Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009


Sina Pearson - Cut and Paste

Cut and Paste, from the company's Stripes Galore collection, brings us back to kindergarten—the designer's inspiration. She assembled multicolored strips of paper on solid-colored paper grounds, then translated the results into 51-inch-wide viscose chenille backed with acrylic latex. It's available in five colorways: biscuit, chamois, garnet, cypress, and amber. 212-366-1146

Maharam - Horto

Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes collaborated with this textile design studio on Horto, a fizzy take on the traditional botanical. Latin for garden, Horto combines abstracted flowers and geometric forms with the vivid, tropical palette Milhazes uses in her paintings. A flat-weave cotton-polyester gives high contrast and clarity to the saturated colors. 800-645-3943

Le Studio Anthost - Vitraux 2

Astrid de Saint Anthost offers a modern take on lace by translating the delicacy of the medium's ornate florals into something more structured. The result is Vitraux 2. She silkscreens the design in glue onto organza, covers the fabric in glass crystals, and shakes off the excess. Custom backgrounds and colors are offered. 718-267-8907

Pollack - Glyph

Artwork from the non-profit Alpha Workshops forms the basis of the Alpha Pollack textile collection. This second collaboration between Pollack and Alpha delivers pieces that run the gamut, from delicate and elegant to bold and robust. The vivid Stepping Stone is based on a pastel sketch in which a field of river rock–like shapes is depicted in washes of color and lines. Even more texture is created by the embroidery that covers much of the silk dupioni ground. Heartstring features vertical rows of vines sprawling in iridescent silk. The hand-painted feel of the original art is translated onto the fabric by a double-weft construction, which weaves one filling as the surface of the leaves, while a second creates a different pattern for the background. Heartstring Embroidery uses a viscose braid, stitched on a silk dupioni ground, to trace the outline of the leaves. Three more fabrics found their inspiration in an abstract work executed in two-color Puff Paint. Glyph Sheer, a 118-inch Trevira sheer, combines filling yarns of two different weights and colors with a single-color warp for a tone-on-tone effect. Glyph Matelasse captures the paint's raised quality with heavy cotton stuffer over a ground of mercerized cotton. Glyph Velvet, testing to 50,000 Wyzenbeek rubs, uses a negative ground and two colors of viscose pile to create a tonal pattern. The collection offers a total of 208 colorways. 212-627-7766

Architex International - Green collection

The 12 upholstery patterns of Angela Adams's Green collection, available in nine colorways, withstand 50,000 double rubs and use both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled polyester fibers. Argyle has small-scale connected boxes; Arundel references the historic Maine town in Pulitzer Prize–winner Kenneth Roberts' 1930 novel; Birch is patterned after the tree; solid chenille Acadia is named for the national park in Maine that inspires much of the designer's work; and wavy Beach Grass flaunts Cradle to Cradle Silver certification. 800-621-0827

Arndís Jóhannsdóttir - Fish leather

Manufacturer: Arndís Jóhannsdóttir.

Product: Fish leather.

Standout: Sturdy, dense, remarkably thin, and waterproof, aquatic hides can be spotted, scaly, or slightly iridescent.

The good thing about living on a sparsely populated island just south of the Arctic Circle is you rarely have to deal with Europe's scuttlebutts. Somewhat problematic, however, are those rare moments—some recent—when you're directly affected by the vicissitudes of the larger market.

Very briefly after WWII, Iceland found itself cutoff from Europe's already scarce supply of raw materials. Since plastics had not yet become a common production material, fish skin was tanned and used in lieu of traditional cow or horse hides. Nearly 40 years later, Reykjavik-based saddle smith Arndís Jóhannsdóttir unearthed some old fish leather in local cellars, and for nearly a decade, she used the skins. Eventually, however, the material became so well received that a fish tannery, shuttered for some 50 years, reopened.

While the tanning process remains a guarded secret, the resulting material is strong, pliable, and unique in texture and pattern. It's used most widely for shoes, purses, bowls, and wall coverings, but Jóhannsdóttir has a new application: tiles made from catfish. 354-8984925

India Flint - Eucalyptus

Eco-sensitivity seems to run in India Flint's family: her grandmother used tea leaves, onionskins, and calendula to re-dye clothing; her mother crafted botanical drawings. So it stands to reason that, after wandering the world, this Melbourne native settled on a small family farm in South Australia's Mount Lofty Ranges and pioneered her own fabric dyeing process called the Ecoprint.

Flint stumbled on the method while experimenting with the Latvian technique of wrapping Easter eggs in ferns or leaves, then covering them in onionskins to create a fossilized effect. The designer adapted the idea for textiles by devising a water-based method of applying vegetable color to cloth using small amounts of plant material in a recycled dye-bath. All of the vegetation comes from Flint's farm while the cloth is woven from the wool of her own flock of sheep.

The result is a luxurious bohemian look, a profusion of muted color that resembles delicate, couture quality tie-dye. Look closely at the patterns, and the shapes of eucalyptus leaves and blossoms emerge. Flint's new Watermarks collection of billowy tops and dresses is entirely handmade. For every item she sells, the designer plants a new tree. 61-439-999-379

Clarence House - Antonio

When you want to lend a touch of class to a project, call on Antonio. This handsome Italian-woven 55-inch wool challis paisley is based on an original 19th-century Kashmir shawl and would be equally at home in a wood-paneled library or modern sitting room. It comes in three classic colors: antique document, red-green, and brown. 800-221-4704


Martin Patrick Evan - Tiger Hide

PETA would approve of this custom wool Tiger Hide. To deliver this trophy animal skin without discomfort to the tiger population, John Patrick Dolan found a real hide at anantique store and hand-tufted 16 colors in combinations of twists and solids to reproduce the subtly gradating pattern of the original pelt. Made-to-order to the trade in loop- or cut-pile and infinitely customizable. 800-734-8214

Kravet - Eden

Kravet carpet offers a new collection of 35 designs that are in stock and ready for immediate delivery. Eden is a 100-knot-per-inch, hand-woven carpet made with wool and silk. For the designer on a draconian deadline, these rugs are ready-to-go in multiple colorways and stock sizes, from 3 feet by 5 feet to 12 feet by 16 feet. This is a garden that you can grow overnight. 800-645-9068

Tandus - Landscape Colours 

Influenced by Edward Burtynsky's photographs of civilization's detritus, Suzanne Tick designed Landscape Colours as an extension of the existing Manufactured Landscapes collection. These 24-inch-square reconfigurable carpet tiles are offered in 12 colorways. 800-248-2878

Tufenkian - Flower Power

Flower Power is a bold, oversized floral pattern from the company's Core collection. Hand-woven in both standard and custom formats, it comes in such colorways as Calypso, Powder Puff, Pixie, Cornstalk, and Sunshine. The Seacove colorway is a versatile palette of light ocean foam, teal, weathered gold, and mocha with chocolate highlights. 800-298-1749

Emma Gardner Design - Fishtail 

Fishtail swims with the opalescent scales of a sea creature. This hand-knotted area rug, composed of Chinese silk on a Tibetan wool ground, is available in standard sizes ranging from 6 by 9 feet to 9 by 12 feet. Gardner's underwater world is rendered in 1/5-inch cut-pile with 100 knots per square inch. 860-567-5201

Rosemary Hallgarten - Gio Ponti 

Despite its considerable charms, America's West Coast is a bit far from home for a subject of the British crown. So, what's a transplanted English rose to do? For Rosemary Hallgarten, her husband, and their two sons, the decision was to trade their home in San Francisco for a 200-year-old barn in Westport, Connecticut. “San Francisco is pretty and livable,” says the jewelry-turned-textile designer who lived on the Left Coast for nearly 13 years, “but I love having the proximity to New York.” She also finds New England, well, more English.

In search of a home to renovate, Hallgarten and her husband Simon, a hospitality property developer, fell in love with the 3,600-square-foot pine barn with its large, light-filled spaces and intact hayloft. Working with Studio 1200 principal and architect Kraig Kalashian, the Hallgartens added 5,000 square feet with a contemporary addition that connects to the original barn via a silo-like entry that houses a circular stair. “In San Francisco, we were in a very small space,” says Hallgarten. Here, “I felt like I had the space to put my own things.”

A texture aficionado, Hallgarten's rich pieces blend beautifully with the barn's antique wood planks and the addition's polished concrete floors. In the hayloft-turned-library, a 3-by-9-foot striped rug of alpaca and leather looks down on the living room's 20-by-25-foot Glaze rug, of hand-knotted alpaca. On Glaze rest alpaca-covered sofas, enhanced with throws of alpaca bouclé and 20-inch-square, hand-embroidered cotton pillows. Elsewhere in the room sits Hallgarten's crotched steel and leather chair, covered in shaggy fringe. An upstairs hallway pays homage to Gloria Finn, Hallgarten's rug-designing mother, who in the 1960's made the 5-by-7-foot New Zealand wool piece found there. Finn's work also appears in the bedroom, via the raised pile, hand-tufted Gio Ponti rug, named for the artist who commissioned Finn to interpret his paintings for the floor. Pillows of Suri alpaca sit on the bed. Amid the sample-packed shelves in Hallgarten's office is her favorite lounge chair, a piece of unknown provenance with moveable arms. Lounging on it, one catches sight of Guenevere, a vine-laden floral inspired by a William Morris painting. Clearly Hallgarten cannot escape her English roots. 203-259-1003

Expanko - Spinato and Pesca 

Chevron-shaped Spinato and gridded Pesca in the Italian Veneer collection are inlaid by Italian artisans, to create cork tiles less than 1/8-inch thick. Like other natural products from this manufacturer, these versatile and durable alternatives to hardwood can contribute to LEED credits. 800-345-6202

Designlush - Peacocks 

Be as proud as Peacocks of this spectacular rug, by O'Hare & D'Jafer. The exuberant rendition of the oversize, eye-dazzling motif is sculpted in hand-knotted silk and wool in three psychedelic color schemes. It's a statement piece for those with outgoing personalities. 212-532-5450

 Treadlight - Flooring

Freelance magazine writer Peter Stark and his modern-dancer wife, Amy, bought a forest in Montana and soon realized the small stunted larch trees dotting the landscape were actually preventing the healthy ones from thriving. The couple culled the sickly specimens, using them to build a backyard dance studio, then began harvesting the hale and hearty trees to launch North Slope Sustainable Wood, and the Treadlight brand of flooring, trim, and windows. Stark calls it "a solution to the ongoing wars" between environmentalists and the timber industry. He's not kidding—the local chapter of the Sierra Club is now supplying the company with castoffs from its restoration project in Lolo National Forest in Missoula, Montana. Known as the softest of hardwoods, small-diameter Western larch features a tight grain pattern of honey and cinnamon highlighted by dark pinhole knots. The ¾-inch-thick flooring panels are offered in 1-by-3-inch, 1-by-4, and 1-by-5 widths. More than 1,000 molding profiles are available in standard and custom sizes, along with complete systems for casement, awning, and fixed windows. Take that, Paul Bunyan. 406-327-112

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