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.