Friday Five With Mili Suleman of KUFRI

India-born, Oman-raised Mili Suleman, founder of KUFRI, relies on a background in graphic design and a love of natural spaces and craftsmanship to create her line of textured handwoven textiles. She also draws upon the principles of shibui and wabi-sabi, as well as rustic landscapes, to create work in which slight irregularities such as slubs and bars are welcome for their handmade qualities.

“To me, a home ought to bring deep comforts, and that begins with natural textures that feel beautiful,” Suleman says. “Using my textiles for upholstery, pillows, bedding, and the kitchen will allow you to indulge in and enjoy the simpler pleasures of a wabi-sabi life.”

In 2019, Suleman opened the KUFRI flagship showroom in Dallas, Texas. Since then custom weaving and ceramics have been added to their list of offerings. This year KUFRI will launch their block print textile collection as well as an expansion of their handwoven line. Today Mili is joining us for Friday Five.

Photo courtesy Yoga Movement

1. Purposeful Movement
At 39, I realized that if I don’t work out for more than 3 days, putting my body through oh-my-God-this-class-is-insane mode, I start to feel lethargic and stiff. Purposeful movement for me is spin cycle, hot yoga, and weight lifting – these movements put the right kind of pressures on my body, making me sweat and release stress and inflammation. It also refreshes my mind and feels like a nice close to a long work day.

Photo by Kufri Studio

2. Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe
This is a must-see for anyone who loves history, heritage, and craft. The Alexander Girard wing boasts over 10,000 folk art objects from his collection and is absolutely mind-blowing. This is one of the best museums I’ve been to that takes the imagination on a crazy roller coaster ride. New Mexico in general, with its rugged landscape, history, heritage, delicious chili, and abundance of design, makes it a mecca for any creative.

Photo by Kufri Studio

3. Sound of the Loom
In our studio, we are always coming up with new woven textile designs. The sound of the loom is like a soundtrack in the background which makes me feel connected to the earth. There is something very grounding about it.

Photo courtesy Global Graphica Bookstore

4. Bookstores
I’m a complete bibliophile. Any time I travel to a new city I seek out the used bookstores and buy whatever piques my interest. Browsing bookstores helps me unwind and take in new ideas. Sometimes if I’m feeling stuck, I’ll find a perfect book that helps me sort out a solution, whether that be something practical or emotional. I always start with the magazine section, then drift into the design section, then art and photography, and end in self-help or business. I’m scared of the day bookstores will vanish completely. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen in my lifetime.

Photo by Catherine Kwong Design

5. Wabi-sabi living
Living with my handwoven textiles and using them on a daily basis as upholstery, pillows, and kitchen linens solidifies my love for a wabi-sabi life. I love feeling the textures, the minor imperfections like slubs and bars, because they remind me it took someone hours to make this by hand. There is a gratification and something humbling about this feeling. The beauty of imperfections extends not just to things, but also my attitude about others… it allows me to accept them for who they are.

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.