Boho to Bed with Bird’s-Eye Inspiration @bohosusan
Kacper Kowalski photo

I’ve long been fascinated with any kind of art inspired by a bird’s-eye view. I think it captures my imagination so because it does and doesn’t look like what it is. For instance, what do you FIRST see in the above image? An aerial photograph of a Polish forest in autumn? Or an abstract flower on an elaborately tufted rug?

How close do you need to be before one interpretation appears and another recedes? It’s a bit like viewing a Pointillist painting or a pixellated photo, and you want to observe it from different distances, as well as angles to see what comes up.

I bought a plain but classic pick-dot coverlet on sale months ago, planning to use it as a blanket…. @bohosusan
One Kings Lane

When summer rolled around, I wanted a lighter blanket and started thinking maybe I’d do something else with that coverlet—something that allowed me to have a change of look for my bed. Something that would mix and match with my existing quilt and shams… @bohosusan
Greenland Home

…either spread across the foot of the bed, or the reverse—with the pick-dot as spread and my printed quilt at the foot. But it needed embellishment to satisfy my boho love of not only color, but also pattern and texture.

Here are close-ups of the two, side-by-side… @bohosusan
One Kings Lane / Greenland Home

What if I found some yarns and threads in the colors of the patterned quilt and embroidered designs in the pick-dot?  I’ve seen a lot of lush and gorgeous boho throws that do that very thing, and they’ve stuck in my memory, I finally realized, because they remind me of bird’s-eye view photos. It made me wonder if, indeed, that’s where a lot of rug and textile designers get their ideas.

See what YOU think…

I’ve paired some of my favorite aerial photos with some of my favorite embellished textiles: @bohosusan
Source unknown / Anthropologie

Can’t you see the lines and colors of these terraced rice fields in China suggested in the charcoal Heradia Throw (above right) and the pink Open Market Throw (below left)? @bohosusan
Open Market Throw in pink, Anthropologie / National Geographic

But it’s not just rice paddies this works for… @bohosusan
Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo / Anthropologie

I see the dyers’ vats of Fez, Morocco, in the Collaged Majida Throw; @bohosusan
Anthropologie / Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo

the rug market of Marrakesh, Morocco, in the patterns and colors of the cream and rust Heradia Throw;

Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo / Anthropologie

the warmth and texture of dates drying in a palm grove south of Cairo, Egypt, in the plotting of the slate Kessabine Duvet; @bohosusan
Anthropologie / Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo

and the small boats gathered like flowers on the Buriganga River, Bangladesh, in the tufts of the charcoal Open Market Throw. @bohosusan
Neeru Kumar

I even see those boats in these colorful embroidered flowers, edged against each other much how they’d be in a bouquet or growing wild in a field, @bohosusan
Pine Cone Hill / Yann Arthus-Bertrand photo

and these bright textiles by Annie Selke in the swimmers and sun umbrellas of Ipanema Beach, Brazil.

These videos also inspired me…

I love kantha quilts and would like the edging of my coverlet to be largely the kantha stitch, in geometric patterns.

The corners and perhaps parts of the top would look pretty with some ribbon embroidery flowers. I have sari silk ribbon in two colorways—yellow and green—which could be used for this, as well as in tassels and/or pompons.

How to bring this home to my plain coverlet?

Well, I started by putting it all on a mood board. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

First I laid out all my materials for the board, @bohosusan
BoHo Home photo

as well as the supplies I’d been collecting: mirrored, beaded and embroidered felt balls, sari thread, sari ribbon, and marled yarn. @bohosusan
BoHo Home photos


Then I pinned the photos and samples of the embellishments to the board by my desk and let it percolate for a while before compiling this post.

I tried starting my coverlet, but…

I soon discovered ALL my pretty materials were too thick to pull through its tight weave, which is a testament to its quality, as well as to my lack of expertise (been a while since I embroidered). So I’m back to square one.

Here are some options I may try next:

  • Purchase embroidery floss in the desired colorways and see how that does.
  • Experiment with buttonhole thread and see how that does.
  • If the coverlet is too tightly woven (which I’m guessing it will be), my next option is to purchase material made for embroidery and make a colorful bedscarf  to go over the pick-dot coverlet. I could also embroider pillowslips or mix and match pillow coverings in boho prints.
  • Or (and I’m guessing this is what will win out), give up and simply BUY one of those gorgeous, embellished throws. I can still have my fun mixing and matching pillow covers, perhaps even sewing some on my own (have done this plenty of times) and making tassels and pompons.
If I give up (in?) and $pend, I’ve already decided the ribbons, yarn and thread I purchased can be put to use decorating packages next Christmas, so I’m not out any money.

Stay tuned to see how the saga of the boho bird’s-eye bedding turns out. It might be a while before it’s complete (over?), but I’ll try to update you on how it’s progressing, if, indeed, it progresses at all.

Regardless, we shared some sumptuous throws & stunning aerial photographs, right?

If you want more…



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