Experienced decorators and homeowners alike know that stylish European tapestry pillows and cushion covers can quickly elevate the warmth, comfort, and aesthetics of a room. Unique in their designs and high quality, these pillow and cushion covers can be found in both contemporary and traditional homes transforming an otherwise banal room into a room with style, charm, whimsy, or even extravagance.
Although various companies around the world boast that they make and sell inexpensive tapestry pillow covers, experience has shown us you always go to Europe – where it all began-- for highest quality craftsmanship and cushion covers. That means you start your search with French and/or Belgian companies.
Where it All Began
The term “tapestry”, from the Old French tapisserie, meaning "to cover with heavy fabric," refers to the type of decorative textile art usually displayed as a wall hanging. These wall hangings were later “reduced” in size to become pillows and cushion covers. Tapestry-making is typically a collaborative process whereby a design or template, created by the artist, is rendered in wool or fabric (traditionally woven by hand on a loom) by the craftsman with the finished piece ranging from an interpretive rendition to a literal reproduction of the artist's work. The popular appeal of decorative tapestry was originally due, other than its aesthetic value, to its portability and relative ease of ‘relocation’, as compared to transporting a framed painting. Once referred to as nomadic murals, large tapestries could be rolled up and conveniently transported from one residence, or one room, to another.
By the 16th century the business of the buying and selling of tapestries was conducted, in large part, in France and Flanders and various Flemish towns which had become centers of European tapestry making, with other limited production centers including the cities of Antwerp and Bruges. For the next hundred years, Flemish tapestries were arguably the most important productions of that medium. Flemish weavers were recruited throughout Europe and were invited to Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and where, initially, both the weavers and designers in these countries were Flemings.
Tapestry Pillow / Cushion Covers – A Modern Day ‘Nomadic Mural’
When looking for one of the best French companies making tapestries and tapestry cushion cover today, look to Art de Lys. In business for more than 130 years, they have exceptional knowledge and experience stemming from traditions and practices going back to the Middle Ages. With workshops, located in Lys-Lez-Lannoy France, they cover the entire production chain, from design to weaving to the finished product. Their work is unanimously recognized in France as well as internationally. Products range from tapestry wall hangings to cushion covers, table runners and purses; with subjects including historical art such as extracts from The Lady and the Unicorn series, fine art, medieval art, wildlife, to floral patterns including William Morris, and modern, contemporary subjects.
For a more whimsical contemporary tapestry pillow / cushion cover, consider the young Belgian firm, Yapatkwa. They have been creating high-end woven pillow covers with stylish and decorative designs for more than 20 years. Although young, their jacquard woven textiles themes greatly appeal to many due to their whimsical themes and unique style.
Their themes and subjects are known for both their charm and whimsy especially their “dressed animals” series which animal lovers adore. All their pillows are designed and woven in Belgium. Like Art de Lys, their cushions have zippered bases which allows for easy removal and insertion of filler inserts allowing you to choose the level of plushness you desire.
Whatever your choice, when redecorating or changing the look and feel of a room, always consider a well-made European tapestry pillow. You’ll be amazed with the years of pleasure you’ll derive from these little “nomadic murals!”