ISSUE 6  |  French Design

Fabrics & Linens: Kuba Cloth

February 10, 2009 8:32 PM

BY Julie Carlson

Lately we've been noticing kuba cloth used in unexpected places, such as the chic salon in Paris by Pierre Yovanovich (shown below) and the bedrooms in today's House Call: Whitecross Farm. Also known as rafia cloth, kuba cloth is made from the leaf of the rafia tree. The Kuba artisans of the Congo hand cut, dye (using mud, indigo, or substances from the camwood tree), and then weave the strips of leaf to make the fabric. No two pieces are the same.

Above: Kuba Cloth Pillows; $199 each at Pfeiffer Studios.

Above: Wool Felt Mat inspired by Kuba Cloth designs from New Zealand Studio Stansborough Fibers; $249 at Pfeiffer Studios.

Above: An assortment of Kuba Cloth pieces is available at African Imports. The 78-by-20-inch pieces can be hung on your wall or used across your bed; $198 each.

Above: The excellent blog Fibercopia features a source for Kuba pillows: Haba Na Haba, which offers a huge selection of handmade pillow covers made from natural-dyed, hand-woven raffia adored with flat-weave appliques. All sales benefit at-risk youth in Tanzania; prices range from $74.95 to $85.95.