In Situ

in situ (in si’-too)   Latin.  In its place

One of our early collecting inspirations was a book titled Living With Decorative Textiles by Nicolas Barnard and with photos by James Merrell. In a wonderfully voyeuristic way one could use this book to see into the homes of collectors around the world.

With this in mind, in this section we will be showing examples of ethnographic art being enjoyed in the homes of clients and friends, as well as our own. We feature creative display ideas, ways of organizing and presenting a collection, as well as novel uses of textiles and objects. We hope it will provide inspiration and a sense of the pleasure derived from living with unique, handmade objects from the world’s varied cultures.


Tucked away in an idyllic forest setting is a wonderful old teak house that is home to a respected Chiang Mai designer, scholar and collector. The lush setting is perfect for a rich collection of antiques, art and textiles. Above, a traditional teak settee nicely accommodates a collection of cushions covered with handwoven, naturally-dyed fabrics. An idiosyncratic antique Lao blanket on the wall helps define the space.

Richly colored kilim cushions from Turkey complement some lovely pieces of antique furniture from Thailand and India.

Above –  Under the window is an antique, finely carved, wood stand for a thread winder from Cambodia. On an adjacent, red lacquered Thai dowry chest an old ceramic pot is flanked by an antique ‘pillow’ from Japan and an Asmat stool from New Guinea. A vintage Lao weaving in indigo overlooks the collection.

Mesmerizing spiral designs on an indigo, tie-dyed cotton panel from the Yoruba in Nigeria covers a wall topped with a grouping of antique betel boxes from Isaan, Thailand.



A cozy NW Pacific coast bungalow is the perfect home to the collections of this former expat couple. Lacquered offering vessels from Burma form an elegant, mirrored grouping of shapes on a mantle (above). The richness of the cinnabar and black lacquerware is carried through in other materials and collections: the eclectic assortment of pillows on the sofa (from Palestine, Laos, Indonesia); an attractive grouping of small containers on an old chest; hats displayed on the top of a cinnabar-colored cupboard; and a large collection of containers from India on a textile-covered trunk.




Indonesian ‘wayang golek’ puppets are perfect in a small wall niche, with fine, small silk weavings as accents. A step chest accents the entry and shows off a Thai spirit house followed by containers for holding betel from Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Burma. The display is balanced by a silk weaving from the workshop of Carol Cassidy in Laos



A beautifully updated hacienda in Santa Fe is home to a couple of intrepid travelers who appreciate the world’s cultures via artifacts and foods. She is a professional chef and culinary teacher; he is retired but volunteers his skills locally and documents their travels photographically. Their home is a stylish reflection of their passion for food, travel and art.

Entry table (above) –  A southwestern cabinet by David Marsh is the perfect height and color to show off an antique Mexican ‘retablo’, an ornate cross, and a beautiful old stone relief from the Chicago Stockyards.

Entry Hall –  Framed by large wood timbers called ‘vigas’, this space is accented by a hanging arrangement of a diverse array of textiles displayed on an iron rod system. A Peruvian shawl picks up the colors of the rug, as do a Turkoman child’s ‘elek’ tunic, a hilltribe jacket from SE Asia, Afghani tassels, and a leather Tuareg bag.

The cozy seating area shown above hosts an eclectic collection of cultural treasures mixed with contemporary watercolors. Shown on the wall are children’s hats from Turkey, a loom part from Thailand, two penis gourds from Papua New Guinea, a Bedouin camel milk bowl from Saudi Arabia, and a large weaving from Sumba in Indonesia. Various pottery cooking vessels fill a high shelf and await use in the adjacent kitchen.

A contemporary abstract painting is adorned with a fragment of a Lao mosquito net border and a woven Chinese belt; it is flanked by a contemporary ceramic vase on the left and a lacquered box from Burma on the right.


A Bedouin headcovering makes a striking display on the chimney of the ‘kiva’ fireplace.





Above are from the home of a fiber artist/world-traveling couple living in Chiang Mai. Spare and contemporary building materials provide the perfect background for their collection of ethnic minority textiles, baskets, hats and artifacts from southwest China and southeast Asia.

Top- Framed embroideries complement a display of vessels including contemporary pottery and antique baskets.

Above left – a Miao jacket accents a sitting area.

Above right – Assorted artifacts including hats, a figure and a collection of boxes are arranged under a Chinese jacket; a Dong basket draws the eye to the space underneath the table.





This attractive apartment belongs to a Chicago couple. Their eclectic collection comes together nicely with white walls, warm wood floors and well-chosen pieces of furniture. The rich colors and textures of the collection have a handsome unity, belying the varied origins of the individual pieces.

Top left – A hallway gallery with a Chinese bench, 20th century framed artworks, an Indonesian batik ‘kemben’, a Chinese Shui babycarrier and an Indian (Jaipur) runner leads to the focal point of an Uzbeki ikat coat in the next room.

Top right -A Javanese batik on the wall includes similar (probably natural) colors to the Persian Shiraz rug, and the two Chinese “official’s chairs” flanking a painted trunk balance the arrangement nicely. A Yuan dynasty ‘blue and white’ vessel and a mounted scholar’s rock provide accents atop the trunk. On the bench at left are a trio of bronze yoni-form temple vessels from India.

Above – A low white bookcase provides the perfect display for a diverse collection of objects, including a ‘kendi’, an Indian kohl container, various pieces of Asian and pre-Columbian pottery, a bronze mirror and a piece of Mfunte tribal currency from Nigeria. The black-framed drawings provide a crisp accent and pleasant contrast to the objects.

Above – This collector combines antique Chinese furniture with modern lamps and a collection of puppets from Indonesia and Burma in a nicely proportioned arrangement.

Below – a seating area is richly defined by framed Buddhist manuscripts called ‘kammavaca’. A gold-embroidered tubeskirt from south Sumatra enhances a table display of a ‘samurai’ figure. Various silk weavings on pillows and the table add to the luxurious feel.



Our home in Chiang Mai features rotating displays of our collection. We enjoy the memories associated with each piece, many of which were acquired in their place of origin. We use the collection to create vignettes and sometimes group by type, sometimes by place or tribal group, or sometimes just for visual impact.

Top left – the front entry uses a tall screen of ‘mishrabiah’, painted black and hung with a Lao mosquito net border, as the backdrop for some Javanese ‘wayang golek’ puppets, a Balinese ‘Baris’ dancer’s hat, ‘mamuli’ from Sumba, and a Chinese Shui babycarrier.

Top right – Burmese marionettes sit on the guest bed with an African ‘kente’ cloth hung from a Cambodian loom beater; pillows covered in vintage Thai silk ikat from Isaan form a bolster.

Right – A group of Central Asian pieces are displayed on custom stands: (from left) a child’s tunic, a camel ceremonial headdress, and a silk robe adorned with coins and vestigial sleeves; men’s hats on stands are arranged on the floor, along with a rug from Herat, Afghanistan.

Below right – A collection of tribal knives, swords, and tools is displayed on a wall using hanging rods with hooks, all hung from a textile hanger of carved wood. The collection includes: ‘keris’ from Sumatra, Bali and Java; a long knife from Sumba; a ‘mandau’ from Borneo; spears from Sumatra; a Lao crossbow; Ghurka knife; Burmese knife; Rawang sword; fish spear and rice cutter.