Browsing articles in "From the Showrooms"

Casamance –

Jun 30, 2008 | Leave a Comment

About ten days ago I was introduced to Casamance, a French fabric company with lots of great prints. I’m particularly in love with this plaid, called “Neapolis”. The color combinations, scale and layering of the grid make it really hip somehow. (So many plaids are either too simplistic, too small, or too country-kitchen; this avoids all such pitfalls.)

Jean Monro –

May 22, 2008 | Leave a Comment

The company Jean Monro is a textile manufacturer with a focus on traditional English prints — lots and lots of flowers. They’re represented in the US through Clarence House (who in turn has individual representation in fabric showrooms throughout the country). The above “Geisha” pattern (I love that acid mint color) makes me wonder about the relationship between “the West” today and China — and how this relationship relates (or doesn’t) to periods of chinoiserie obsession in Europe, beginning in the 17th century. While art and decoration under this category expresses a European idealization of China, and the cultural fascination can be seen as a compliment of sorts, it’s not really about “becoming” Chinese in any true sense. Today I don’t think there are many examples of a broad Western interest in a Chinese aesthetic — but now China is seen as obsessed with Westernization. My thought process is clunky here but I guess what I’m getting at is a question: how does today’s artistic relationship between Europe and China relate (or diverge) from that of previous eras, what has been lost, replaced, or transformed in both region’s artistic view of the other?

Haori & Jimbaori –

May 13, 2008 | 1 Comment

Out from the dense (endless) number of fabric wings I often scan through at the showrooms, the fabric above from Clarence House leaped out at me last week. Something about the scale, palette and honeycomb pattern is very quieting / soothing. (Larger cloud-like medallions of different colors – partially shown here – float above the ground pattern.) The fabric is named “haori” after a type of Japanese kimono. According to the Met Museum website a haori is one of two types of dofuko, a jacket worn by high-ranking Samurai. The haori is a short jacket with sleeves and a jimbaori (the second type of dofuko) is a sleevlees jacket. The jimbori pictured above is part of the Met’s collection and shows the same type of honeycomb pattern in its interior lining.

Rubelli’s Rothko

Apr 15, 2008 | Leave a Comment

On the subject of famous artists designing (or in this case being the inspiration behind) fabulous textiles, here’s a new pattern from Rubelli’s 2008 collection called Rothko. (First, a a shot of it upholstered on a chair from Rubelli’s website, then a larger view of the pattern itself and finally, a close-up.) For reasons I can’t quite articulate the pattern seems very Japanese to me — perhaps it’s the simplicity of the pattern combined with the organic contours of the multiple colors swatches (the overall repeat is over 15″). The depth and thickness of the patches makes the fabric especially appealing. As I’ve tried to show in the close-up image each color is built by a mass of overlapping threads, many going in opposite directions. The effect really is of pigments dabbed onto a painter’s pallette.

Galbraith & Paul –

Feb 7, 2008 | Leave a Comment


With its tangy spring colors and lyrical pattern Galbraith & Paul’s brand new “Birds” print on linen is definitely post-worthy! Plus it gives me an excuse to briefly highlight a company I’ve admired for a long time. Perhaps most importantly, G&P are producers of contemporary craft actually made in the USA (unlike so many fabric lines contracted out to anonymous mills overseas). And since every fabric is hand block printed, their fabrics actually look and feel handmade. So with G&P you’re buying beautiful designs and also buying into small-scale, eco-friendly American industry.

Victoria Hagan Home –

Feb 4, 2008 | Leave a Comment


Not much to say for this post — just a lovely new fabric from Victoria Hagan Home. The brown flower petals make it a bit “off” in an interesting way, taking the pattern from being pretty to pretty and interesting. It has a kind of Arts and Crafts feel to it too. I can imagine it in a craftsman bungalow, or in some happily worn down house filled with hand thrown pots.

Flocked Flannel –

Dec 13, 2007 | Leave a Comment


We’re not having ice storms, snow, or even rain, but by San Francisco standards it’s cold! A nippy 47 degrees. The chill has led me back to a fabric I ooh’d and ahh’d over earlier this year: Nobilis’ “Atout Flanelle”. It’s a super soft wool flannel with a very delicate flocked pattern. It would be beautiful on a headboard or chairs or even as drapery. Very sophisticated-lodge/cabin in feel. And while I’m unsure about flocking in general (and there seems to be a lot of it these days) it’s very subtle here.

Rose Cumming –

Nov 20, 2007 | 3 Comments

Having been briefly introduced to Edinburgh Weavers through searches for my last post it seems like a good time to visit Rose Cumming, the early early twentieth century decorator and textile designer. Dessin Fournir has recently rediscovered and re-introduced some of her patterns, helping her live on today. (Click here to link to their page and her bio.) I first read about Cumming after falling unexpectedly for the above pink animal print. I’m not generally big on animal prints but there’s something so girly and arty about this one — and I love it on the 100% linen ground. Kind of “Grey Gardens.” In some alternate universe I’d have it as drapery on a super tall window. Also above is a lush giraffe print viscose velvet also from her line. And a picture of her (woman on the left) as a suffragette.

Tapa Translation –

Oct 10, 2007 | Leave a Comment

Bergamo (through their Rubelli line) has a really fresh grouping of three patterns or so done with hand blocking in black and gold metallic dye on a bright linen ground. They cry out for use in some beachy setting — on pillows, drapery or bedding. The one shown above looks like a contemporary interpretation of traditional Fijian Tapa cloth patterns, example pictured at top.


Oct 2, 2007 | Leave a Comment


There are plenty of fabrics available through showrooms that I really like – but there are others that I LOVE and need to hold onto, usually in memo form, for long periods of time. Three of my current top ten (or so) have this great chartreuse color — a color that’s both ugly and beautiful, and more enticing because of that tension. This first one I have cherished for years now — it’s from one of my favorite companies Raoul Textiles. The second is from Manuel Canovas. And then more subtly, the “Marrakesh” pattern from the always exciting company — Mokum.