Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Evolution of a Design - Orientalism

I just completed the above embroidery for two kidney pillows. The fabric is from Cowtan & Tout and the embroidery pattern is based on an image I found in a book.

The book is "Alberto Pinto Orientalism" from Rizzoli and it has provided much inspiration. The design was created for a project I did for Interior Designer Kim Alexandriuk. The embroidery was used for the outside backs of some Michael S. Smith dining chairs - the inside backs were a Fortuny applique'. The fabric used on the project is a Claremont Fabric and here is production shot of the inside back.

The pillows are a wonderful accent that have great texture and over all design that add to just about any interior without trying to steal the show.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Reworking A Monogram

The above monogram has be altered to emphasize the letter M. Based on an antique lettering combination, this beautiful monogram was originally developed as AL. As with many antique letter combination, letters were often mirror imaged so that the design created a type of emblem.

Below is my original monogram in a single color. The version above is on a silk ground with the M in gold thread while the balance of the design is rendered in platinum; the change is subtle but of course it can be any color combination one can imagine. The monogram is 12" high x 14.5" wide - the perfect size for a chair back or pillow front. The version below is on mohair and the monogram is approximately 4" tall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cocktail Time

I have embroidered tons of napkins over the years. Some of my favorites have been cocktail napkins. More of a conceptual entertainer than an actual one myself, I have a huge collection of antique, vintage and new linens that I've collected over the years.

The above photo shows one of my favorite cocktail napkins. I embroidered this particular Sferra napkin for a client who gave a set as a gift. That is my stemmed glass - I found that set of stemware at auction years ago. The embroidered set below is used with Richard Ginori china, one of my favorite manufacturers of fine china.

The beautiful monogram below was made for a designer - utilizing the couples last name initials H and K. The image itself was found in a journal of antique letter combinations. Also shown below is a napkin with a large coral red linen border on white that I made for my own use with my collection of vintage Fiesta Ware dishes. The design is traditional yet made lighthearted by using bright colors and accented with the simple yellow flower. Finding the time to use them is the biggest challenge.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outlining For Emphasis

I am always amazed at the effect a simple outline can achieve in creating emphasis and definition to a fabric image. The above pillows are a good example of this concept.

The fabric used is available through Brunschwig & Fils, a wonderful source of great traditional fabrics, trim, wallcovering, upholstery and furniture. This particular fabric is a woven blend of rayon and linen. I did not applique' the medallion onto the fabric. It is woven into the ground of the plain weave ground directly during the weaving process. Often used as chair backs and seats as well as pillows, it is supplied with 2 images per fabric width, centered on the half width - with space between the images. The solid ground is also available allowing for larger areas of upholstery for a beautiful custom finished look.

The photo below shows the sample I provided the client. You can see half the medallion has been outlined and the other half left as purchased. Using the hand guided cording technique with threads the same color as the medallion gives it an added strength for the right finishing touch.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Evolution of an Embroidery Design

For may years I have collected antique and vintage embroidery. I love them. They are beautiful creative expressions of a time past. I have specifically loved the linens created during the early to mid 20Th century during much of the period in which they are described as Arts & Crafts style linens. These linens often have a primitive quality and a directness that I greatly admire. they are graphic expressions which were made to adorn a home. Sometime crudely worked, they seem almost urgent - as if they were made a bit on the fly. Other times they were obsessively needled into the most artful creations. My collection of Arts and Crafts embroidery has some stunners.

I like to utilize these graphic designs in current work. Pictured below is an embroidery I purchased on eBay. Most likely a table top linen - it is decorative, bold and although not labored over as far as embroidery style is concerned, it is effective. Time has not been too kind to it, but that just tells me it was somewhat utilitarian. I am happy it is still alive today in a sense - for it captured my imagination and I used it for inspiration.

A designer came to me wanting pillows for an interior. The room is colorful and features a large antique Suzani embroidery hanging over a fireplace. The colors we selected for the embroidery came from that Suzani. Thus bright and bold - the pillows are on a ground of hand woven antique French fabric.

The pattern is drawn and the colors of colors identified. By using the bright colors of the Suzani, the pattern becomes much less Arts and Crafts and much more in the character of the Suzani. this version of the embroidery was accomplished using hand guided techniques of cording and chain stitch, which worked beautifully on the highly textured ground.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Villa Savoia Sighting in Architectural Digest

It is so rewarding to see an interior that has embroidery; and it is especially sweet when the embroidery was provided by Villa Savoia, Inc. In the July issue of Architectural Digest, you will see the above bronze-brown fabric applied to luxurious pale green silk satin pictured above.

The project interiors was articulated by the talents of Ann Holden of the firm Holden & Dupuy of New Orleans and the architecture is by Ken Tate. The project took 5 years to construct. The living room pictures below contains not only my curtain embroidery but also some demilune console tables (one viewable in the photo below) from Amy Perlin in NY, chairs and two beautiful Louis XV settees upholstered in Fortuny fabric; the settees are also from Amy Perlin Antiques.

The curtain embroidery, fyi - did not take 5 years. If you have a chance, please take a look. I've photographed part of the room and attached it below.

There is a back story (there usually is) to these curtain panels. Once completed, I sent the panels to Mary Tait of Mary Tait Inc. Mary is the amazingly creative woman who has been responsible for curtain artistry for Holden & Dupuy and other prominent interior designers from around the country for many years. My box arrived at Mary's office and for some reason the FedEx man threw the box somewhere on the property and ended up in the garbage bin. Astute Mary saw the box, retrieved it and saved the panels from decorating a land fill.