Andrew Damonte, founder of Nushka, shares the story of the new Silk Jajim Cushion collection with TheHouseDirectory.
“Every now and again a fabric presents itself as the perfect cushion fabric. We are always looking for fabrics which have a slightly worn look. One of our most successful cushion collections was the vintage indigo range from Guatemala. It was hard not to look and touch these fabrics without thinking about your favourite pair of old blue jeans.”
Image: A silk Jajim fabric cushion, the central fabric panel in a striped vintage silk Jajim and the two side panels in a matching plain vegetable dyed silk.
On a recent buying trip to Istanbul Andrew came across wonderful fragments of vintage 19th and early 20th century silk Jajim fabric. Textile dealers often rave about their 100% wool collections of Persian Jajim, with brightly striped colours. However, these fragments of silk Jajim were actually from Azerbaijan and because they are so fine, the colours are more vivid and interesting than their Persian counterparts. Andrew’s research revealed that Azerbajan had in fact been at the centre of Middle Eastern and European trade in silk for some time, especially serving the Russian Empire in the late 19th century.
Image: A multi-coloured silk Jajim cushion
“Because the main fabric fragments are vintage we must ensure that the panels framing it are a good match. A modern chemically dyed fabric would not work. The entire matching process is quite intensive, but entirely worthwhile.”
Image: Detail of a cushion showing the silk Jajim striped fabric and matching plain vegetable dyed silk.
Nushka source vintage silk Jajim fragments and use modern vegetable dyed silk to match the original silk fragments.
Image: The additional silk panels are made using traditional methods to vegetable dye silk.
A great deal of care goes into the dyeing of these silk panels as it does to matching the central striped fragment.
Image: Coloured silk yarns left to dry before being woven.
Image: A selection of plain woven silks, ready to combine with the vintage silk fragments, to produce the Jaijim cushion collection.
The result is a wonderful mix of vintage textile and modern tactile luxury. The range can be seen and purchased on the Nushka website.