Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recycling Antique Textiles

Being a person obsessed with fabrics, I find fragments of textiles that I just have own. Beautiful, poorly described textiles on eBay can astound me. Friends have also been known to pass along textile fragments that they have coveted for a long period of time and no longer have the room to store or realize they will never utilize them in the creative way they once imagined; they know I will be a respectful keeper of these treasures.

The handwork involved in the shawls from Kashmir are magnificent. This art is a tradition of excellence that I can appreciate with great admiration on so many levels. Not often able to afford a fine piece in excellent condition, I have more often settled for those battered examples with moth holes and worn elements and converted them into something new again.

The pillows above are created using fragments of a shawl. The center of the shawl was long gone and the border was in tatters. The application of the antique fabric onto a new velvet ground was handled in a sensitive way and the transition of the two utilized a black thread chain stitch that both highlighted the textile with a contrast that seemed appropriate.

Homage to Fortuny

If you have ever seen a panel of Fortuny's "Ashanti" fabric it is rich with design detail. Images that are at once intriguing and joyful; with a look that is organized yet spontaneous. The sharing of design elements from person to person and culture to culture are evident just about everywhere we look. I saw it in the new exhibition at LACMA. Pompeii and the Roman Villa which has many examples where Romans so admired the beauty of the Greek traditions before them that they incorporated classical Greek details into their villas and public spaces.

In the above curtain border I call "Ashanti Border" I have taken one element that is used by Fortuny and consecutively placed to form a leading edge and hem treatment. I have also used it on bedding. The graphic pattern is created by using the cording machine and is hand guided on the design stamped linen.

My personal library is full of books that I bought for their source of inspiration and I think I have 3 lifetimes worth at my hands and yet my production schedule is weighing heavily on my shoulders and not allowing me as much creative time as I would like. As soon as my current project is completed I intend to spend a week creatively - have fun with my books and do some expressive experimentation in thread. After all, Summer is here and it is nice to get out of our routine.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Custom Curtain Applique' on Alpaca Fabric

Today I start working on two mirror image applique' and embroidery leading edges for curtains. The two panels will have a 164" of embroidery each, which will require 10 framings on my large border sash frame NEO 2 embroidery machine.

The challenge is great as I cut the images on the machine during the embroidery process. It is exacting, time consuming work. The texture, thread colors and the use of contrasting colors of the same fabric make for a beautiful combination.

I'll add a shot of a completed panel as soon as I have one.

Classic Arts and Crafts Pillows Etc.

The Arts and Crafts patterns of the past have great transitional power. They have an honesty of design and straight forward sense of practicality combined with a touch of refinement in a style that bridges tradition and modern elements. The works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Stickley, Charles Rennie Mackintosh all come to mind as well the work of many others.

Inspired by an old embroidered throw of mohair and cording embroidery from the turn of the century, this pattern is one that I've used for years. The nature of the line, the spareness of design yet a punctuation of a flower form blend beautifully in a simple pattern as well as a more complex version.

Different shapes and sizes - from kidney pillows to chair backs, I've seen this pattern used frequently by Ann Holden of Holden & Dupuy of New Orleans. The Chair above is one by Dessin Fournir created for an interior by Ann. Randy Patton of Patton Design Studio in Rancho Mirage commissioned his own interpretation in this delightfully long kidney pillow below.

Embroidered using hand guided machines, the cording and chain stitch have the right interpretive sense of the design while allowing color changes and fabric choices that meld the pattern to just about any room.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Lotus Collection

My hand made Ikats arrived from Mallorca yesterday. They are so beautiful! The patterns and colors are exactly what I remembered; what I forgot was the amazing texture of the fabric. I am so happy that I connected with Juncosa; to have the opportunity to own this fabric again is very satisfying. Ms. Angel Juncosa tells me that there are only 3 weavers left making it - in my eye that makes this an endangered textile! One of my fabrics from Mallorca is pictures below:

A few weeks ago, I visited the Los Angeles Antique Show in Santa Monica. While visiting the booth of Kathleen Taylor of The Lotus Collection, I spied a beautiful antique embroidery that has not left my mind. This is reason to own it as far as I'm concerned and I will soon do so. Here is a photo of the embroidery as well as a detail. I will frame it and add it to my ever growing collection of antique embroidery I display in my showroom. The patterns will be reinterpreted and used on top of the Mallorcan Ikat fabrics. Watch for future posts of my results.

The exciting thing about textiles to me is how fabrics have a history. And how we can recreate a pattern that has historical references and make it fresh and new again and appropriate for today's interiors. Check out the amazing textiles viewable on the website of The Lotus Collection - just click on the name and you will be transported to a world of textiles and embroidery that to me is thrilling.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Custom Bed Pillows

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo and description of a panel of embroidery that I made for Patton Design Studio. The panel was used by their workroom in producing a duvet. Along with that panel, I was commissioned to create two pillows for the bed utilizing the same pattern.

Here you see the complete pillows completed and on their way to the Carmel installation. The details specified double mitered flanges as well as a small welt trim in colors that coordinated with the rest of the bedding. The embroidery is a pattern that I created in my digitizing software; the pillow faces were able to be sewn in one framing thanks to my large frame NEO 2 from Tajima.

Embroidery Production - Monogrammed Towels


My current project is in full throttle with an estimated completion of tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. If it is one thing I truly love to do - it is to ship completed projects. It is always such a relief.

These towels are personalized with the name of a residence. Being used poolside, they will provide a nice touch, a little color and a lot of class.

The towels are from E. Braun & Co. and a dream sewing field. Just twelve more to do...

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Arrival at Villa Savoia

Here she is - Villa Savoia's new receptionist.

Missy came to me from a shelter. Having been scheduled for termination, an emergency email was circulated which came to me through my good friend Erika Glazer. Erika has rescued many dogs over the years and has a habit of putting people and animals together at the right time.

Nine months old and with very little training, Missy will be a challenge for me. She is smart, beautiful and very affectionate and I'm looking forward to us both making adjustments. Here she is, up since 3:30am - taking a nap while I write this and wishing I could be taking one too. But there are projects to embroidery and deadlines to meet.

I'm not sure that Missy will be available Monday through Friday at Villa Savoia headquarters yet; so far she isn't barking much except at the mirror. Time will tell -

Have a good weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mallorcan Ikats

Every now and then I have searched for Mallorcan Ikats. Years ago, I used to sell them at Mimi London. Since then, I have lost contact with the representatives and have had a very difficult time finding any trace of these beautiful hand woven fabrics.


A few weeks ago, I was in Suzanne Rheinstein's Hollyhock - delivering some pillow fronts I embroidered for an event on La Cienega Blvd. During my visit, I spied one of the ikats used for two kidney pillows on a bed. Grabbing the pillow, I asked Suzanne where in the world she acquired the fabric. She proceeded to give me instructions on finding it beginning with ...."first you have to book a flight to Mallorca." That said, she did give me some very helpful tips that allowed me to improve my google search and now, as of yesterday, I have wired funds and will soon have some of this wonderful fabric.

My communication began with Angel Juncosa, who sells the fabric in her showroom. She provided me with photos which you see with this blog. I intend to embroider on these fabrics - using images that compliment the color and texture of the fabric - probably with Suzani style images.

Angel informed me that the techniques used in creating these fabrics are closely guarded by the families that weave them on the island; she says there are only 3 now producing these goods. It is a shame that so many of our traditions are falling away from us. But for now, I will value this source and hope that the fabric is available for years and years to come.