Friday, August 8, 2014

Indian Summer in the Sunroom 2014

After the 4th of July, I was ready to switch up the sunroom and tone down the patriotism you saw here. Before we are into the throes of decorating for fall and its holidays, there is that period that is often referred to as "Indian Summer".  Technically, it is known as "a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather, occurring after the end of summer proper" (Wikipedia). I am going with the idea of an Indian Summer in the sunroom for the next couple of months.  I'm using much of what has grown to become another fairly extensive collection of mine - Native American decor. It's not entirely pedigreed, but it's certainly a melting pot of examples from Apache to Zuni, and many in between.
Indian Summer in the sunroom - vintage Native American rug addition
I have a keen interest/fascination with Native American art and artifacts which comes, in part, from my heritage. My paternal grandmother was part Native American Indian (Cherokee), so there is a trace of that in my lineage.

My regional location and its history indicates we live in a riverbed area that was pre-historically inhabited by the Paleo-Indian and Archaic People.  After being excavated for the first time ever in its documented history, our adjacent lot landscape renovation in 2004 revealed several flint articles that are, most likely, remnants of tools used by the Paleo-Indians.  They have become my conversational 'rock' collection that you see pictured below.
Native American 'found' flint artifacts from landscape renovation
These artifacts are seen as they were found, only cleaned with a simple soaking of water. As you can see, they are in various shapes and sizes, which led me to much online research and consulting with a few locals in the know of such things.  It appears I have an assortment of drill bits, scrapers, and fragments of various other hand tools that show signs of having been tied to wooden handles at some point. Some are smooth, others are chiseled, all of them amaze me.

My mother's influence also impressed my interest in Native American history from as far back as the early 1980s.  I can remember her having a strong interest in the spirituality of the Native American people and their teachings.  She also loved the color purple, and I gifted her the artwork you see pictured (below) from a local artisan at that time.
Native American wood artwork
The cloaked Indian artwork was returned to me after my mother died, and I love how it reminds me of her in a sort of melancholy way. I also received a dream catcher that belonged to her, and placed it under a cloche in the sunroom (below).
    

Traveling throughout Navajo Territory in the Western US several years ago, along with visits to Washington, DC's Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, further piqued my interest in Native American art and artifacts.  Having a few pieces of turquoise jewelry from the 1970s, I happily added to my collection in our travels, picking up both newer pieces by modern craftsmen as well as vintage pieces.We stopped at the national historic park site of the J L Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, AZ. It is there where I purchased some vintage jewelry, as well as a local, artisan-made Native American runner in an authentic Navajo rug pattern. It came with a signed photo provenance of the artisan who crafted it.
Traditional Navajo runner, Hubbell Trading Post
With my love of vintage and antique items, I've come upon several authentically crafted Native American items through estate sales and auctions. The rug in my leading photo in this post (sunroom) is from an estate sale. The rug was originally displayed in the estate as a wall hanging, with a rod pocket sewn from muslin attached on the back.

My collection of Native American smalls includes woven baskets - from a large, primitive figural olla.....
Primitive, Aztec olla basket
...and vegetable-dyed, hide-covered woven gathering basket....
Gathering basket with vegetable-dyed hide bottom
....to several smaller, shelf baskets.
Pottery pieces and textiles include those made not only for their originally intended function...
Primitive, Native American water jug
...but also with distinctive and artistic Native American beauty and symbolism.
L to R: Apache beaded handbag; pottery and Quanah Parker Comanche bust; beaded pouch, petrified wood and child's moccasins & bracelet
The color scheme in the lower level of our home is conducive to several styles, Native American design being one of them. The open design of the main hallway and living space in our home, including the kitchen, is one continuous color (a pale peach), with white trim and dark wood floors. Our breakfast area furniture, just outside the sunroom, has cushions covered in a pattern that coordinates with the Native American style.  In the photo below, you can see glimpses of that fabric, looking from the sunroom toward the front door.  The wall color looks buttery in the photo but is truer to a peach. Extra toss pillows in that same fabric float among the outdoor furniture situated in the sunroom.
From sunroom:  coordinating Native American textiles on breakfast furniture cushions
My style is, overall, what I like to call traditional with a vintage fusion. I use the term fusion loosely as, for me, it can infer several styles. Fusion may come in the form of French, Asian, or in this case, Native American traditional elements, all of which I like, and even more so when layered with age and history. I prefer to keep my options in decorating open to various styles, and displaying my collections in rotations allows me to move easily in and out of the cultural fusions I like. Dealing in vintage and antique resale also allows me to fluidly move among the styles I like.  When making purchases, I will usually buy items that appeal to me for one reason or another, knowing I can always defer the decision to keep or sell.
Moving into the latter part of the warm weather season, I'm happy with the Indian Summer look in the sunroom and my assemblage of Native American decor. The decor, along with the brick walls, the natural tones of the furniture coverings, and the outdoor shadowplay of the sun seem to give the indoor room a new energy.  The room feels more in its natural element with these latest changes.  I have an upcycled wind chime hanging near the far back wall of the sunroom which sums up the general feeling of the space with its letter-impressed messages: "Become the Sky", "The Wind Whispers Secrets", "Kiss the Earth", and "Dance Lightly with Life".
"The Wind Whispers Secrets" upcycled silverplate chimes in sunroom, by Cindy Kelly of ReLoved Creations
The sunroom is the best place in the house for me to relax and read, and/or listen to music. The ceiling and walls of windows keep things bright year-round, but the blinds between the panes filter and provide just enough privacy. After removing most of the decor that's been in the sunroom, in some cases several years, and starting fresh, the feeling of becoming one with the sky just got a whole lot easier. 
Are you in transition anywhere in your home right now?  Are you making small changes or in the middle of one or more big projects? Are you all one style, or do you prefer to mix things up?
Panoply's 2014 Patriotic to Indian Summer
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