Although my shop/studio cloth. exists only in my mind, I admire others who continue or create a shopping environment that encourages and sells interesting and unusual objects (and supports local artists!) There’s a new kid on the block called House. … Continue reading
A friend recently complimented me on my design and decorating style. She asked me how I choose things for my house that make it feel like a home but not “over decorated” like this:
I said I think what makes a home feel like a home is what you don’t put in it as much as what you do put in it. It’s that simple.
If you put cool things in it – you have a cool home.
If you put thoughtful things in it – you have a thoughtful home:
I have a house. An old house.
I’ve spent several years fixing up my house. Inside and out.
The renovations began by removing the vinyl siding that covered its very old wood frame. I could almost hear the house sigh, as the yucky yellow vinyl was removed. (fyi- not only is vinyl siding ugly and unhealthy for you and your house, but the life cycle of vinyl siding is toxic to the environment on every level and completely unnecessary for a low maintenance home). For more insight into the overall badness of vinyl siding click here:
First, I put a new energy efficient heating system in and I re-sided the house with red cedar shingles and wooden window trim. I replaced most of the old windows (with wooden windows of course!) and added insulation. I had the chimney rebuilt (to look old) I threw in another door (to the backyard) and two new windows (south facing).
The interior was much more complicated and took days, weeks, months of design work, research and decision making. My motivation was a desire to have a home that was, warm, efficient, beautiful and comfortable.
I started with the downstairs, transforming the former kitchen into the living room and a small non-functioning (but south facing) dungeon of a room into the kitchen. What transpired over the next year looked something (or a lot) like this:
I get tired just thinking about it.
Luckily, when I finished it looked really good, was very comfortable, efficient, fun, cozy and I like it. A lot.
Thinking about my dad, reminded me of his mother, Lillian, (known as Grammie to her grandchildren and her husband Grampa) who worked in a shoelace factory. I wonder if her access to textiles (in a sense) inspired my dad to go into the textile world? Probably not, but you never know.
In any case, it got me thinking about shoelaces and inspiration and I wondered if shoelaces could possibly be a source of inspiration? Apparently the answer is yes if you talk to Terry Moore, director of the Radius Foundation and author of this 5 minute TED talk. Shoelaces also inspired a guy named Ian to write about shoelace tying techniques, and inspired a song by The Submarines. They haven’t directly inspired me, but they did get me to think about inspiration in general. So in some twisted shoelacy kind of way, that would also be a yes for me.
looking at images of shoelaces made me realize that I don’t even want to think about shoelaces except when I’m tying them.
this one is particularly disturbing:
(they’re sneakers made from pita bread)
Without going into too much back story, I want to give credit where credit is due. There’s a lot to go around but I’ll keep it brief and kind of simple.
My experience with retail developed during a past relationship with an architect/urban planner/developer who created a shopping destination area in an urban village on the west coast. After studying and working with famed urban planner, and author of The Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander, he (my past relationship friend) and a partner designed and developed a street that consisted of a collection of unique stores, businesses and restaurants, surrounded by housing and artists lofts. There was a synergy that created a unique energy making the area self-sustaining, approachable and very desirable. This relationship taught me a lot about not only what a successful and creative business needed, but also where a successful and creative business should be located.
I was also a working artist (painter) and teacher (art) and mother (divorced) of a teenage son, however my earliest design experience started as the daughter of a chemist who worked for a textile firm in New York City. Our dad would bring home sheets and towels that looked a lot like this:
(often designed by NY designers such as Vera and Gloria Vanderbilt) and new (at the time) things such as fiberglass chairs and other items made from experimental textiles.
These were some of the most memorable moments of my childhood – as it relates to my relationship with my dad anyway.
So when I moved to Providence, RI to open a store, I really had my dad in mind (my dad was born, raised and educated in Providence) but I also had in mind the idea of working with local talent to create and market unique and locally made products. And that’s exactly what happened.
With the wealth of talented artists coming out of the RISD textile department, I was flooded with inspired artists and inspired by the creative talent at my doorstep.
I worked with artists such as Elyse Allen, Richard Killeany, Emily Mills Reed, Phillip May, who ran the looms at RISD for years, and many others. The most productive and longest collaboration was with Cynthia Treen – an extraordinary and brilliant talent – former RISD student and Martha Stewart expat – Cynthia allowed me to realize the possibilities of creative enterprise with the use of a sewing machine (with a skilled seamstress at the helm) Don’t get me wrong, Cynthia is not JUST a highly skilled seamstress but also an amazing creative. Check out her website at Threadfollower.
Many, many thanks to everybody mentioned here and not mentioned here. You know who you are.
cloth. started as a concept: then it became a store: Now it’s just a blog where I will post images from the store, the concept and my ideas behind the concept and the store. Maybe some day it will be … Continue reading