Bold geometrics. Rich hues. Textured layers. Patterned prints.
These are just a few of the hot trends that come together to create this fabulous handmade and vintage home décor collection.
Who are you?
My name is Alex Keller. I’m an artist living and creating in Tuscon, Arizona. My passion is beauty through fashion, art and design. My addictions are thrifting and antiquing.
What are you collecting?
Kilims and kilim pillows.
When did you start?
I think my adoration of kilims really started with my mom’s love of textiles. Growing up, I had a tapestry hanging in my bedroom. It was for decoration, but also to keep the room a little warmer; I think my mom just took the idea from days of old and went with it. I was also exposed to a lot of Ukrainian textiles — handwoven fabrics and embroidery. I was also in a dance group, Kashtan, and we wore a lot of traditional costumes for performances. My personal collection started with the kilim my mom bought for me in Tubac. I bought another small one, then found a few large rugs, then pillows…. I think the kilim pillows remind me of embroidered Ukrainian pillows because they both have lots of color and pattern. (And they go really well together!)
Where do you keep them?
On the floor, the walls, chairs, a sofa, the bed… And everything else in a large vintage opera trunk.
What’s a crazy/interesting story behind one?
I found one of the rugs at a thrift store, and it was only marked for $12! But the craziest story is about the opera trunk. A friend and I went to this warehouse sale in October 2004, and while driving there we got stuck in traffic in the middle of a parade. I believe it was the Double Ten Parade, which celebrates Chinese Independence. The trunk would not fit into my car, so we had to borrow a friend’s SUV to pick it up a couple of days later. And then we had trouble getting to the opera warehouse because of the Chicago Marathon! So after two trips to the warehouse, and hours and hours in a car, I finally had my trunk.
What piece would you like to add?
I could always get more pillows, and I’m looking for some new runners for our bedroom.
Why do you love them?
I love that they are handmade, that they have such a wonderful history and that they add color, texture and warmth to the surfaces of my home.
Which one is your favourite & why?
The Tree of Life kilim that my mom bought for me when we first moved to Tucson.
What else do you collect?
Another textile I collect is Ukrainian embroidery. I’m first-generation Ukrainian and learned to cross-stitch from my mom. I have a few scraps that I’ve framed, some pieces I made as a child, a few placemats, blouses, a wool jacket, a sheepskin coat, and a beautiful towel from an aunt. My mom has quite a collection of pillows, towels, tablecloths and blouses, too.
Gorgeous! Thanks so much, Alex.
Both of Alex’s Etsy shops explore her love of reclaiming beautiful trends from other eras. Be sure to visit her jewelry recycled boutique, filled with gorgeous goodies, and her vintage finds store, where she rediscovers great treasures!
What do you collect? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!