I’ve always been fascinated by textile design. Specifically fabric – but the more I learn about wallpaper (and how it’s not just another incarnation of the same thing), I’ve had to widen the scope of my obsession at bit.
One designer who would be high on my list of “people I wouldn’t mind being” is designer, LuLu Dekwiatkowski of the fabulous LuLu DK line.
And I base that assessment on her talent, creativity and (at least seemingly) rock star life as a designer, artist, business owner, mother and world traveler (and possibly a few other things – but you get the idea).
Her design process is an art form in and of itself, and all of the images I’ve seen on the LuLu DK website and blog (Trail of Inspiration) make me covet her profession even more.
She often starts with collages (her own inspiration boards so to speak) which are actually fine art pieces that not only show in galleries, but were also compiled in a book, LuLu, a travel journal/art book/autobiography, with accompanying paintings and photos – all of which represent her “travels, life and loves.”
I love how you can see these “inspiration collages” alongside the finished product – as well as in actual decorating projects:
The Trail of Inspiration blog is really wonderful in that LuLu really invites you into her world with bits and pieces of her thoughts and work – all in the most charming images. I was particularly taken with these:
My favorite posts of LuLu’s though are the ones describing her textile design process. There have been three so far. Here are some excerpts:
“First I hand paint my artwork onto cloth (painters drop cloth) with acrylic paint and coffee (coffee with milk makes the perfect beige tone). Once the design is finished the screen printer will send me a rough replica on paper, to see if they have matched my vision properly. Once I approve this, they then carve a screen that will be used to print the fabric (a screen is usually a large metal or wood board that lays on a long table and has carvings of the…design on it.
“In the mean time, I send color swatches (above) of all the different colorways I want the mill to do fabric samples of...“
“As I mentioned in a previous blog posting, the bright yellow fabric [below] is my original artwork which we are in the process of making into a linen/cotton fabric.
“I send the original design to the screen making mill and they mimic the design the best they can on the computer in some cases and by hand in others. They then send me a paper sample showing the fabric reproduction that shows how the fabric will look and how the colors will be divided.
“Once I approve it, they will make a screen. A screen is a large wooden or metal board that will lie on a table and create one color of the design. There is a different screen for each color in the design. Each color of a design is printed individually and then left to dry so that the next screen can be placed on the table for the next color to be printed….and over and over. So the more colors a design has, the more screens a design has, the more runs a fabric goes through and of course the more time-consuming and expensive a fabric is.
“In the design above I asked the screen maker to make this design a little washy and toned…Above is an extreme version showing the depth of variance I am able to achieve, if I desire. The design can be more single toned like the original or double toned like the CAD…depending on how extreme I choose the 2 colorways to be. This design has 2 colorways, so for it to be extreme I would pick a light yellow and a dark yellow. For it to be more single toned (like the original) I would pick 2 similar yellows….Once the CAD is approved the screen printers send the carved screens to the printing mill and they start on all my color ways...”
“The next (and most exciting) stage of fabric making! The colorways arrive!
“Here is a sampling of our Sunburst fabric which I have written about in past post…I always make a ton of color samples…mainly because I don’t want to go back to the mill to have others made and also because I am so particular and in love with color, so I want to see every option. This season it is all about bright pastels for me…We usually pick 3-6 colorways per print and I think the ones that dominate the photo are my general picks from the 20 options that came.”
Hopefully there will be more of these to come. I can’t get enough. And HOPEFULLY, I’ve represented it all accurately – since I pulled everything directly from the blog.
I could write more (I didn’t even touch upon the Matouk bedding, linens and decorative pillows and Elson & Company carpets!) – but I think that’s enough inspiration for me today. Now I’m off to dream about my imaginary life as an artist/textile designer…