It’s been almost a year in the making, but today I can finally share a collection of 44 (!!) patterned fabrics created in collaboration with Robert Kaufman Fabrics! The collection is called Arroyo, and was inspired by the colors and patterns of my life in Los Angeles….
I was hoping to share my favorite home decor books from 2016 before the end of the year… but better late than never! These books are just as relevant as ever, and I think you’ll find lots of great decorating tips and interior design inspiration in each of these picks.
Living with Pattern: Color, Texture, and Print at Home by Rebecca Atwood
I love Rebecca Atwood’s painterly prints, and this book was a lovely peek into both her life as a textile designer, as well as a handbook for adding pattern to your home with style and flair. The watercolor illustrations totally charmed me, and I relished seeing photos of her studio and pattern making process.
The real-world examples of homes brimming with pattern were beautiful, and I loved the way she broke down how to decorate with pattern, while still maintaining balance and keeping a room from looking too busy. The DIY projects felt advanced, like upholstery projects and dying fabrics, but I still felt confident that they were achievable — It’s nice change to feel challenged by projects like this, rather than underwhelmed.
Simple Matters: Living with Less and Ending Up with More by Erin Boyle
I pre-ordered this book back in January, because I’ve been a fan of Erin’s blog, Reading My Tea Leaves for quite a while. Her perspective on living minimally, and making thoughtful choices about everything you keep in your home is so valuable. The book is divided into nine chapters, and my favorites were the sections on decluttering, simplifying, and decorating.
Erin’s personal insights on small-space living and conscious consumption were really compelling. We agree that it’s important to adopt sustainable approaches to living, and that those efforts are beneficial to both the environment and our own well being. Her thesis is a powerful one: that “living small” is beneficial and accessible to us all—whether we’re renting a tiny apartment or purchasing a three-story house.
The Finer Things: Timeless Furniture, Textiles, and Details by Christiane Lemieux
This lovely gilded tome is a comprehensive guide to selecting heirloom-quality pieces for your home — the unique, and well made items that imbue enduring style into your home. This desk-worthy reference helps you select, install, and style high-quality decorative elements in your home, from wallpaper, art frames and floors to furniture, fabrics, light fixtures and more.
The World of Charles and Ray Eames edited by Catherine Ince
The more I learn about the Eames’ influence on the world of design, the more I realize the impact they still have on the design world have today. I’m particularly drawn to Ray Eames’ textile designs, and this impressive archive of their work was fun to pore over. The book contains handwritten notes, sketches, and snapshots, as well as beautiful photos of those modern interiors and furniture that we know and love.
I often mention how Cotton & Flax textiles are made with linen/cotton blend fabrics, but you may be wondering, “What’s so great about natural fabrics?”
There is a long, rich tradition of using natural fibers in fabrics, and I find that connection to our roots meaningful. Linen in particular has been used since ancient times, often for clothing, and was even used as a currency. In Ancient Egypt, linen was seen as a symbol of purity, and was worn as a display of wealth. I love creating linen throw pillows with that rich history in mind.
Natural fibers have the potential to be grown in a sustainable way, which contributes positively towards my goals of running a green studio. I’ve read studies that show that flax (the plant used to make linen fabric) requires much less water, and considerably fewer pesticides and fertilizers than other crops, which means less environmental impact overall. Only the best flax fibers are used for making linen textiles, but no part of the plant is wasted in the production process, and the leftover seeds, oil, straw and fiber are used to make many secondary products, like soap or paper. Few products are so efficiently used as Flax.
Natural fabrics, and linen in particular, have all sorts of great properties. Linen doesn’t pill or produce lint, which means your textiles will look newer, longer. Linen tea towels are easy to launder, and become softer and more absorbent with each use. Since linen is made from plant fibers, it is recyclable and biodegradable, but since linen textiles look and feel timeless, they won’t be hitting the recycling or compost bin anytime soon. Plus, linen has a uniquely luxurious look, which is why I love using it in so many of my designs!
Moving the studio from Los Angeles to San Diego has been a bit of a bumpy transition, but I am happy to report that I’m getting settled into a new a new studio space, and getting back to work as usual. If you’ve been lamenting that your favorite product is out of stock, many items will be restocked this week, so keep an eye on the shop!
Looking forward to sharing peeks of the studio soon, likely on Instagram first. It’s a bit messy and full of boxes at the moment, but I’m happy to have a place to call home.
While I spent most of the month preoccupied with the studio move, there were a few great things that happened in January:
- New stockist The Social Type opened in LA! Find our tea towels and coasters in their Silverlake retail shop.
- We added new retail stockists, including Mantel and Need Supply!
- I marched in Los Angeles with tons of other amazing designers and small business owners!
Looking forward to spending lots of time in the studio in February, and getting settled in.
2015 was a year of fun challenges for Cotton & Flax. I tackled another trade show (NY Now), expanded into licensing my designs, taught workshops, and moved into a lovely little studio in Northeast Los Angeles. This month, I moved out of that wonderful studio, and promptly realized that I never shared the full studio tour here on the blog! Whoops! Time flies — hopefully you’ll still enjoy this glimpse into Cotton & Flax HQ.
I persuaded my friend Jessica Comingore to hop up on a ladder to photograph me at work over the summer — she was a great sport while shooting this studio series for West Elm’s blog.
One of the things I loved most about this studio was the light! The huge windows kept things bright and sunny all day long. A great environment for happy plants and a happy artist. This long table is where I cut down fabric and sew printed fabrics into finished products.
I did tons of printing in this studio, and my printing table is was the perfect place to print each panel of fabric that was made into a Cotton & Flax product.
You might be surprised that my studio was only 220 sq. ft! I was able to do tons of printing projects here, and while this screenprinting area isn’t spacious, it was a great exercise in making the most of a small space. You can see my screen storage area under the printing table, where I stored all the screens that featured Cotton & Flax designs.
I stored products and fabric on shelves along one of the long walls, and it was nice to see my work on display on a regular basis.
The large tabletop is perfect for spreading out and working on large projects. I kept a painted portrait of my cat Frida over my desk, which was painted by my studiomate, Keiko Brodeur.
I’ll really miss this studio! I moved the studio down to San Diego this month, and I’m already missing the vibrant neighborhood of Highland Park, and the friendly faces of my studiomates. I’ve moved into a small studio in San Diego, and I’m excited to get it unpacked, and hopefully share another tour of Cotton & Flax HQ when everything gets settled in.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your support of Cotton & Flax this year! I feel so lucky to pursue my creative work full time, and I couldn’t do it without my community behind me. Thanks for your kind words on social media, for telling your friends and family about my work, and for adding Cotton & Flax pieces to your homes!
It’s a busy time of year, and many of us are feeling overwhelmed by everything going on around us. I’ve been fighting the stress of this crazy year by spending time at home with loved ones, donating to organizations that support civil liberties, and buying holiday gifts from my favorite local artists and neighborhood shops that I want to see thrive. There are tons of reasons to shop small, and I hope you’ll join me in supporting the small businesses and causes that you love this season.