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Tropical Moonlight May 12 2014, 0 Comments

We are always inspired by palms.  Last year our Palm print was a take on the palm leaf.  This year, since we went to the tropics, we had to add the coconut palm as part of our prints.  The Moon Palm print is an ode to long balmy nights under a tropical moonlight listening to Latin beats sipping on a fruity drink.  As a symbol of a tropical island paradise, we had to use the coconut palm in our latest “Take me to the Tropics” collection

Hussah

(Images courtesy of ecru and Pintrest)


Block Print Influence December 09 2013, 0 Comments

The artist Anwar Behbehani recently talked to Khaleejesque Magazine about the inspiration she received from ecru’s creative director Nur Kaoukji during Nuqat’s 2012 block printing workshop. 

Nur gave a speech during Nuqat’s 2012 conference and a small workshop on block printing, which led Anwar to create a print that she used in products produced by Sadu House and sold at this year’s Nuqat’s Culture Shock Confrence.  It is a delight to see a young artist use an ancient technique in her work, and we love working with artisans in creating block printed products.  The full article on Anwar’s experience in Nur’s Nuqat workshop can be found here.  

Hussah

(Images courtesy of ecru and Khaleejesque)


Royal Blue August 05 2013, 0 Comments

There is nothing like a rich color to make a space look chic.  Royal blue is one of those colors.  It’s that deep shade of blue that engulfs you like the waves in Hokusai’s prints. 

 

The name of the color is rumored to have been invented by a miller in Somerset, England who won a dress making competition for the British Queen in the early 1800s.  We love to use royal blue here at ecru, and we cannot wait to introduce you to different prints in this color for the upcoming fall and winter season.  

Crab Floor Cushion sold at 40KD and Sophia 203 for ecru Small Lovebird Pouch sold at 30KD.

 

Hussah 

 

(Images courtesty of Hokusai, Vogue Portugal, and ecru) 

 

 

 


"The Octopus's Secret Wish" July 17 2013, 0 Comments

There is something quite magical about an octopus, almost otherworldly.  With its fantastic tentacles moving swiftly in the deepest ends of the ocean.  This mysterious creature is fascinating to us, and at ecru most of the inspiration came from the prints of octopuses in vintage storybooks and encyclopedias.  It is the mystical essence of the octopus that we wanted to recreate in our fabric.   

Octopus Table Cloth 170x250cm sold at 42 KD and 170x350cm sold at 52KD, and Anantaya for ecru Suri Platters sold at 32KD.

Hussah 

(Images courtesy of Img Fave, Pintrest, Vintage Printable, and ecru) 


Weaving for a Cause July 15 2013, 0 Comments

Collaborating with different manufactures encourages traditional handicraft techniques and the unique artisans behind them.  ecru’s kitchen and beach towels are produced by Kara Weaves a wonderful creative venture, from Kerala, with a social cause.  

 

Kara Weaves was born out of the need to give Kerala's handloom industry a much needed push.  The small team behind Kara works closely with various cooperative communities of handloom weavers to create customized products.

 

“Thorthu” is the finely woven cotton material used for the towels, which was traditionally used as Ayurvedic body-wipe fabric.   Handloom is used because pure cotton yarn is only suitable for slow speed spinning and weaving process.  This technique preserves the luster, color-holding, capacity, absorbency, softness, and durability of the cotton products.  

 

We have already introduced you to their bright towels this past spring, so stay tuned for our new range of colors and designs in our latest collaboration with Kara Weaves.  

Hussah

(Images courtesy of Hind Al Tamimi and ecru) 


Sweet and Tart June 03 2013, 0 Comments

 

What’s not to love about pineapples?  They have an interesting shape, they remind us of the tropics, and most importantly they are so sweet and tart.  Since pineapples are still in season, why not try a healthy and yummy Pineapple - Red Quinoa Parfait for breakfast.  It will add a sweet tropical twist to your day.  

 

Makes 1 Serving

Ingredients

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 ounces plain fat-free Greek or soy yogurt, preferably organic

1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into chunks

1/2 cup cooked red quinoa, chilled

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Directions

Fold cinnamon into yogurt. 

In a dish, alternately layer pineapple, quinoa, and yogurt; garnish with almonds and serve.

 

Hussah

Pineapple Cocktail Napkins sold as a set of four. 

(Recipe and parfait image courtesy of Whole Living)


Palm Trees, Ocean Breeze May 06 2013, 0 Comments

Growing up in the Middle East, especially in Kuwait, you cannot but help feeling a certain connection to palm trees.  They evoke a sense of hospitality, rest, and abundance.  

When summer comes along you eagerly await the date season when you can eat them ripe off of the tree.  It’s not only the date palm that has a special place in our heart, but also the coconut palm that awakens our desire to escape to a secluded beach.  

ecru created the palm print to bring you a welcoming sense of serenity.  So why not enjoy some fresh dates and coconut water this summer while relaxing on our palm cushions.  

 

Hussah 

(Images courtesy of Pintrest, Ruby Lane, & ecru)


The Big Reveal April 30 2013, 0 Comments

We finally got the chance to introduce you to our world, last week, at the launch of the ecru’s Pop-Up shop at Dar Al-Funoon.  It wouldn’t have been a success without all of your amazing support. Our aim is to make sure you are constantly enjoying the simple luxuries of your home.  

We hope you love it, just as much as we love creating it.

xx,

Noor & Nur

(Video courtesy of Saud Al-Khateib for ecru)


ecru's Pop Up Launch April 16 2013, 0 Comments

 

 

Please join us at the launch of ecru. We hope you love it, just as much as we love creating it. 

ecru 


A Little More Juice April 15 2013, 1 Comment

If our behind the scenes photos from last week didn't quench your thirst, here's a little teaser video of 'When Life Gives You Lemons'.  Stay tuned for the full noon collection at the ecru Pop-Up Shop launching next week. 

ecru 


Holi Post Better Late Than Never April 03 2013, 0 Comments

I can safely say, for those who manufacture in India, Holi is that time of year when you constantly cringe, knowing all your deadlines are due, and that absolutely nothing will get done. 

Because the first thing that happens when Holi approaches is that although everyone can speak of nothing else, the actual date that Holi falls on can not be pin pointed. 

'Some time around the 20th till the 29th, it's definitely one of those days'.  

The pre warning begins around two weeks in advance, 'Don't forget, it's HOLI, every one is returning to their village, all work will stop!' Whether they are going 1 week before or staying a week later also depends on when the date falls.

Frustration builds and you find yourself detesting absolutely everyone. 

From the happy tourists who arrive wearing the predictable white kurta pyjama, flip flops and huge Canon cameras complete with the wide angle lens, which you know isn't going to make it through the colorful, chaotic and highly wet festival of Holi. 

To your friends who smugly inform you of their elaborate Holi holiday plans that they've pre organized as not to endure the stress of watching their production being abandoned.

I'm never that organized. 

This year, although Holi was bumpy, manufacturing wise, I must say I was quite excited. 

A friend explained the mythological history of Holi, and like most holidays that fall around this time of year, it has to do with harvesting and the reformation of crops. 

It has developed into the festival of color, where everyone is basically intoxicated from the morning's start. The protocol is to dress in white, leave the house armed with water guns or buckets, and pigments which you have purchased the night before. 

Grandmothers, children, milk vendors, everyone comes out and goes completely wild. By the time you reach where ever it is that you are going to play Holi, you have probably been completely sprayed by a rainbow of colors on the street and are soaking wet.

It's a completely surreal feeling, and what is even better is that you can physically feel all tension and stress left behind as everyone runs frantically, spraying each other with water so the fluorescent pigments stick. Strangers roar at each other and join forces to gang up on others. I have no other way to describe it but surreal. 

By the end of the day, nothing makes sense. Everyone is an intoxicated blur of color and is completely worn out, but extremely happy and relaxed.

Generally life resumes to normal the day after Holi, at least with those who have returned from their villages. And it's an amazing feeling to try to keep a straight face and actually talk work while everyone, including yourself, has remnants of faint Holi stains that refuse to scrub off or green hair that will need a few more washes to resume it's natural color. 

Life is some how put into perspective, seriousness and stress are replaced by absurdity and foolishness. And it feels so good.  

Nur

(Images courtesy of ecru & Juliette Dumerchat)


Endless Blue March 13 2013, 0 Comments

There’s  nothing like a bright blue sky once the sun shines and clears out a dark storm.  That perfect smell of clean air all around you feels like a never ending dream.  Sitting on the grass looking up at the majesty of the sky,  or lying on the sand while taking in the different shades of blue the sky creates as it touches the sea. 

And Since ecru’s leading collection is ‘By The Sea’, it’s only natural for us to be inspired to use different shades of blue in our prints and products.  Ultimately creating a sense of calmness and coolness in your home during the long hot summer.  

 

Hussah

(Images courtesy of Milton H. Greene, ecru, Design Sponge, and Vivere)   


Artichoke, Baby March 11 2013, 0 Comments

When spring blooms, it means fresh possibilities are around every corner.  Other than the excitement of warmer weather that is affiliated with the season, there is the endless range of delicious produce.  

A favorite spring vegetable of ours is the artichoke, and what’s not to love about an artichoke.  It’s hard exterior when peeled leaf by leaf exposes a soft and scrumptious heart.  One of our signature prints at ecru is baby artichokes. So while you wait for our launch, why don’t you eat up some to satisfy your craving. 

Hussah

(Images courtesy of Basquiat, Laurie Frankel, Slate, Snippet & Ink, and ecru) 


Dhurrie Weaving March 04 2013, 1 Comment

I hadn't been in India a very long time before I was sent on a dhurrie mission. My charismatic boss Munnu Kasliwal, who was a firm believer in perfecting tradition, sent me to create a series of dhurries for the floors of his new store. 

For those of you unfamiliar with it's traditional name, a dhurrie is a hand woven carpet, traditional to India and can be made of cotton, wool, jute or silk. It is however; more commonly made in cotton and is known to cool your house in the summer, and warm it in the winter. 

I had no idea what to expect as I was on my way to the factory. I drove miles outside of Jaipur, listening to my iPod for about an hour, happy to be out of the office and into the country.  The driver off roaded for a while before we arrived at what looked like a farm dotted in what appeared to be multicolored bridges. 

It was an incredible site. 

I was in front of a field of pit looms where weavers sit in seats made into the earth, with their feet dangling in pits under oversized looms, using both their hands and feet to weave. 

I felt that I had entered into a world that time had forgotten. There wasn't a machine in sight. The weavers somehow appeared to be part of the Earth. I'm not one to use phrases such as 'organic', but in  a way, it seemed as though the two complemented each other. 

One of the weavers told me that this specific village was known to have the best dhurries in Rajhastan, but he was from this village and was bound to think so. I was mesmerized and spent the entire day watching how they separated the yarn, how they mounted the looms, how they sat and wove using both their hands and feet while singing away to Bollywood hits from the 50s. 

 

 

Thought I'd share.

NK


A Collaboration Made In Heaven February 18 2013, 0 Comments

Collaborations are exciting! Especially when you are combining forces with someone so colorful and bright.  

ecru has joined forces with the talented Sophia Edstrand of the whimsical Sophia 203 to create an array of products that will add a little bit of fantasy into your life.  Sophia 203's line of accessories involves an exquisite embroidery technique that was traditionally used to adorn miniature Hindu God figurines.  Today Sophia uses this intricate handicraft to create contemporary accessories.

It is quite thrilling to embroider ecru's unique prints in such a beautiful way, and we can't wait to share this collaboration with you.  

Hussah

(Images courtesy of Sophia 203 and ecru)


Magic February 13 2013, 0 Comments

The day always begins bright in Jaipur.

Living with two fabulous girls, the three of us in design, means that without fail, the door bell frantically rings at 8.00am.  

There are two painters who are back for the 100th time to repaint your house.  

The tailor, who is soon becoming a fellow housemate arrives, tangled in swatches of fabrics for your approval.  

A random 90 year old gardener discreetly floats by you in his white 'lungie' to save your attempt at a jungle terrace.  

All the while coffee is overflowing in the kitchen, fresh fruits are being chopped and plans for the day are bouncing off of each person that passes by.  

Your breakfast meeting then simmers and your working day begins.  

You skip pass wild bougainvillea outside the house, waving at your smiling neighbors, inhaling the absolute exotic bliss that is your life. 

Right before you crash.  Hard. Into reality.  

There's been some major confusion.  The design which you handed to the block printer more than a month ago seems to have been used as a coaster for a paint bucket, as a result is no where near being made.  The fabric you imagined your entire line of bed linens to be made in hasn't arrived from Calcutta, and will probably never arrive.  Your order sheets have been misplaced - which technically means you don't exist.

Ah yes, the familiar roller coaster of emotions begin. 

But that is what we love about Jaipur.  One can be sure that a day does not pass uneventful.  No emotions are spared.  All senses are undoubtedly exasperated.  Your breath is constantly cut short by a lingering date that floats in your mind - you know you're never going to make it - 1000 meters of fabric can not be printed in thirty days - there really is no point, you may as well quit while you're ahead. Quit now. 

And then you enter the workshop. The artisans are jolly, they laugh at your impossible orders, they tease you with the potentiality of failure, they reassure you that it will all work out in the end.  And you know it will. Then, with the precision of surgeons they begin.  Chisiling at their blocks, creating colors from dust, stretching fabric so it's tightly crisp and printing in perfect rhythm.  Everything makes sense. 

CHAI BREAK

The artisans are magic. 

N


Jacques Henri Lartigue Makes Us Want to Be By The Sea January 30 2013, 0 Comments

 

There are several muses whom we look to for inspiration when developing prints. One of my all time favorites has to be Jacques Henri Lartigue.  A fabulous French photographer/painter, who captured an almost ethereal fantasy world of the 1930s.  

His images portray a fresh elegance that is so attractive and mysterious, that we find ourselves desperately trying to recreate.

A beautiful part of his collection of photographs were taken by the French Riviera, which make for  perfect inspiration for our 'By The Sea' collection.  

Needless to say, Jaques Henri Lartigue is one of our favorites...

Nur

(Images courtesy of Jaques Henri Lartigue)


Our Printing Process January 15 2013, 0 Comments

The thing that gets me the most excited when I first look at a textile, isn't the way it feels, isn't the brightness of its color or the sheen of its weave.  It's the process behind it. Technique has always been an obsession of mine, and the technique of block printing is a fabulous one.

Every aspect of block printing is beautiful.  From the wood block itself, which is meticulously chiseled, by an artisan who has been trained for years to prefect his craft. To the swatches of jute used to hold the pigments on which the blocks are stamped.  

And what I love about block printing is it's lack of pretentiousness.  It does not scream of the amount of work that is put into it's production.





Here's a little bit about  the technique:

Blocks are made in a series, each block represents one color, the more colors in a print, the more blocks are made.

Once blocks are chiseled, and the pigments for a print are made and ready, a different set of artisans (the stampers) take control of the process. The stampers use the chiseled blogs to gently tap onto swatches of jute fabric which hold their respective colors. The drenched block is then tapped on the chosen, stretched fabric, until it dries.

The pressure of the tap while printing has to be of such a perfect mix of firm lightness, that it is enough evidence to differentiate an experienced stamper from another.  

In a block printing workshop there can be up to two dozen stampers, each can produce a different looking fabric, even if using the same print and color, solely based on their tap. 





The outcome of a block printed fabric depends on every person involved in it's making - from the designer to the block printer to the stamper. The look of a fabric can change based on any of these person's styles or moods.  It is a highly sensitive process.  

The perfect block printing quality is when one cannot tell where the print begins, and where it ends. 

It is a beautiful technique of printing, we hope you love it as much as we do, as there are a lot of exciting prints coming your way.

Love from Jaipur,

Nur 


*(images courtesy of Alfred Tarazi)

Every aspect of block printing is beautiful.  From the wood block itself, which is meticulously chiseled, by an artisan with nimble fingers, who has been trained for years to prefect his craft. To the swatches of jute used to hold the pigments on which the blocks are stamped.  

And what I love about block printing is it's lack of pretentiousness.  It does not scream of the amount of work that is put into it's production.


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