Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Custome Embroidered Border

Shipping orders is something I do with great satisfaction. Yesterday I shipped two completed orders - one, the panel above for Patton Design Studio and another, the pillow below for The Wiseman Group. The panel will be used on bedding for the master bed treatment that will include two pillows featuring the same design. The design is based on one I made for a curtain border and modified it using a circle to replace a square used originally. The pillows are yet to be started - I have to layout the images for the rectangular shape and create a way to make the images match perfectly...that is always a challenge.

The amethyst silk pillow for The Wiseman Group is decorated with a custom dyed chenille embroidery accomplished by hand guided machine. I utilize the skill of Jo Kitchen, the owner of Gibson Chenille here in Los Angeles to dye my chenille - her skill is so greatly appreciated and gives me the flexibility of using this technique as the range of colors available in the market is never what one needs. The contrast of the chenille, surrounded by a chain stitch on the silk makes for a lovely embroidered surface.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Evolution of a Design

I produced this pattern for Mimi London and Mark Boone of the AD100 design firm of London Boone Inc. The inspiration is from a rug that Mimi and Mark purchased for a client's home. The large hand woven rug is brilliantly colored and had many images that provided us with embroidery possibilities.

Starting with a photograph of one of the images, I created a digitized version of the design and did thread color samples for the designers. Mimi preferred that I use cotton thread from DMC which made a nice contrast to the mohair ground of the fabric.

Working with mohair can be challenging because of the thick, resilient pile and the first goal is to systematically use underlay to keep that pile down as much as possible. You can see in the following pictures how the machine creates a new surface for the thread.

The end result is a more refined version of the handwoven image, and a great compliment. Mimi and Mark used the embroidery for the inside backs of four game chairs made by A. Rudin.

Embroidery on Leather

I have always had the best of luck creating embroidery on leather. Recently, my client Randy Patton of Patton Design Studio asked if I could provide embroidery on suede for the inside chair back of a National Upholstering Co. lounge chair. The project is in Colorado and the home is associated with a brand. The above represents the brand with the outer portion being a stylized horse shoe.

The thread coverage on this project is pretty high as I chose to run underlay to secure the leather on the frame and to stabilize it from stretching. The final result is 8" high by 7.25" wide and is just under 38,000 stitches. The photograph of the panel on the frame shows the underlay sewn in the first phase of the embroidery process.

Leather is also nice for Trapunto - however, a think leather is best for this process as the relief from the fiber fill is greater with thin surface leather. Kidd leather and pigsuede work nicely.

Gothic Cross Embroidery

Above is a design I created for Interior Designer Thomas Pheasant for chair backs that I have since used for a number of pillows and upholstery. Some designs lend themselves to size manipulation and the flexibility of patterns in my software can sometimes really astound me.

The design originally came from an ornament book although I venture to say my articulation of the design makes it practically unidentifiable from the original inspiration. Originally made about 13.5" high - here you see it reproduced as a chair back reduced to about 7" high and featured with two images side by side. I have also used the same chair image as one for kidney pillows, seen above. The antique French Renaissance style chair below is one I purchased at auction and recovered in a Rogers and Goffigon Linen with Cowtan & Tout trim under the original nailhead trim, beautifully applied by my French upholsterer, Mr. Roger Chopinet.

Photographed below is another version which of the same pattern in the larger size sewing on my Tajima embroidery machine on a printed Rose Tarlow fabric for another effect and another pillow. I just received a new order for the pattern, with the request of interpreting it in a two color version. Once completed, I'll post that version as well.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Augusta Auction Company's 16th Fashion & Textile Auction

I have been so busy lately that I have not had time to post much - but today I received an email from Karen Augusta with a link to her upcoming auction. Fashion and textile auctions make me go fabric crazier than ever as I so appreciate the work of the past as well as current work.

While viewing the catalog this morning, one of many lots that caught my attention is the beautiful blue wool morning coat with floral embroidery. When I see things like this, it is as if someone has just smacked me on the side of the head! Talk about inspiration - I could find so much inspiration with this one garment alone. Such beautiful, restrained work is always a pleasure to view.

Besides the antique textiles, it is always a treat to see the antique and vintage clothing - some of it I remember seeing in magazine new.....I know, that dates me, but what can I say.

It is always a treat to see a 70's Halston dress or a Rudy Gernreich wool bathing suit. No one from my generation will really be able to forget the topless bathing suit that Rudy Gernreich made, will we? Or the paper Campbell's Soup Dress by Andy Warhol.

So take a look at the catalog at and enjoy the viewing. Meanwhile, I did happen to see a couple of things at this months Bonhams & Butterfields auction that perked me up is a guilty pleasure sometimes but I take pleasure when I can.

Karen's auction is April 29th with previews on the 28th 3-7pm and the 29th from 9am to noon. Too bad it is in New York - but I can enjoy it online anyway.
Happy Bidding!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Hill House

Last night Kaveri, TJ & I went to a lecture at LACMA by Pamela Robertson on Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Hill House. I've always held a certain fascination for Hill House and the life and creative world of Mr. Mackintosh and jumped at the chance to hear Ms. Robertson, who is an authority on the subject of all things Mackintosh and more.
Some years ago I heard of the watercolors that Mr. M. painted; mostly floral and landscape paintings created while living in the South of France. They are beautiful artistic expressions. When I realized there was a book on the subject, I could not find it anywhere. Finally, calling Glasgow in an effort to get a copy, I spoke to handful of people at a variety of locations before finally ordering the book. Ms. Robinson wrote that book which made the opportunity to hear her speak a great treat.The event last night was as I said, held at LACMA, through the Decorative Arts and Design Council and sponsored by the Elsie de Wolfe Foundation. Some of the upcoming programs sound very interesting and I must take the time to investigate these groups.

The one thing that I never captured about Mackintosh - with all my books on the subject and I have many as his work really is a passion with me is the romance in the work. I guess I sensed it but Ms. Robinson really summed it up when she talked about the young owners of Hill House and the romantic touches in the decor...stylistically I've always responded to it but I think I failed to respond to it emotionally until last night. Thus you see the value of these events...and why I shall participate more in the doings of these two organizations. Cheers Mr. Mackintosh...