Our one-of-a-kind Kuba pillows use the bold geometries and rich textures of vintage hand-woven raffia cloth from the Kuba people of the Congo. Several kinds of raffia cloth are employed in these unique pillows. Flat-weave cloth is woven of fibers from the raffia-palm leaves. Left in its natural color or dyed with organic red, brown and ochre dyes, it is sewn into applique and reverse-applique, traditionally used in long wrap-around dancing skirts. The flat-weave fabric may also be tie-dyed, embroidered or decorated with cowry shells. But certainly the most lavish technique is the "Shoowa velvet", small panels of flat-weave fabric which are over-woven with a raffia fiber pile cut in a manner similar to an oriental pile rug. Geometric patterns are formed by outlining areas of pile of different colors with flat-weave emroidery. The finest Shoowa velvet panels are prized by textile collectors the world over.
Pillows are backed with linen fabric in natural tones which complement the Kuba textiles. Every pillow is unique, and the exact dimensions will vary, as do the original textiles used, but whenever possible we try to make pairs of pillows of similar size, pattern and color.
Two of our Kuba pillows were featured in Sharne Algotsson's book, African Style: Down to the Details (page 18, 73, 157, 161).