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WINDOW DRESSING FOR ETHNIC INTERIORS – Natural Shades

Natural Blinds with Bamboo Reeds, Jute and grass etc

While the word ‘Desi’ gives off an intrinsically Indian flavor, it could also function as an adjective to refer to something that is local or indigenous. Desi English means Indianized or unauthentic forms of the English language; desi culture – Indian behavior, Indian food, Indian clothing, Indian furnishing, Indian art, Indian decor, practically everything that’s Indian! I love that Indians living outside of their home country cling on to their heritage, most especially the way their children are brought up to mirror their most basic ‘Indianness’, that not even Indians in India are so Indian! As the world makes it a point to keep up to the west, I understand that Indians look to the American Indians to preserve the Indian tradition! Isn’t that amazing?

 

The Indians are everywhere – their migration westward (not unlike the ‘westward tide’ of the early settlers in America), started with educated and ambitious desi’s leaving the Indian shores for a better way of life back at the turn of the 1900’s, but it became more pronounced after her liberation from the British rule that had left the country ‘free’ but plundered of her wealth. And the Indians carried huge chunks of their native trappings with them – from the sari to desi spices! Even today, with the coming of age of the 4th generation desi’s living on foreign shores, one can recognize the ‘difference’ that characterizes most of the Asian population living abroad, ensuring that being ‘Indian’ is actually cool!

 

Indians are great collectors – most Indian homes sport novelties and artifacts collected from their travels, vying for attention among the desi decorations – the low-slung, hand-carved Gujarati sofas, brightly embroidered and embellished cushions, leather tapestry, ornate and bejeweled mirrors and wall plaques! Indian home decor is bright and cheery, lending a therapeutic ambiance on most levels, and while trends keep evolving by the day, the ethnicity accorded every Indian home is quite evident. I have an Indian friend who, when she visits her home country every year, makes it a point to collect tableware from different parts of the country. Every time she entertains, she has different collections she serves from with cuisines to lend authenticity! Even the most ‘Americanized ‘Indian homes often sport some bits of antique brass artwork and wick lamps, terracotta urns and brightly depicted folk murals on display. And the beautifully patterned and embroidered cushion covers, bed spreads and quilts add an eastern mystique a lot of us western folk hanker after!

 

I find that most Indian homes have drapes dressing the windows of their homes – this could be over-powering sometimes, as heavy drapes in silks and velvets tend to clash with bright artifacts. I love the folk art and puppetry and fantastically finished mirror work on upholstery, but I think that window shades or blinds would blend in better to off-set the art work. Heavily patterned or embroidered drapes take away from rather than add to the ethnic tones. Four-poster beds canopied with tie-dyed muslin would be set to relief if the windows of the bedroom in question were shuttered. Another option would be the natural woven mat blinds or shades – incidentally, these have origins in India as well. Bamboo blinds or ‘chiks’ as they’re called in India have been in use practically from the dawn of time, to protect the indoor from rain, heat, the glare of the sun and pesky insects. The cane and bamboo plants grow prolifically all over India, practically in forests in the southern and north-eastern regions, add to which they are self-regenerating. Apart from the last detail, wild growth is often tamed to keep environmental balance in check, and when this is done, the culled branches are stripped into thin sections that are horizontally woven or threaded together intricately with thread or thin rope fibers to make blinds that are suspended on a bamboo stick to cover a window (done mostly by the womenfolk, much like they made woven floor mats and baskets); later, a basic pulley system made for easier functionality in raising and lowering them over a window. Today, blind manufacturers all over the world make blinds from reed, grass, bamboo, etc., attached to sophisticated control mechanisms to create a fabulous but ‘light‘ ambiance in interiors. They can even be used in bedrooms with room darkening/blackout liners for enhanced privacy, because even though they are tightly woven for less light filtering and visibility, the nature of the weave is such that some diffused light and air gets past them when lowered over a window completely.

 

Natural blinds are the most eco-friendly window coverings that exist on the market – some of them are bleached and dyed for personal requirements, but all natural treatments are made within environmentally sustainable tenets; natural dyes and color-fixers are used, so there’s no danger of any color leaching and off-gassing that leads to various allergic skin and respiratory disorders. They blend seamlessly into practically any décor style and can be teamed with filmy, sheer curtains for breezy, flirtatious looks, or with drapes and valances to lend more formality and insulation if required.

 

Graber’s Tradewinds Sheer and Light filtering Natural Woven Shades and Natural Woven Wood Blinds from Crown add surprising elegance to windows of any kind and shape. With the convenience of the TDBU and motorized options easily available at extremely economically rates, go for these eco-friendly options that the Indians and Chinese have been using for centuries together with absolutely no ill-effect that anyone can find! Do away with the boringly conventional and cumbersome drapes and create an added sustainability for your lifestyle with these endlessly fascinating Natural Shades.

 

 

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