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.

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