Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tifaifai Quilts

When we were in California last week for IQF/Long Beach show, we stayed with Margaret's brother Bill and his wife Susie. They have the most beautiful home in Huntington Beach near the ocean. Susie is such a gracious host and talented decorator that we felt very spoiled by their hospitality.
Many years ago, Bill served an LDS mission to Tahiti. While he was there, he was so beloved that several of the families showered him with gifts, including "Tifaifai" or Tahitian bed quilts.
Susie and Ricci
We each had Tifaifai on our beds. Susie also brought out more that she keeps in her linen closet.
Tifaifai are handmade, and usually crafted from the traditional designs of the island.

Most are made by the matriarchs of "mammas".

They love to use brightly colored fabrics with themes that might include Tahitian Floral motifs such as "Uru" (breadfruit), palm leaves, and ocean life.

Tifaifai is often made with large bold overall designs, and has been around for over 200 years.
Early Christian missionaries taught the Tahitian women the art of quilting.

The style is different than Hawaiian quilting because they do not pad with batting. They have an appliqued pieced front, backed with a complementary colored cloth.
They are lightweight, easy to wash and considered more practical.
The bedsheets are perfect for Tahiti's warm weather.

You can see the stitching on the back shows the beautiful hand applique work.

I tried to get an up close shot of the perfect stitches, and although this isn't the best photograph, you can get the general idea of how well these quilts are made.
Thank you again Susie for welcoming us into your home, and for the delight of being able to sleep under an authentic Tifaifai.

10 comments:

Stephanie said...

Beautiful and very much like Hawaiian Applique quilts!

Joanna said...

OK I actually know something about these! If I had stayed married to my ex hubby I would have had literally dozens of these things! He was of Cook Island and Tahitian descent and his Mother had these stacked up in her house. Cook Islanders call them Tivaevae - similar name, and made the same way - no batting. My ex MIL loved to show them to me since she knew I was into quilting. She wouldn't show them to other Island ladies though as apparantly the patterns they design are top secret and stolen ;) She did bury her husband in one when he died, so they are very special.

It was a tough choice - stay in a horrible marriage and get the quilts or leave and no quilts LOL! You see what I chose!

dotti white said...

Nedra...these are lovely Tahitian quilts. They would be perfect on a hot summer night like we are having now. Susie sounds like a wonderful lady! I am glad you shared these with us!

Janet said...

How nice to see these, I can imagine on hot nights, they'd be perfect to sleep under.

Material Mary said...

I love the island quilts. They are most beautiful and I would love to master one one day. Maybe I'll become an island girl long enough to make one...
Mary

belinda said...

These are wonderful 'quilts'!! I'm really impressed with the workmanship!!

potsandpins said...

I love these quilts - have never heard of them and I thought they would also make wonderful tablecloths because they don't have batting...I always leave your blog feeling very inspired! xo, Nan

Patty said...

Beautiful quilts and a nice lesson. I learned something today! Thank You!

Miri said...

Beautiful! Thanks for showing these...they would be perfect for any hot climate!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Unbelievable. I have always admired the traditional Hawaiian quilts. It is really fun to see what each culture does with hand work.