Dominoterie: The History, Design, and Rebirth of a Traditional Craft

Dominoterie: The History, Design, and Rebirth of a Traditional Craft

A Tale Of Commingling Influences

Domino paper, also known as “Papier Dominoté” or ‘Dominoterie’ in French, was a popular hand-printed style of wallpaper during 18th century France. The patterns of this wallpaper are thought to have been named “domino” because they looked similar to the dots on dominoes.

Notes: Snippets Of Ornamental Papers From 17th Century France ( Images Via Rodama, Sharon Santoni, Antoinette Poission)

The art of Dominoterie is rooted in the 16th Century Chinese tradition of making beautiful block printed papers. It was during the 17th century that Dutch traders brought the method to Europe, leading to the creation of the first French Domino Paper. The local French aristocracy and affluent merchants were Dominoterie’s main early adopters and the wall papers were later sold to other countries in Europe and America and were also said to have been very well-liked in England and Germany.

An Obscure Craft

Domino paper was frequently printed with recurring designs that included tiny motifs composed of flowers, birds, and geometric forms. Rouleau or “roller printing,” which included transferring ink to a cylindrical roller and pressing it into the paper, was used to create the Dominoterie. The method later evolved to hand-carving wooden blocks with the patterns and using those for printing outline designs onto the paper. Watercolor paints were then used to fill in the shapes and motifs, giving the designs their depth and beauty.

Notes: From Paper to product highlighting the Dominoterie hand painting technique ( Image Series Via Antoinette Poission) 

However, towards the end of the 18th century other decorating methods like hand-painted murals started to gain popularity, overtaking the appeal of Dominoterie, which was once considered a novelty just a few decades prior. Eventually, the manufacturing of Domino paper also came to an end, leading to the craft being virtually forgotten altogether.

Revival & Resurgence

Today, a resurgence of interest can be observed towards the art of Dominoterie, especially owing to the Paris-based studio A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson which is championing the revival of this craft by using historical allusions and methods. They are recognised as one of the most prominent studios developing fresh Dominoterie designs utilizing conventional block-printing methods which are later applied to a variety of goods ranging from stationery to home decor.

Note: An exhibit of Dominoterie beyond wallpapers, featuring a range of cushions, bed sheet and pillows ( Images Via Pinterest) 

Dominoterie Home Decor Beyond Wallpapers

What makes Dominoterie the perfect home turning is its ability to blend into small spaces or to be used as an accent in a bigger room due to its small motifs and repeating patterns. In light of this, the Dominoterie collection by VLiving also takes design cues from the traditional composition of this craft. A line of home décor products including placemats, table runners, kitchen towels, tote bags, quilts, and cushion covers have been crafted in a variety of subdued yet rich hues like maroon/plum, green, and indigo blue. The pillow covers embroidered with roses especially evoke a reminiscence towards the French Florals whereas placemats feature scalloped borders for a soft and rounded finish. This collection is an ideal illustration of how conventional crafts and methods can be modernized to suit contemporary aesthetics and domino paper continues to influence designers today.

Note: Dominoterie Collection From VLiving 

With its delicate patterns and soft hues, Domino paper is still highly valued today for its fine workmanship and classic beauty. It is a stunning addition to any house and a celebration of the enduring allure of traditional crafts, whether it is used on walls, furniture, or other decorative items. The revival of domino paper is a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional crafts and techniques and homes continue to incorporate the beauty and uniqueness of handmade objects by preserving and reviving these crafts methods.

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