This is the first post of a new column for StyleCarrot, called Swatching. As you can probably guess, I’ll be highlighting textile, wallpaper, tile, rug, and other similar collections of products used to decorate. I don’t get over to the Boston Design Center as often as I’d like, so maybe this will motivate me. Of course I also get press releases and images directly from the companies and designers as well.
On Monday night I had dinner at Trade, chef Jody Adam’s restaurant on the Waterfront, with the lovely ladies of Manhattan-based interior design firm Tilton Fenwick. (Thank you Duralee for hosting!) I first met Suysel DePedro Cunningham and Anne Maxwell Foster in the spring of 2012, through Traditional Home when the designers we nominated won a spot in magazines digital TRADHome issue. (I wrote about Palmer Weiss; have a peek here.) I’ve followed their work and stayed in touch.
Earlier this year, Suysel and Anne, who are known for mixing a giddy array of color and pattern, launched their first fabric line, Tilton Fenwick Collection for Duralee. Here is a sampling of their fantastic prints. Now, I need to go see what I can re-cover . . .
The designers behind Tilton Fenwick Suysel DePedro Cunningham + Anne Maxwell Foster
I’ve emailed several times with Mary and interviewed Martyn on the phone for stories. Both graciously insisted they remembered me. (Doubtful, but nice of them to say!) Mary said she knows my blog; that she recalls its cute and clever name. We are FB friends, so I suppose it’s possible. As I said, they were utterly charming. Must be hard to have to be so *on* with so many strangers at so many events.
I snapped a bunch of Instagram pics of the fabrics for you. I have more from MLB’s line than MM’s line because my iPhone/Instagram went on the fritz, likely from overuse. Ok, now here are the Schumacher Designer Collaborations.
Martyn Lawrence Bullard Schumacher, Boston Design Center
Textile designer Seema Krish emailed me a couple of weeks ago with details about her new collection, “Bombay Glitz.” The colors are more subdued than those of her first collection. These designs are done in eggplant, persimmon, maize, and jade, as well as silver and gold metallics. The effect is rich and sophisticated.
Inspired by the Bollywood pop culture’s glamour and glitz, the textiles, which are available as fabric by the yard, are hand block printed, embroidered and woven. They’re composed of natural fibers–linen and linen/ cotton blends, and produced in sustainable environments.
Metallics Hand block printed & embroidered on a metallic linen. Available in 3 patterns & 2 colorways: pali hill – silver or gold glitter bandra – silver or gold glitterati – silver or gold
Bandra Hand block printed & embroidered on a linen/cotton blend.
Available in 4 colorways: brinjal purple, goa sand, haveli red, monsoon blue.
Juhu Hand block printed & embroidered with tie dyed thread on linen/cotton blend. Available in 4 colorways: badal gray, brinjal purple, goa sand, panna green.
Founded in 2010, Seema Krish fabric line is dedicated to producing artisanal textiles created by a select group of Indian craftspeople. The textiles reflect a fusion of influences and ethnic traditions paired with a modern sensibility. Their mission is to enhance the lives of both the users and producers of the products.
Here’s another textile profile from “Designing Women” that I wrote for Stuff Magazine. You’re no doubt familiar with this company – Mod Green Pod – especially the signature butterfly print, which was their very first design. Here’s their story.
When textile designer Nancy Mims mentioned to her sister-in-law, Boston-based Lisa Mims, that she was thinking of creating an organic cotton fabric line, Lisa, who had just quit a consulting job, hopped on a plane to brainstorm with Nancy at her home in Austin, Texas. Mod Green Pod was born at a picnic table in Nancy’s backyard. Their first collection was launched a year later, in spring 2006, with the funky and flirty signature print “Butterfly Jubilee.” Today, the company produces eight patterns, including Clara and Atticus, named after Nancy’s children. (There used to be an Adelaide print too, named after Lisa’s daughter, but that pattern was retired.)
This month Mod Green Pod launched a line of organic cotton solids in colors that coordinate with the prints.
Nancy, who is the company’s creative director (Lisa serves as a sometime consultant from her home in Beacon Hill), recently came up for air after three frenzied weeks spent churning out 35 new designs, only three of which will make it into the next collection. The designs are all printed with non-toxic pigments on 100% certified-organic cotton grown in the United States. A recent visit to textile mills has motivated Nancy to continue to produce domestically. “My dream is to help our old mills go green and revive production in the US. We could bring back jobs and clean up the textile industry at the same time,” she says. As for other visions, Nancy would like to see the fabrics used in Malia and Sasha Obama’s rooms in the White House. She reasons, “Sasha is my daughter’s age, and I think she’d love the hot pink colorway with the butterflies. It’s US-made and organic, and since she has allergies, she needs clean, green décor.”
I recently purchased a few yards each of these fabrics to make pillows and cushions for my sofas and benches in Cape Cod.
Aspire in Peppercorn / Atticus in Sprout / Glimmer in Water
A few months ago I interviewed Boston-based textile designer Seema Krish for “Designing Women” in Stuff Magazine. Seema has worked in the textile industry for 15 years in various roles, from swatch cutter to design director. She recently launched Seema Krish Collection. All the photos shown here are examples from her current collection.
[ WORLIa multi-textural graphic pattnern that combes block print, embroidery and silk appliqué.•CHOWPATTYa modern herringbone pattern that combines block print and embroidery. ]
Seema grew up in Bombay, and studied textiles at F.I.T., before taking a job with a mill designing commercial grade fabrics. After seeing a textile exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, she was inspired to take a position as a swatch cutter for NUNO, a high end Japanese textile firm with offices at the D&D Building. The firm’s clients included Bill Gates and Yoko Ono, as well as fashion houses Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons.
[ MAHALAXMIa geometric flower pattern that combines block print, embroidery and mirrors.MALABAR HILLa simple flowing pattern that combines block print and embroidery. ] WORLI
After five years there, Krish returned to India, this time to Bangalore, where she founded a design and weave studio called Azure. She worked with local craftspeople, creating fabrics for a roster of well-known companies, including Calvin Klein Home and Donghia. After meeting her husband,they moved to Boston where she was design director for Robert Allen, and learned a lot about the business side of things. Seema says, “I got to know mills in Turkey, China, Italy, and France. It was a more realistic approach to textile making.”
Seena’s since had a child and done some consulting, but as she approaches 40, she’s become interested in doing something new, and something creative again. Launching her own line seemed the logical next step. Seema’s motivation came from a desire to revive the textile arts found in villages in India, where such crafts are becoming extinct in favor of more lucrative jobs in technology-driven fields. Her first collection of fabrics, all of which are handmade using natural fibers and low-impact dyes, combines hand-blocked prints with embroidery. The designs are inspired by childhood memories of Bombay. She says, “They reflect the energetic potpourri of cultures in Bombay and are named after streets there.”
[ BREACH CANDYa contemporary interpretation of suzanis that combines
block print and embroidery. ]
Seema uses a specific craft as starting point, in this case hand-blocking and embroidery, and then dreams up patterns that can be created with those methods. Future collections will build on another technique, perhaps incorporating a different type of weaving or embroidery that hails from another region of India. As for how she will market them, by the yard to the design trade or as a line of products for retail sale, that’s still a work in progress. Though she has created an array of gorgeous pillows.