Tips from Tipis

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Interior Design can learn a lot from the Native American Tipi – Dakota from ti, “to dwell” and pi, “to use.” (talk about all-natural, locally-sourced materials.) The Ute (Aspen’s native peoples) use the word tipi, as do the Lakota, but the older word is tipestola, “she or he lives in a sharp pointed lodge.” Blackfoot people call it niitoyis; the Kiowa, do-heen

As the legend goes, after First Man and First Woman were created, the Creator designated a Helper to look after them. When winter blew in and the people were cold, the Helper, inspired by a rustling Cottonwood leaf, gave him the idea for the tipi, which is basically a large leaf wrapped into a cone. The Helper made the tipi not just shelter, but a home, with a facade upon which people would paint their dreams, and a smoke hole to see the stars.  

 Left: Did you know that the door of the tipi is always faced towards the East to greet the morning sun?  Bottom right: A more modern-inspired tipi design. 

Left: Did you know that the door of the tipi is always faced towards the East to greet the morning sun?  Bottom right: A more modern-inspired tipi design. 

Tipi: Home of the Nomadic Buffalo Hunters, written and illustrated by Paul Goble is a beautiful archive of traditional tipi designs. With a deep knowledge of archival black and white photos – and a bit of creative license – he has illustrated these magical abodes in vibrant colors, elegant patterns and strikingly modern designs.

Inspiration can come from anywhere.