Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gold Beaded Fortuny "Impero" Pillows


I have just finished two new hand-beaded Fortuny pillows. The pattern name is “Impero” and the color is described as copper with silvery gold. I used gold lined crystal 3-cut beads for the embellishments. Each of the pair of pillows is 18” x 23” and the back and small welt are pigsuede in the same color as the Fortuny background.

This is one of my favorite Fortuny fabrics – years ago, I found an antique panel which had a beautiful patina. For those pillows I used antique pewter beads which complimented the oxidized metallic print.

I have also used the image on this pattern in part to embellish the back of a banquette. The inspiration appears to be just about limitless. Be sure to select the photograph with your cursor to see an enlarged view of the pillows.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Custom Cowtan & Tout, Nancy Corzine and M.C.Escher Inspired Pillows


The pillow above is one of two pillows I created some time ago. Inspired by a pattern I first noticed in a magazine by Lesage, it is inspired by the works of M.C. Escher.

The hornet positive shape gives way to a bird in flight in the negative space. I contrasted the positive with the negative by using a Cowtan & Tout printed linen and a Nancy Corzine solid green fabric.

The process is intense. The first part of the process involves creating an outline of the shapes using my computerized embroidery machine from my digitized pattern. Once the outlines are in place, I remove the frame from the machine table and hand cut the pattern, removing the negative area from the double layered field.

Once that process is complete, the design is reinforced by additional securing stitches before it applies a thicker outline of satin stitches, followed by the decorative overlay stitching used for the lines on the body of the hornet and the eye.

I finished these pillows by doing a boxed treatment. They are approximately 14” x 20” in size and the Corzine fabric is used for the back and boxing with a small cord-free welt out of the pattern fabric.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Inspiring Textiles of Robert Kime


The beautiful textiles of Robert Kime have inspired countless numbers with their rich colors and textures and their homage to historic inspiration.

One of my favorite things to do is take something wonderful, such as his Suzani inspired textile “Susani“ and embellishing it, thus taking it to a different level of impact. I do this by sometimes simply outlining the design with cording and/or chain-stitch or even cutting the pattern out and appliquéing it to a new surface – and even providing additional relief by using the effects of trapunto in areas for an additional touch.

The term embellishment surely fits with this kind of work, whether it be with embroidery, beads or appliqué has added much to our wardrobes, our homes and gives us a sense of self expression and personalizing. When working with the fabrics of someone like Mr. Kime, this effort is extremely satisfying. These fabrics are available for viewing in Los Angeles at Hollyhock.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fleur Arabesque Pillows In Satin Stitch On Silk


Arabesque imagery has always been intriguing to me and I find the complex images to be quite appropriate for interiors here in Southern California. There are many Mediterranean style homes that were built in the 20’s and 30’s that have wonderful old world charm and beautiful beam and tile accents. There are many books that feature these homes including architect Marc Appleton of Appleton & Associates “California Mediterranean" with Melba Levick and “California Romantica” by actress Diane Keaton who has long been a great enthusiast in architecture and interior design.

This pattern is historic. You have undoubtedly seen it used in numerous ways by many people over the years. I decided to recreate it in thread. I asked my excellent digitizing associate Jerilee Auclair of Blackeagle Designs to give her time to this project and she rewarded me with the most beautiful image.

The design consists of more than 170,000 stitches for a pillow that is 10” x 20” in size. The silk I used is from Prelle, which I purchased in NY. It is woven in Lyon, France. I call it Fleur Arabesque because of the multitude of flowers that create this beauty.

Art Deco/Arts and Crafts Period Linen Pillows


For many years now I have been a great collector of fabrics. Interested in most types of fabric, I am especially interested in those embellished. My collection is quite large and I have to say, Ebay has been a great source for many treasures which I find to be great inspiration.

The above pillows are a direct reproduction of a pillow I purchased on Ebay. I consider this imagery to be somewhat transitional between the Arts & Crafts and the Art Deco periods and personally find it at once nostalgic and handsome.

Originally the pattern was created using very hot silk colors of red, orange and lime green with some black outlining. It was embroidered on natural linen with a deep red silk velvet back panel. It was absolutely brilliant in projecting a feeling of the time however much of the embroidery silk is missing and the silk velvet back is quite worn. What an adventurous piece of usable art in its day.

Here I have translated the pattern into computerized embroidery as it seemed most appropriate for the geometry of the shapes. The result is crisp clear articulation in rayon thread satin stitches on medium/dark brown linen plainweave. The pillows are loosely filled with goose down and feathers and they are 20” square. These pillows can be custom made on a variety of ground fabrics with different thread colors.

Custom Hand Painted Garlands by Kaveri Singh


My good friend Kaveri Singh sent me photographs from one of her recent commissions: murals for a powder room in a Beverly Hills residence.

I love this detail of a ribbon hung garland of stylized flowers and instantly imagined my own view of a room using a repeat of this treatment. The articulation is classic and yet has a deco feeling to it that makes it very 40’s modern.

Click on the photo to enlarge it and get a wonderful close-up view of her work.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Custom Embroidered Louis XVI Chair in Rose Tarlow-Melrose House Linen


Practically a year ago, I purchased this chair from my friend and antiquarian Nathan Turner, whose charming shop is part of a compound of resources which includes Claremont Furnishing Fabrics, Hollywood at Home by Peter Dunham and Lucas Studio. This is all located next to Lief at Almont Drive and Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, just around the corner from the Pacific Design Center.

I spent the better part of the year trying to find the perfect fabric to work with the lovely green-gray painted finish. The finish wasn’t original but it was a beautiful old finish with good shading in a historic color. My upholsterer, Roger Chopinet, tells me that the chair is a early-mid 1800’s reproduction of a Louis XVI chair.

During that time, I purchased some “Scala Damask” linen from Rose Tarlow – Melrose House in Wheat and proceeded to do a mad outline combination of cording and chain stitch. Originally conceived as pillow fronts, I did my usual thing and draped both pieces on the chair and I decided it was an inspired mix. So off it went to the upholstery workroom after trim from Samuel & Sons and antique bronze nailheads were selected and here it is.

Clicking on the photo will take you to an enlargement that will give you a good look at the cording and the chain-stitch. The pattern is generally speaking very subtle, but my outlines bring an entirely new dimension to this lovely textile.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Custom Beaded Silk And Linen Pillow With Tassel Trim


One of my all time favorite fabrics is the “St. Simon Lampas” from Old World Weavers. Years ago, I worked as a salesman for Mimi London in the Pacific Design Center. At that time, I sold the lampas for a line we represented, Andre Bon. Since then, the fabric has been incorporated into the collection of Stark/Old World Weavers.

This beautiful fabric originates from France: my guess is that it is woven in the Lyon area. The fabric has a fiber content of silk and linen and is woven on the same loom that has produced this fabric for well over 200 years. The width is traditionally narrow based on that loom’s weaving capability. Other fabrics woven by the silk weavers of Lyon are those supplied by Prelle.

Available in just three colors; besides the one above, it is also woven in a beautiful taupe-blue and a rich raspberry-red. These descriptions are not adequate to describe their color quality. Locally, I’ve noticed this fabric in a few public installations. The blue colorway is installed in the beautiful dining room of the Chateau Marmont above banquette seating. If you scroll through the pictures on the Chateau's website, you will come to one of the banquette area and will recognize the lampas on the wall above. The red colorway has been used as upholstery on two beautiful chairs in the collection of the Getty and viewable in the Decorative Arts wing as well as the link if you click on Getty.

The pillow above is hand beaded using old beads found on the shelves of my workroom. They add to the inherent opulence of this beautiful woven textile as does the silk trim, which I purchased at Décor de Paris in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Embroidered Silk Velvet Fortuny Inspired Pillows


Mariano Fortuny was greatly inspired by historic textiles. Looking through the fabric boards at the Fortuny showroom in the D&D Building is in many ways a history lesson. Some of my favorite patterns are Renaissance style and one merely has to run a little bit across town to see original versions from the Renaissance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was about this time last year that I made that trip; New York always leaves me with so many exciting images.

The pillows above are two that I just completed and shipped for Ann Holden of Holden & Dupuy of New Orleans. These pillows are 14” x 26” and are on rich silk velvet. The color is a muted deep gray-violet and the embroidery utilizes a cord outline of gray-blue threads then shading is added in a rayon chain-stitch that is a little darker than the silk velvet. On top of that – icing on the cake – is an extra chain stitch of antique bronze metallic.

The effect is ultimately soft, elegant and rich. With these pillows I think I pay appropriate homage to the master, Mariano Fortuny and to his inspiration as well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frank Lloyd Wright "Hollyhock House" Custom Chandelier Project


Many years ago, I had the pleasure of recreating embroidered pillows for the beautifully reproduced living room furniture for Frank Lloyd Wright's famed residence in Hollywood called “Hollyhock House.” Using an original pillow front as the basis for the reproduction, a classic metallic soutache was used to achieve the correct effect. Fabric just like the original was woven and the well documented result of our collaborative work is seen in many books on the subject, including the Rizzoli book “Frank Lloyd Wright Hollyhock House and Olive Hill” by Kathryn Smith. It contains beautiful pictures including those of the living room furniture.

Jeffrey Herr, the curator of this landmark residence, came to me a while ago with the project of recreating the dining room chandelier. Based on an old photograph, the best we are able to accomplish is an impression of the original. Utilizing my computerized embroidery machine, I have created a pattern that consists of fine pattern stitches that resemble traditional cross stitch, which I have outlined. Most machine embroidery requires the use of fabric stabilizers, or backing, to keep the fabric from being damaged by the aggressive work of the needle. In this case, as the fabric is a linen sheer, I did not want any residue of backing to be visible so once again I turned to that marvelous water soluble backing. After several rinses, the backing is gone and I have this lovely, flowing sheer pictured above, which makes me very happy.

The chandelier will be put together by the hands of others now. Samuel and Sons has created custom tassels that will add weight to the fabric and complete the effect. I am so happy to be a part of this project and delighted to have added to the illusion of the past of this lovely home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Custom Embroidered Table Linens


This is one of my favorite place settings. The dishes are made in Florence, Italy and the pattern is "Fiesole" by Richard Ginori. The simple elegance of this service is that quiet charm that would make a toasted cheese sandwich seem special. The Venetian stemware I bought at auction years ago at Bonhams and Butterfields and the table linens are from Sferra, also from Italy and embroidered by Villa Savoia. The technique is hand-guided machine using a variety of threads with a little bronze metallic thrown in for sparkle. Bon Appetito!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Custom Pillow: Suzani inspired with embroidered accents


The fabrics of Michael S. Smith's Jasper Collection are beautiful. Each fabric has a quiet opulence that enriches an interior or a piece of furniture. The pattern above is a large scale woven wool textile. The inspiration is undoubtedly an antique Suzani textile which have been rightly popular for some time now. The color palette has been toned down from the original pieces still being produced in Uzbekistan today.

My good friend and Interior Designer Brenda Fox Wilson brought this project through my door; she used the fabric to upholster a chair in a client's bedroom and wanted me to make a pillow with the untouched fabric as an accent pillow for the bed. By clicking on the above photo you will see an enlargement of the pillow, giving a close up of the cording and the chain-stitches, all hand guided using the Cornelly machine. There is a small rope trim used that was purchased from Janet Yonaty. Brenda and her client like the down pillow inserts to be very loose - a quality that I prefer as well. My seamstress Nancy removed a good 3-4 handfuls of fill to give us the right look and feel. The pillow is 18" high x 26" wide.

I'll be sending out a post card featuring the embroidery in the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Kaveri Singh - Interior Artist


A photograph of two Acanthus pillows I recently made for The Wiseman Group are shown a few posts below. As I mentioned in the post, the design was created by my good friend Kaveri Singh. I have known Kaveri and her husband TJ for many years as a result of a design project we shared in the late 1990's. Kaveri did the decorative painting and glazing throughout the house, I worked on the interiors. We became acquainted by mixing paint together – matching this fabric or that wall covering. Among the many notable projects we did together in the house included a dining room with a beautifully articulated hand painted ceiling and wall panels. Here is a photograph of one of her more recent works of art - she hand painted the walls of this large entry with a Chinoiserie style treatment featuring bamboo, flowers and birds.

TFS - a book review


I am in production of a complicated design. For each 14 inches, the design requires 93,550 stitches.
While I watch over this design I am taking the opportunity to read one of my newer books, TFS Toni Facella Sensi Architect. It is mostly a book of interiors done by this master tracing work from the 1970’s to 2000. I just recently discovered this book while looking through the shelves at the Potterton Books at the Pacific Design Center; however it was published in 2002.

There are first three amazing residences of the designer – one in Rome, another in his native Umbria at Orvieto and a third in Hammamet, Tunisia.

The text of the book is written by Cesare Cunnacia – and it is colorful and nostalgic. He has some great lines from a variety of sources such as Oscar Wilde – “there is no art without style, there is no style without harmony, and that harmony was of the individual” – I like that. And the interiors are richly detailed. The fabrics are quintessential fine European textiles used appropriately for their location; Palm Beach, Milan, Munich, Caracas, and London to name a few. International in scope and flavor, there is much to inspire in these details.

There is plenty of textile embellishment in this book – often times it takes the shape of appliqué. There is a beautiful piece of furniture – a sofa that is in a wonderful colorful lampas fabric. He has cut some of the floral elements from the lampas and appliquéd them on a beautiful blue velvet. It is a light touch as he employs the appliqué sparingly and the result is absolutely charming and perfect. Needless to say, I love the book!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Custom Velvet Acanthus Pillows


The custom pillows above shipped yesterday to The Wiseman Group in San Francisco. These pillows are on beautiful a Marvic velvet and are embellished with hand-guided cording and chain stitch using an Acanthus pattern designed by my good friend Kaveri Singh. This is an adaptation of the pattern used on silk satin shown on a previous post - used to make curtains for Holden & Dupuy of New Orleans.

The pillows measure 16” in height and 23” in width and were made to coordinate with a color palette of the room and were trimmed with a small matching cord from Samuel & Sons trim.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Custom Beaded Rose Cumming Pillows


Last week I finished these two pillows for Randy Patton Design Studio. They are currently on their way to a new home on Fisher Island off the Miami coast. The linen velvet from Rose Cumming is a very soft pink with a lovely french style gaufrage pattern. The fabric was first outlined with embroidery in areas to provide a shape I filled with pink irredescent beads. Large pink freshwater pearls were added as well as smaller pearls and faceted pink quartz. The trim is hand tied silk from Scalamandre. The embellished surface is richly decorative.


Friday, October 31, 2008

Fortuny Applique'


Recently I created a new border using a Fortuny fabric as an applique' on a Michael Smith Jasper Collection velvet. The design is inspired from an architectural element in a book on the work of Alberto Pinto.

I simplified the design, adhered an iron-on backing to the Fortuny and sent both to a company that could laser cut the pattern. Once that process was complete, I could iron the Fortuny in place on the velvet, then outline the shapes with cording and chain stitch. This pattern is suitable for both drapery and furniture.

Custom Monogram


DMC is one of the most important names in the embroidery world. Having been established in the mid 1700’s as a fabric printing business, it later developed it’s now famous reputation in the production of mercerized cotton thread and with the help of Therese de Dillmont in the 1800’s became responsible for the development of the embroidery program well known to so many generations.

At the request of many interior designers, I needed to add cotton thread to my palette and knew DMC was the place to go. I purchased about 350 colors in cones that were compatible with my Tajima computerized embroidery machine. Above is a large scale monogram that is scaled for pillows or a chair back. Although the design is actually two A initials artfully combined, a found example in one of my many books on monogram initials, it is a pleasing shape simply as a flourish and can add great style to a modern or traditional interior.

The fabric is from Cowtan & Tout and of course the thread is from DMC. My very good friend and magnificent digitizer Jerilee Auclair is responsible for the digitizing of this beauty. Her artistry is beyond compare!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Philippe Stark Embroidery at the SLS Beverly Hills


Today I shipped 6 embroidered leather panels that will be used as chair backs. The project is the new SLS hotel in Beverly Hills and the designer is Philippe Stark working with SBE.

The images are stylized “Mom” tattoos for oval back chairs that will grace a pastry lounge which will undoubtedly be my favorite place in the near by hotel.

Along with these chair backs, I’ve also embroidered the wool skirts on 6 pool tables and banquette backs in the “Tapas Bar” – black bull heads on black leather. The playful nature of this work is charming and I’m so pleased to be a part of this exciting project.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New Custom Pillows


A cording technique is used to create these two custom pillows made by using a Cornely embroidery machine from the turn of the last century. These machines are the precursors of the computerized embroidery machines of today and require the competent hand of a specialist to control the placement of embroidery on the fabric surface.

The Cornely combines a core yarn with a multiple thread bobbin. The bobbin thread covers the core creating the final cord. The bobbin uses as much as 10 threads allowing a wide range of color options.

The inspiration of the design came from a fabric design which included paisley and other motifs which became nicely abstracted when simplified. I ironed the pleated trim – a nice touch. The ground fabric is a subtle pattern which brings interesting depth to the design.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bed Canopy Border



Yesterday I completed the last three of five panels for Michael S. Smith. The panels will be used as bed drapes and canopy valences for a project in Rancho Mirage.

The border is inspired by eastern European traditional cross-stitch embroidery and utilizes computerized technology. The pattern was selected because it works well with the character, colors and images of the room’s area rug.

Typically the embroidery process includes the use of stabilizing backings. These backings are generally tear-away or cut-away paper like substances that remain in part under the embroidered thread. This pattern has large areas of cross-stitch like pattern worked on a woven hemp fabric from Rose Tarlow Melrose House. I decided to try something different – a water soluble backing. This allowed me to soak the completed panels in water to remove all the backing thus allowing thread on fabric only and a gentle, appropriate drape to the fabric.

After soaking the fabric overnight, I rolled the panels in toweling to absorb as much of the water as possible, then I steam pressed the panels dry to finish them properly. The result, though time consuming, results in a beautiful, flowing, natural flowing fabric.

There are many challenges in our industry – I always look for ways that I can use the best of current technology to give the richest look possible; the best of both worlds, so to speak. Although the process is time consuming, I had the help of my associate, Darlene Dando and her amazing 4 head embroidery machine to speed up this process and love the end result.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Satin Stich Leaves


A new book once again provides inspiration. This pattern was created by a gentleman in the early 1700’s. The design is rather direct and bold for that time period thus it has a very modern look, especially when translated to thread.

The leaves measure about 3/8” at their widest point, which makes the satin stitch glow. The rule with using rayon thread is the shorter the stitch, the more matte it appears; the longer the stitch, the more lustrous. Rayon is my preference when using my computerized embroidery machine as it has a flexibility that works well with most designs and technical aspects of the machine and it has a great color choice. Oddly, polyester thread, which is stronger, washes well and withstands harsh light, used to have a more matte appearance; but recently, there has been a trend by thread manufacturers to give it the same glossy texture of rayon.

Cotton thread is the conceptual choice by most designers. Valued for its matte appearance and its natural origin, it offers a look that is unique yet traditional. The downside to cotton is the limited color palette and the lack of local stock. I buy DMC cotton by the cone for my machine and own about every color available (approximately 350.) Ordering a cone can take a minimum of 6 weeks from France: if the color is out of stock, it can take longer. On the other hand, I have a local supply of thousands of colors of rayon thread.

I hope to use the branch of leaves and berries on Kerry Joyce "Lynne" dining chair backs. Each of the 8 backs would be individually designed and no two backs would be the same. I will also use the design to make some pillows.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Trapunto


Elective art classes in college were great – Edinboro University of Pennsylvania was known for having a large art department. My undergraduate work was in art education; my MFA work in weaving and textile design.

During my education I was introduced to Trapunto. In Italian, the word means “to embroider.” Traditionally used by quilters, this technique originated around the fourteenth century – possibly in Sicily. The concept spread throughout Europe and made its way to this country by immigrants.

In school, I was taught that stitching through two layers of fabric was the first step in achieving the design. This created a double layer part of which could act as a pocket. One would make a small cut in the back fabric, use it to stuff fiber into the “pocket” then sew it closed.

Today, I can embroider two layers of fabric at once on my computerized embroidery machine and then, using a hollow needle threaded with a large spool of cotton thread, I can use an air compressor to basically blow fiber inside the pocket. Muslin is generally used for the backing of my more decorative front fabric.

Here is a chair back that I have digitized using bean stitch and satin stitches. I selected areas for the filling based on size and impact. Because the chair back is highly detailed, the relief is more subtle.

The effect is lovely – I’ve not only used it for pillows and chair backs but have also used it for borders on curtains and roman shades for interior designer Kim Alexandriuk.

Curtains Away


Here is a picture of part of my curtain project. My garment rack is 5’ high which will give you an idea of the scale of these panels. They have been steam pressed, folded carefully and delivered to the drapery workroom.

I will next be starting banquette backs for the new SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills. The design is by SBE in conjunction with Philippe Stark. The image is this wonderful bull head which will be embroidered on black leather. Then I have 6 chair backs to do with a design by Stark – four variations of “Mom” Tattoos with Roses for chairs in the Pastry Lounge. That’s where I want to be!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Graphic Elegance


I’m just about to finish production on two pair of curtains for Madeline Stuart as mentioned below. The fabric is medium-blue gray wool sateen from Rogers & Goffigon, available at Cowtan & Tout in the PDC. It is one of my favorite embroidery fabrics. The stitches seem to relax into the material with the steam from my iron and the thread melds together to form a lovely embellished surface.

The design is a classic two color modified scallop using a tone-on-tone thread color for the lower element and an ecru color for the repeating overlay. The effect is graphic elegance. Here is a photo of the pattern sewing on my Tajima computerized embroidery machine. As you can see – I must make many modifications and repetitions to fill a leading edge of 105 inches in length and a full width hem at 55 inches.

I’ll post another photo of the ironed panels. I greatly enjoy working with Madeline and her associate, Laura Smith. Madeline’s work is beautiful as you can see by her web site portfolio.

Custom Embroidered Acanthus Curtain Border


Custom embroidered curtains have become a much sought after element in elegant interiors today. I am currently working on two pair of curtains for interior designer Madeline Stuart. They are going to be installed next month in a residence in New York and have to be at the workroom tomorrow for final construction.

The photo above is a pair of custom embroidered leading edges of one pair of curtains I recently completed for interior designer Ann Holden of the New Orleans’ firm Holden & Dupuy. The design, a modified version of my large Acanthus pattern was increased in size to accommodate the great height of the windows and the size of the room: scale is important in the design of a border.

The outlines of this custom embroidered treatment are created with a turn-of-the-century hand guided embroidery machine and consist of about 10 threads circling a core thread at the same time it is attached with a bobbin to the silk satin. That treatment is followed by areas of shading accomplished with chain stitch.
More on Madeline’s curtains – I’ll post a photo in a few days.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Fine Art of Hand Beading Fortuny Fabric


Nearly 20 years ago, I started to hand bead fabric. My first attempt was on a panel of African Mud Cloth. I selected sienna colored glass seed beads and stitched every one myself. The effect was at once primitive and lush and wonderfully decorative. I now don’t remember who purchased that first pillow, but I do remember about the next pair.

Fortuny fabric was my next attempt. I had some left over pieces of some brown and gold Corone that was used on a project, and found some wonderful bronze beads that accented the surface beautifully. These two pillows were heavily beaded with both seed and 3-cut beads if I remember correctly and may have even had some bugle beads, too. My partner at the time, Steve Luxenberg and I took them to a place we thought they should be: Therien on La Cienega here in West Hollywood. After a very short time and the interior designer Leonard Stanley purchased them. We were told he bought them for himself, which is a real compliment.

Pictured is a detail of a beautiful pair of rust and gold Fortuny pillows with bronze beads and gold lined crystal beads. Steve used to say, "beading Fortuny is like gilding a lily." He was right, but sometimes gilding can make such a lovely difference! Every now and then there is that combination of materials and technique that just feels so correct, and I think this is one of them. I hope you agree.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Floral Border


Having been a collector of antique embroidery for many years, I have had the opportunity to study the handwork used to create embroidery of the past. Donna Cardwell has written a book on these wonderful antique pieces – see my book review below.

I enjoyed the opportunity to interpret the spirit of the antique pieces in a project I completed last week for interior designer Suzanne Rheinstein, who’s showroom Hollyhock, located in West Hollywood a few blocks from the PDC, is a great testament to her taste and talent.

The pattern is a traditional floral. On off white linen, it is a breath of fresh air. Using the elements from a fabric draping the master bed, I created my own design using computer digitizing software. After many layout and color samples and direction from Suzanne, we came up with the pattern pictured here. I very much enjoyed working with Suzanne and her associate Kate O'Dorisio.

Have a look- I’ll provide you with a nice detail shot of the corner motif.

Silk Art Embroidery by Donna Cardwell


Collecting antique embroidery has been an obsession for years. Long before I started creating embroidery myself, I have been drawn to this art of the past. Throughout the centuries the purpose of embroidery has basically remained the same: to embellish. The result of embroidery evolved into a status marker. Around the turn of the 19-20th century for a short period of time there was an effort to combine the fine art of embroidery with commerce. Donna Cardwell explores this period of time and highlights the people responsible for this national phenomenon.

We are lucky to have this historic narrative as often times these details are lost to history. Deemed somewhat trivial after the passing of several generations, there is now a rebirth of interest in this lovely work that is still so accessible today.

Donna’s book is available at a Schiffer Books, Donna’s website Society Silk Embroidery.com and other book sales websites available through Google and other search engines.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Mlinaric On Decorating" by Mirabel Cecil & David Mlinaric




Having been a book addict for many years, I have decided to periodically tell readers about new acquisitions as well as my personal all time favorites. Yesterday I purchased a new book from one of my favorite book shops, Potterton Books at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. Their other US shop is located in the D&D building in NY. The book "Mlinaric On Decorating" by Mirabel Cecil & David Mlinaric is exceptionally photographed with the most beautiful rooms - richly understated and timelessly elegant. There is much valuable reading material here as the book covers an extensive time frame and projects ranging from important public galleries such as London's National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum but also interiors for many private clients such as Mick Jagger and the Rothschild family. Being an embroiderer myself that specializes in interior furnishings, my eye for detail is very much satisfied by each photo. I only wish the bed featured on page 254 from the Muse residence in Dallas had detail shots of the embroidered treatment on the headboard, canopy, hangings and bed skirt - they appear wonderful but are appropriately subtle and pale - so I can't see details clearly enough. This is truly one great addition to my library. I hope you will enjoy it, too! Published by Frances Lincoln Limited $65

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Villa Savoia, Inc. - As seen in Stitches Magazine

It is wonderful to pursue my passion and do what I love daily. Design, embroidery and art combine to be an extremely satisfying occupation and I'm happy to call this my profession and my career. Recently an article on me and my work was published in Stitches Magazine. I look forward to sharing my projects, my tools and my inspirations with you.