Proud Mary Pillows

I just saw the new batch of pillows from Proud Mary and they are pretty cool. They are handmade in a cooperative located central Mali (which is in West Africa if you're geographically challenged). The cooperative works with young locals and teaches them traditional Malian mud cloth dyeing and printing techniques.

By combining these indigenous African textiles with zippy details like brightly-colored cording, the peeps at Proud Mary have created pillow styles that are bold and exotic but are still neutral in a sense. That balance means that they can be used in lots of settings...even pretty traditional ones (see below). Termed "ethnic-modern" by Proud Mary, this blend of cultural aesthetics makes for some fabulous, unique goods. Here is a sampling of their current pillow offering:

Like I said before, you don't have to have a bohemian, casual aesthetic to work these pillows into the mix. Actually, it's almost better if your current setup is a bit boring - pillows that are a wee bit brazen can quickly improve things! To prove my point, here's a little mockup that shows two of the Proud Mary pillows in a rather transitional lineup...
Cameo Mirrors - Jayson Home
Racine 20" sq. Pillow - Proud Mary Textiles
Ivory Linen Pillows with Greek Key Border - Etsy Seller Donna Kibler
Clive Sofa - Room & Board
Dreams Rug - Arzu
Zig Zag Gris 14x24" Pillow - Proud Mary Textiles
Mod Cylinder Table Lamp - Shades of Light
Gold Leaf Square Table - Shop Ten 25

Well, what do you think of the pillows? What about how they look in my little fictional living room?

I'm really loving the pillows because they fuse modern, sophisticated styling with natural, artisanal materials. It think that combination fits well into most people's worlds these days - from a stylistic and functionality perspective. I know that the majority of my clients want their homes to look pulled-together, yet still be comfortable and useable. Proud Mary's wares look cool and current but don't seem too precious to touch...which is key for a pillow, don't you think?

I also like that Proud Mary works with artisans around the world. Not only does it bring fresh design to the table, it also helps the men and women who create the textiles support themselves and their families. The ethos seems a bit similar to Arzu Studio Hope, the organization that distributes the AMAZING Dreams Rug shown above. By partnering with Afghan women, Arzu empowers those women to economically uplift their families and communities by helping them sell their handmade rugs. I won't get on my soapbox on the topic, but the main point is that it's always better to buy a high-quality, artisanal product instead of a piece of junk from a factory in China!