads onto threads, arranging them according to the desired pattern and design.

Beadwork

The beadwork itself is a symphony of colours and shapes. The artisans carefully sew each bead onto the chair's surface in alternating colours, creating mesmerising patterns, that often tell spiritual stories of Yoruba history, mythology and cosmology. The patterns which range from floral, to geometric and abstract, are not only visually stunning, but also hold deep cultural significance.

Africanologie Yoruba Beaded Chair

The Yoruba beaded chair is individually handmade and intricately beaded to create this exquisite texture and detail. 

Uniqueness and Individual Handcrafting

One of the defining characteristics of Yoruba beaded chairs is their uniqueness. Each chair is individually handmade, ensuring that no two pieces are the same. The artisan's touch infuses every chair with a sense of soul and authenticity, making each Yoruba beaded chair a masterpiece in its own right. It can take an artisan anywhere from 3-6 months to make just ONE chair, which makes these chairs all the more unique and desirable.

Statement Piece

Placed within modern interiors, the Yoruba beaded chair serves as statement piece, bridging the gap between traditional craftsmanship and modern design sensibilities. With its vibrant colours, mesmerising patterns and painstaking beadwork, the Yoruba beaded chair commands attention, while at the same time, igniting conversations. This chair not only serves as functional seating, but also reflects the owner's appreciation for craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Whether in minimalist or eclectic spaces, Yoruba beaded chairs introduce an element of authenticity and cultural depth, adding an unforgettable touch of art and legacy to the contemporary home.

A stunning example of how to style with a Yoruba beaded chair can be seen here in the home of Genola de Jong. Picture source: @genoladj.

As specialists in sourcing, commissioning and importing the finest products from across the African continent, AFRICANOLOGIE is committed to bringing the beauty of Africa straight to your doorstep. Our deep love for Africa fuels our passion for discovering talented artisans, whose creations and artworks inspire and make up our collection of quality, handmade homewares, photographic fine art, bespoke furniture and unique décor items. Each of our handcrafted products is one-of-a-kind, reflecting the rich, cultural heritage of Africa and the exceptional skills of the artisans we work with.

 

Posted in Beaded Chair, Chair, Decor, Furniture, Handmade, Interior Design, Interior Styling, Interiors, Yoruba, Yoruba Chair

7 Tips to Hanging Artworks in the Bedroom

Posted on July 07, 2023 by Dael Lane

At AFRICANOLOGIE we work with photographers such as David Ballam whose sailboats from part of his ILHA Collection. ILHA 1 featured here.

Art is an essential part of interior decor. Not only does it add personality and colour to a room, but also a sense of style. That’s why it’s important to put careful thought into how you choose and display artwork, especially above your bed. Here are some great tips to help you create a beautiful and balanced bedroom gallery or feature wall.

At AFRICANOLOGIE we believe that art, specifically photographic art, is a moment in time captured through the lens of a photographer that visually tells a story – one that you want to tell in your own home. Specialising in large, oversized statement art, we work with a number of renowned photographers, including Richard du Toit, David Ballam, Graham Springer, Clinton Friedman, Cadelle and Francoise van Vuuren to name a few. Everything from tribal portraits to wildlife, architectural and landscape photography - you’ll be inspired.

Scale, Proportion and Placement
When it comes to choosing photographic art for the bedroom, scale, proportion and placement are crucial factors to take into consideration, along with the size of your bed and the size of your space. You don’t want the artwork to be too small or too big compared to the bed or the room itself, as a piece should always complement the bed - not overwhelm it. It is important to ensure that the centre of your artwork is at the right height. The perfect height for artwork placed above a bed is approximately 20 cm above the top of the headboard, and should be centred so that it is visible from all angles. You could also use a statement print above the bed as an alternative headboard, making sure its placement is centred above the pillow line.

Mix and Match
To create an exciting look or deconstructed wall feature with artwork, mix and match frames of various sizes to give depth and create interest on the wall. Combining a series of small and medium-sized pieces or a larger, oversized statement piece above the bed, will add personality and bring a wow factor to your space. By hanging a wider, landscape piece above the bed versus a vertical option, it tends to draw the eye up, therefore creating the illusion of higher ceilings.

Colour Themes
When selecting coordinating colours or themes of your artwork, take the bedroom’s colour palette and style into consideration. The artwork should connect with other design elements in the room, creating balance and harmony in your space. Keep in mind that pairing bold artwork with neutral bedding and accent walls is a great way to create a focal point.

Lighting
Adding adjustable lighting or placing a spotlight directly above the piece, is an excellent way to highlight your artwork, while creating an ambiance and enhancing the mood in your space.

Frame Selection
Frame selection is crucial when it comes to hanging art over the bed. Depending on the look and feel you’d like to achieve in your space, you can select frames that are light in weight and neutral in colour or finish for a softer feel. If you’re looking to create drama and draw the eye in, black frames make an excellent choice. When it comes to wooden or metal frames, these in natural or muted tones make for an elegant option that complements any artwork and space without overwhelming it.

Wall Space
Before purchasing and installing an artwork, it is vitally important to measure your wall space carefully. Hanging one oversized statement piece is easy enough, but when it comes to placing multiple artworks, it can become a little tricky and needs to be well planned out. In this instance, arrange the artwork on the floor and play around with different layouts before committing to a final placement. Take a photo of the intended placement to identify necessary adjustments.

Hardware
Artwork is an investment, so ensuring that it is well secured to the wall will depend on the hardware used. Make sure that the brackets or hooks used are sturdy enough to hold the weight of the artwork, to avoid any unwanted accidents!

Artwork is a very personal aspect of the home. It will have been chosen for a specific purpose and more importantly, for how it made you feel when you first laid eyes on it. Whether you’re looking for one, oversized statement piece or multiple smaller pieces to create a feature wall above the bed for a more eclectic feel, you cannot go wrong with photographic art.

With various framing options available including our signature raw, wooden frames made from recycled wood imported from Africa, our statement photographic artworks are impactful and stunningly imposing in a space. So, whether you’re looking for a standalone print, or considering a wall gallery of photographic art above the bed, we provide unique pieces that appeal to the senses, while adding a personal touch and undeniable style to your bedroom.

Posted in Artwork, Decor, Interior Styling, Photographic Art, Photography, Wall Art, Wall Decor

Ethiopian Crosses: The Beauty of Handmade

Posted on June 07, 2023 by Dael Lane

Africanologie Ethiopian Crosses


Ethiopian crosses hold great cultural significance in Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, yet, their unique designs and intricate lattice work has made them desirable, sort after pieces by interior designers and interior stylists around the world.

Little is known about them outside of their Ethiopian origins and stunning aesthetic, and many are stunned to learn that Ethiopian Coptic crosses are in fact, made by hand. Yes, that's right! From the smallest, to the largest, they are individually handmade and finished, emerging as the exquisite, highly sought after, decorative pieces we've come to admire and love.

Ethiopian crosses can be used decoratively in various ways. They can be displayed as a standalone statement piece or grouped together in varying sizes and designs to create a focal point in your space that brings the 'wow' factor. The great thing about Ethiopian crosses is that aesthetically, they fit seamlessly into different design styles - from bohemian, eclectic, global-inspired, contemporary modern or classic, making them incredibly versatile for styling in the home.

Origins

The origin of Ethiopian crosses can be traced back to the ancient Axumite Kingdom, where crosses were used as amulets and symbols of faith. Over time, these crosses evolved in their design and became more intricate and ornate, incorporating symbolism and geometric patterns. Using the age old 'Lost Wax' technique, passed down through the generations, the actual process may vary slightly depending on the region and artisan, however, the most common material used for making Ethiopian crosses is brass, but are also known to be made from other metals including silver, gold, zinc and even molten bullet casings!

The Process

The process usually begins with the artisan creating and carving a wax mold of the Ethiopian cross, which is traditionally packed in clay or a ceramic mixture, until the cross is completely encased, leaving a small hole open at one end.
The clay is then heated in a furnace - old practices saw a hand bellow used made from animal hide, to reach the desired temperature over a fire - until the wax melts away, leaving a hollow clay shell, which has the shape of the cross imprinted on the inside.

The metal is melted and poured into the clay shell and cracked open once the metal has cooled and solidified completely. The rough edges are then filed down and the Ethiopian cross is polished to achieve a smooth finish. Artisans will then add intricate details and designs to the Ethiopian crosses using a variety of techniques, including etching and engraving, following which, it is ready for sale at the local markets.

The finished product is not only a stunning work of art, but one that is highly valued in Ethiopian culture and is also often worn in necklace form as a symbol of faith and protection.

Unique

In today's world where mass-produced goods are ubiquitous and easily accessible, it's easy to forget the beauty and value of handmade products. The labor-intensive process each artisan goes through to create a single piece is truly admirable and deserves recognition. It is important to remember that when you buy handmade, you are not only supporting the livelihoods of skilled artisans, but also cherishing the intrinsic value of unique and perfectly imperfect creations.

So whether you're an avid collector or looking to start your own collection of Ethiopian crosses, it is our hope that you will look at these pieces with a renewed admiration and profound appreciation.

For more information about Africanologie or our selection of Ethiopian crosses, email us at sales@africanologie.com.au or visit us in Mosman, in-store.

Posted in Decor, Ethiopian Coptic Cross, Ethiopian Cross, Handmade, Interior Design, Interior Styling, Interiors