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

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