Sunday, July 26, 2009

Custom Embroidered M Monogram for Chair Backs

It seems lately I am doing quite a collection of monograms for upholstery. Having just finished the pearl encrusted S about a week ago, I am now finished with two inside chair backs. The M is modified from a previously digitized AL monogram, which for maximum decorative effect, was mirror imaged to form a beautiful emblem.

Single letter monograms are generally not quite as emblematic, and in my search for the perfect historical document, I never found one that was exactly right. That said, I started to review others that could be modified and one that I already had seemed perfect for use. The size of this monogram is 10" wide by 8.25" high - it is a perfectly scaled size to rest on the back of the chair without taking over the chair.

This monogram was digitized by my good friend and digitizing guru Jerilee Auclair - she also managed the color change modification which now makes the M stand out in great glory. The depth of Jerilee's satin stitches is amazing. Next up is a letter A monogram which will be used on a foot board panel of a Michael S. Smith bed. I will be posting that in a few days.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Chair Back Embroidery

A while ago I did a blog post on a "brand" I interpreted in embroidery for a chair back. Seldom do I see photographs of installations or of completed projects but National Upholstery Co. was kind enough to forward these shots of my chair back in place to my friend Luis at Mimi London, the Los Angeles representative for National.

The embroidered back is made up of a complex fill pattern using my computerized embroidery machine, that I digitized from artwork provided by the client. National is a wonderful furniture manufacturer from the San Francisco area that makes fine custom furniture.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Embroidered and Hand Beaded Custom Monogram

Recently I was approached by a colleague about creating a special monogram for a design firm that wanted to use it for the back of a vanity chair in "her" bath. As always, when broached with this concept, it takes some time to determine what the client is looking for.

In this case the letter S was needed and it was to dramatically fill the chair back(a huge 12" wide x 18" high) and was to be punctuated with gems and other beads, encrusting it with the look of glamor.

Often times, such exercises involve the never ending balancing act of when is the treatment finished: when are there enough beads - when are there too many beads. First I started with a strong foundation of computerized satin stitches. Based on a historic document the pattern is articulated with underlay and satin overlays that create a luxurious base.

Some of the bead placement is anticipated in the design process with the center area of the S singled out for large cultivated pearls. Other parts of the articulation are also natural, such as the use of crystals as flower centers. My goal was to work with the feeling of generosity with the beads but to hold the embellishing back a bit - and allow the satin stitches the room to capture light luxuriously. Alas, it turned out not to be enough for the designer, who had me add larger and additional crystals as well as more pearls. Here I show my first effort only and will reserve the final version for the client.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Making Pleated Flange

I have two 24" pillows that are embroidered and hand beaded using crystal beads and pearls that also require pleated flange. I used to have the flange pleated by a local company that has pleated fabric for designers and the studio industry for years but recently I found that pleating fabric jumped in price from about $150 to $600 - a great surprise to me that unfortunately, I had not covered in my pricing.

In order to keep the price of pillows down, I am now pleating the fabric myself. First, I have the fabric cut and over-locked by my seamstress. In this case, we decided not to railroad the fabric for the strips, so each one is 54" wide, the width of the fabric, a beautiful silk satin from Clarence House.The size of the strips vary depending on the size of the pleat, but in this case, the flange is going to be made using 1/2" x 1/2" sections. I had the pieces cut 3" wide. The first thing I do is iron the fabric in half so that the flange is self lined.

I then start the formation of my pleats, using a ruler to help start the strip, steam pressing each section before moving onto the next.

Continuing down the fabric length, I create the flange. The over-locked side will be inserted into the seam of the pillow. As you can imagine the steam so close to the fingers is a little hot!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Around The World

One of the best things about writing a blog is seeing reports viewable through my account on Google. Each time I look at the visitor overview map - it is as if I am suddenly a part of a world community that is connected through embroidery and interior design.

This morning my map told me that someone in Venice, Italy was looking at my blog - and there is someone in London who spends time on them too. I miss Italy, and I have never been to England. I have longed to see the architecture in Glasgow and have admired the works of Charles Renie Mackintosh for years and to see someone in that fine city looking at my blog is an instant thrill for me. India, France, Sweden, Belgium, Turkey, Mexico, Argentina, China, Russia to name a few - so many countries I feel connected to in a way I could never have felt before. And of course, all my friends in the United States that take the time to look at my work are greatly appreciated.

The influence of different cultures around the globe have been a great influence in my work. The top photo is from a famous arabesque document. The second is of hand beaded antique Fortuny pillows - fabric from Venice. The third is a detail of some hand embroidery that I did on a Claremont Fabric which became the basis of additional panels I had over-embroidered in India. There is always so much work to be done that it is difficult to find the time to travel these days. Having a new puppy also distracts me from that thought as well but the connections I feel to the world through this Internet life brings a connection that for now keeps me satisfied. Thanks for taking the time to look at the blog - please don't hesitate to drop me a line at or leave a comment. Cheers!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A New Mural by Kaveri and TJ Singh

TJ and Kaveri came to see me yesterday. I made them come by for tea and to remove a chair away that I wanted to give to their son, Angad. They have just completed a new mural for a home in Beverly Hills and had a camera full of photos. Since we both own the same camera, I was able to download their photos and have a good look at their beautiful work.

With their kind permission I am sharing some details with you. The spa room in the Beverly Hills home consists of many small walls with a variety of openings - a great challenge for the artists. Keeping the work in transition from one wall to the next was a must in the mind of the client and designer.

There is a glimpse of the impressionistic soul in Kaveri as you can see by the deft brushwork and the seemingly quick work in the landscapes - I can attest that it was not quick work - the planning of such an artwork as well as the painting itself is a true labor of love.