Friday, December 27, 2013

and then there is the new RUG for Crate & Barrel

Here is a new rug I am thrilled about.  Designed around the same time I designed the pillows but what a difference color makes!  One of my favorite palettes.  To quote from the website: "Ochre, sage and lime green spiral in a kaleidoscope of organic shapes, inspired by the feathery forms and subtle coloration of lichen. Laura Foster Nicholson's abstract medallion design is masterfully realized in hand-tufted 100% wool."
Cecily wool rug
"Cecily" wool rug by Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel

new designs for Crate & Barrel

Petal pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel
I always love it when my new designs come online.  Today I found that the trio of pillows I designed for Crate & Barrel for Spring 2014 are online.  They are fun!  Falling into the Suzani tradition, they are screen printed linen and then embellished with embroidery and crocheted flowers.  Love them!

Petal pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel
Vinova pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Radiant Orchid?

As a designer I have been involved with Pantone for some time, often with a quizzical attitude due to the impossibility of naming and numbering every single possible color (I never seem to find Pantone numbers for the colors I choose!).  And yet I have the privilege of writing for Pantone View, their quite wonderful online magazine about color, and I have a great time doing it.  I love color.  I often have said that an artist (or designer) can't afford to love or hate any color -- it is all about context.  So, here all week I have been digesting the news about Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014.  (18-3224 TPX)  Oh, dear, not my favorite color.


But!  now there is an opportunity to be challenged!  I am not very interested in overtly following trends but there is something of a thrill in taking on a difficult subject (orchid?) and making it work in something beautiful.

I remember many years ago working on a commission for a very highly respected interior designer in Chicago.  One of the women on her team was examining a tapestry I was presenting, and landed her beautifully manicured nail on a spot of color in the piece and uttered, with barely disguised contempt, "Pink?"  It really was a kind of orchid/fuschia pink, as I recall.

Yet what would this piece be without it?  So I am going to play with this one.  Slip it in, here and there.  Use it as a witticism, or a little hint of passion.  Watch this space.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Houston International Quilt Market 2013

A week ago I was in Houston, Texas, finishing up 3 days of introducing my new collection of quilting weight fabrics, Lush Harvest, with Troy Corporation’s Riverwoods International brand.    A year ago I went down to the legendary trade show to spend time with Renaissance Ribbons, who manufacture and distribute my LFN Textiles Artist’s Ribbons line, and strolled around shopping for someone who could produce quilt weight fabrics with my designs.  Dorothy Troy stepped up to the job and was delighted to take on the new vegetable designs and text-based towels I had been working on, and now here they are!
That isn’t the real story here, though.  In order to gear up for this new market I have had to take a steep learning curve.  Being a textile and ribbon designer is not the same thing as being a designer of fabrics intended to be cut up and made into pieced items!  Some crossover is there, of course, but there is always the context of how the fabric to be used to be grappled with.  So instead of waiting demurely in my booth to speak with potential new customers, I kept venturing out to try to get a feel of what goes on here.
I took away a fantastic impression of intensive activity.  What a complex network of creativity goes into this business!  You have the people like me, who design repeat pattern.  You have the fabric companies who get that fabric manufactured and distributed to the retail shops (who come from all over the WORLD to buy).  You have the professional pattern designers who delight in contriving new ways to cut up and piece these various fabrics into sometimes traditional, sometimes modern, compositions.  You have the publishers, selling books and patterns to showcase the work of the pattern makers.  And you have to have very deep pockets and a genius for display to catch anyone’s eye in this hugely kaleidoscopic arena.
Herein I will simply post photos of some of the marvels I saw, starting with my own humble first effort.

Aardvark quilt patterns

Andover Fabrics

Blue Underground, quilt patterns and fabric line for Troy

Kaffe Fassett art quilt

Kaffe Fassett art quilt

Kaffe Fassett for Westminster

Kaffe Fassett for Westminster

Kaffe Fassett

Modern Quilt Studio patterns and books

Aardvark quilt patterns

Weeks Dye Works, hand dyed fibers & fabrics

Aardvark Quilt Patterns

Andover Fabrics

Add caption

Starry Night Hollow for Troy

Weeks Dye Works hand dyed threads

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Kitchen Cat

The small town in which I live has a lively culture of antique (read: second hand) shops, which are great fun to browse when I am at the end of my creative rope.  The other day I found an old quilty cat doorstop – it felt like it had a brick inside! – and dragged it back to the studio for inspiration.  Today, feeling ready for Market and with a scrap of energy any some fabric left, I made my own version, complete with going out to my garden and digging up a little sack of gravel to weight it down.  She reminds me of my first cat, an orange tabby I called “Monster”.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Another Day of Sewing with Veggies

As I wrote yesterday, I have been busy making kitchen oriented things with my new line of fabrics, Lush Harvest, for Troy Corporation.  So today's produce included placemat, lined basket, potholders, and a napkin, most edged with either LFN Ribbons or hand-cut bias tapes.  I'm done - time to pack it all up for Houston!

Monday, October 21, 2013

All Busy Gals Need a Good Apron

I have been wildly busy in the last 6 weeks doing all manner of short trips and miscellaneous, but not insignificant, studio projects.  Last weekend I went up to Chicago to the Troy Fabrics Fabriganza sale at their warehouse, to introduce my new Lush Harvest quilting fabric line to their loyal customers.  This week we are taking it on the road to the Houston International Quilt Market, and you should be able to find them at your local quilting shop not long afterward.


Last week was a flurry of sample making: my fabrics are mostly vegetable designs, and people tend not to want to use vegetable motifs on bedding, so I felt I needed to make some items that were for the kitchen using the new fabrics, and the coordinating new LFN ribbons from Renaissance Ribbons.

So here is a quickie set of snaps of yours truly modeling the aprons.  Please ignore the bad hair!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

more Parisian windows for back to school

Red and yellow for fall:
well, not from Paris, a hand made vintage oil cloth doll
belonging to my friend, Rita.

a shoe store making large of the ribbed bottoms of the sneakers
a totally cute doll-dress made of appliqued knit.

more things to make with ribbon

Sometime in the next few weeks I will be introducing a number of new vegetable ribbons.  I am still waiting for stock, but I have been playing with the production samples, and came up with this sweet little felt tomato with my new small tomato ribbon hand-embroidered on it.  In this season of lush ripe tomatoes, I thought it would be nice to share it.

Also I made a few little lavender-stuffed dollies with ribbon scraps.

Monday, August 26, 2013

woven -- and other -- chairs

I noticed a number of chairs around Paris that were woven. 
Firstly the ubiquitous woven café chairs, which vary in colors
but always around the sturdy bamboo frame.

Then at CSAO Africa, which, sadly, was closed,
a wonderful woven chair frame.

And at the same place, 2 beaded Yoruba thrones.  Not woven, of course,
but still, fantastic and out of the ordinary textiles.