upholstery design

design ideas, materials

What does music look like?


And what does your favorite fabric sound like?  I saw a great new fabric designer at the ICFF in NYC:  Nadia-Anne Ricketts at Beatwoven.  Then, on the same day that I received my requested samples, I noticed her work in the new September Dwell magazine (p. 36 for those of you who have it).  I'm a big enough believer in fate to take note when something pops up in your life three times in a month--so I'm sharing.

Nadia-Anne Ricketts is a British textile designer who literally creates fabrics from songs, using proprietary software.   And the textiles she creates are totally amazing:  they're luxe without being gaudy.  Delicate and strong at the same time.  They shimmer and strike.  Like all good music they're rich and complex.  And thanks to Ms. Rickett's these songs feel and look great too.  I personally can't wait to use her fabric in my work.  Beatwoven doesn't have any US distribution yet, but stay tuned!  And check out her site.

design ideas, materials

Current inspiration: Gorgeous silk Obi from Japan!

I'm always looking for the catalyst for a great piece.  Here's my current favorite resource:  the Japanese kimono.  These fabrics are tight woven and hold their shape, and are relatively easy to work with.  Even better, the obi (belt) is custom made to add detail to a beautiful garment--and can do the same for any piece of upholstery.  

To use an obi in upholstery, use a seam ripper to carefully remove the backing (if any).  Once this is done, the obi can be flattened out, and the backing reattached.  At this point, they'll look like a large rectangular tapestry.  Generally, they have repeating patterns but are only a foot wide, so think carefully about how to use the obi in your design.  Also, think of the obi as a tapestry when you use it:  First, don't plan to cut it much.  Enjoy it as is.  Second, avoid sewing it to thick fabrics.  It's substantial all by itself and seams connecting the obi to heavy fabrics will not lay flat (and will not be loved by your machine!)

Above left, an obi-based design in process, with some complementary fabrics.  Remaining photos are of a volcano patterned obi with gold and silver accents.  The bench was just completed today, and photo taken in the workshop--better photos on the way!