By Agnes Kyotalengerire
HIDES have recently found their way into the living room. Artists and designers have turned them into carpets, rugs, wall hangings, footrests and photo frames to enhance the interior dÃ©cor.
Jane Francis Ngobi, an artist with One Minute visit To Africa in Bugolobi, says: â€œAnimal hide art and craft pieces add a touch of class and luxury and portray natural, African beauty.â€
Ngobi explains that to make carpets and rugs, hides of different colours such as white, black and brown are stitched together to make various designs and patterns.
She explains that small hides are used as rugs and are placed in the center of the living rooms while the big ones are spread to cover the room. One can choose to place it directly on the floor or over either a woollen or plastic carpet.
Ngobi advises that you should take measurements of the room before shopping for the carpet. Hide carpets and rags are available at One-minute Visit to Africa in Bugolobi, National Theatre Crafts Village and Exposure Africa on Buganda Road. Prices range from sh100,000 to sh400,000 depending on the size.
She explains that the animal hide carpets and rags are easy to maintain as opposed to the woollen ones. When dirty, they are brushed gently using a soft brush to get rid of dirt and dust. In case of food or drink stains, a damp cloth should be used to wipe away the stain. However, she cautions that the carpet and rugs are easily damaged by water, so they should not be left in the rain or dipped in water. They end up shrinking and folding.
In case of an outdoor occasion, the carpets/rugs can be rolled and taken anywhere because of they are portable.
They are durable. Matirida Bunjjo, 86, from Kigungu, Entebbe, says: â€œI have used this animal hide carpet since my Golden jubilee anniversary year when it was given to me as a gift.â€
Charity Nyirandemeye, a sales lady with TIG Craft Centre at Exposure Africa on Buganda Road, says: â€œHides, especially goat hides, are also used as decoration in form of wall hangings to enhance the beauty of the living room.â€
Nyirandemeye says they are woven on to a wooden frame. Similarly, a portrait may be painted on to the hide.
The hides can also be used to make footrests. The footrests are stuffed with sponge to keep them in shape and bounce back to their original shape after being used.
While buying footrests, Nyirandemeye advises that you should choose those stitched with leather because they are strong and the leather stitches give them a beautiful pattern as opposed to those with zip openings.
Hide footrests can be found at Exposure Africa at sh150,000 for the sponge stuffed footrests while the empty ones cost sh10,000. In case one places an order for a particular size or design of footrests, Nyirandemeye says it takes a week for the footrests to be made.