Stephanie Seal Brown

As I create new posts again on Sweet Peach, I of course want to share items that are beautifully crafted and photographed. So when I saw the work of textile designer, Stephanie Seal Brown of Louisville, Kentucky the other day, I knew I'd start my holiday geared posts for 2015 with her. I'm such a sucker for tea towels...

Stephanie likes to elevate the simple tasks in life- like drying dishes. As I echo that sentiment, I would love nothing more than a pair of her gorgeous linen towels in my kitchen. At 17x24" the towels are well sized and meant to be used and to stick around a while. Well made things have that added benefit...

A tea towel may seem like an unusual gift but for anyone who loves their kitchen and time spent there with family and friends, it's a thoughtful item that is functional and pretty, durable and cherishable. And each of these colorful, lovely towels, crafted by the hands of Stephanie, are a southern made gift that won't soon be forgotten. To see more of Stephanie's handiwork, click here.

 

Images: stephaniesealbrown.com    Content: Sweet Peach

 

The Sara Lee Parker Pouch

Ever since I first blogged about Sara Lee Parker's adorable napkins and tea towels, I've been an avid fan. So I loved receiving an email from her last week showcasing a new item in her repertoire... pouches. 

Sara resides in Athens, Georgia with her husband Simon, where together they screen print her fabric designs. These cute pouches, all individually lined in complementary fabric, are made from their off-cuts so every one has its own unique look. 

The prices are good too. This small chicken pouch is $15, the larger fabric pouches featured above are $28. Check out Sara's site to see her expanding textile collection, which includes table runners, cards, prints, aprons and buckets. 

 

Images: Sara Lee Parker      Content: Sweet Peach 


Miranda Bennett

If I could be more carefree with cash, I think I'd have a closet full of textiles. I place the blame on artists like Miranda Bennett of Austin, Texas...

Miranda's fabrics are created in small batches and are all naturally dyed. The textiles are meant to be functional, worn day or night. 

Miranda also dabbles in fashion, as she should. Her lovely pieces are simple and classic, with a care for Grecian draping and luxe fabrications. See her entire collection of apparel and textiles, here. 

 

Images: mirandabennettstudio.com     Content: Sweet Peach


The High Fiber

This past Sunday, I visited the Pop-Up shop at 200 Mill in Marietta, Georgia. The incredible artists who run this workshop, studio and retail space, (2 of which I've featured before on Sweet Peach: Ashley Woodson Bailey and Lindsay Troutman) open the Pop-Up one weekend a month. It doesn't disappoint...

The inviting, colorful space quickly gets your attention and the first item I couldn't stop admiring were these lovely towels by Daphne Cohan of The High Fiber, based in North Carolina. 

Daphne works in her home studio in a small mountain town just north of Asheville. She is inspired by nature, simplicity and community, which is apparent in each and every textile. 

As any friend of mine would attest, I love a good tea towel. But I have to say Daphne's really stood out to me- not only for their sweet designs, but because they were so soft. These are exactly the kind of tea towels I love to own. Plus, Daphne hand prints each one using organic, American made fabrics and solvent free, environmentally kind inks. 

Check out the entirety of Daphne's collection, which includes snack bags, totes and shopping bags, here. (or see in person at the next 200 Mill Pop-Up) Plus, peruse her new line of textiles, all made with the help of the sun and environmentally friendly materials, here. 

 

Images: The High Fiber;  First Image: 200 Mill       Content: Sweet Peach


Bunglo

The recipe for success is elusive, ever changing, subjective...but when I read about Austin based artist, Shay Spaniola, I can't help but think she's got it all figured out. 

Shay has a keen eye for color and design, plus she loves to travel and be inspired. To better understand marketing and retail, she was once a part of Anthropologie's visual team as well. Combined, her many talents allow her to stand out amongst the fray. Her work feels original and visually engaging. And my hunch is it's only going to get better and better...

In Shay's shop, Bunglo, you'll find these gorgeous pillows with her hand painted patterns as well as artwork, ceramics and furniture to name a few. Color and energetic patterns are her niche but there's a softness to it. As she shares on her site, she seeks to transform "residential and commercial spaces into meditative environments with light, soul-lifting patterns." 

These sweet jewelry dishes are a collaboration with Bunglo and Kristen Saksa Juen- an incredibly talented Austin artist I blogged about last week. 

And then there's the original Knoll tulip chair. How great is this? Shay found this vintage gem in disarray and gave it a much needed makeover with fabric of her own design. It's tasteful yet modern and fun. It's a piece with staying power too, just like Shay. If I had to guess, both will be around for a long time to come...

 

Images: Bunglo.co   Content: Sweet Peach 


Studio Pano

There are various reasons for liking a picture on Instagram. Last week, I liked this one because I loved the pattern, the colors. Turns out it's via a very talented artist, Kristen Reinhart Davis of Studio Pano in Louisville, Kentucky...

As I'm a lover of tea towels and hand blocked printing, I can't help but be a bit giddy when the two converge. Kristen currently offers a handful of her designs on natural linen fabric in colors like fig, bluegrass and charcoal.

Kristen, "My latest series is all about organic lines and how they interplay. I've gathered many sketches over the past months and am now bringing them out of my sketchbook and into life using block prints, screen prints and hand painting on natural fibers."

I love following artists like Kristen on Instagram because you get to see those sketches in progress and a bit of their process. Kristen, "I never leave home without my sketchbook- you just never know when inspiration might strike." Peruse Kristen's entire shop, here. 

 

Images: Studio Pano    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Far Fetched

Far Fetched is a good name for a shop that sources its goods from around the world. Based in Clifton, Texas, this brick and mortar (and online shop) caters to those who crave a bit of unexpected style...

Melissa Johnson is the owner of Far Fetched and she has an impeccable eye for uncommon yet tasteful home goods. Each beautifully designed piece seems to evoke a question or comment- they're conversation starters in the best way possible. 

In Melissa's shop, you'll find furniture, jewelry, home goods, men and baby gifts. I particularly love all the textiles sourced from Peru, Italy, New Zealand and Australia. 

This weekender canvas and leather bag is an attractive, functional bag to own, while the canvas storage baskets have a cool, original look that are perfect for pretty storage. Melissa also offers a monthly goodie box for $22 which I suspect is really good... No matter where you are in the world, see the entire Far Fetched shop, here.

 

Photos: Far Fetched    Content: Sweet Peach


The Masculine, Urban Bed.

Bethanne Knudson and Stephan Michelson are the founders of The Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, North Carolina. It is here they partake and oversee in the production of jacquard fabrics to create luxurious textiles for the home. To their credit, 100% of the designing and weaving, the cutting and the sewing, happens at The Mill.

To create luxurious, super soft throws, coverlets, pillows and shams, they rely on fabrics that are warm and cozy, yet breathable. All of their textiles are made from natural fibers of cotton, wool, alpaca, linen and/or bamboo. And to ensure high quality and low impact, no chemicals are used in the weaving or finishing at the Mill. 

They currently offer four different collections. This one, the Brooklyn Collection shows off their manly side. As Bethanne shared, "It's a masculine, urban bed that was inspired by a fabric we make that is reminiscent of men's wear." 

Inside the Mill, you'll find Sew Co., founded by Libby O'Bryan. As stated on their site, "Sew Co.'s crew is composed of veteran factory workers who learned how to sew on the job during the South's manufacturing heydays of the 60's and 70's and have been sewing ever since."

The vets work alongside women who have studied fine dressmaking and costume design, so it's safe to say this is an impressive group of artisans. Together they utilize eight Jacquard and two high speed Dobby looms to create their fabrics. 

It was very important for Bethanne to create a manufacturing company much different from those of the past. Every step of the process happens under one roof, ensuring quality control- plus, it's very much a team effort here. Learn more about The Oriole Mill and see the entirety of their scrumptious, luxurious collections, here. 

 

Photos: Andrew Day/NY Times; The Oriole Mill     Content: Sweet Peach


A Little Weather

I have a strong memory of my grandmother knitting afghans throughout my childhood. It was something that she loved to do and she did it well. A hand made blanket is infused with so much time and passion, it tells a story unto itself. Lucky for us, Jessica Green, a textile artist from Marshall, North Carolina, is continuing the tradition of our grandmothers and their grandmothers...

As her process is 100% done by hand, Jessica is devoutly true to her craft. She utilizes traditional weave structures and patterns that were common to colonial weaving of 19th century America and Europe. 

Jessica, "I am deeply inspired by the history of 'women's work' and women's place in weaving as well as the way women have carried this history along, lifting it up each time it's almost forgotten. I draw upon those women every day." 

Jessica shears her goats twice a year, which she then mixes with the sheep fleece sourced from neighborhood farms. Jessica, "The mixed fleeces are dyed with natural dyes (sometimes left undyed, and sometimes dyed with a combination of natural dye and a low acid protein dye) and finally I spin the fleece into yarn." It takes Jessica 3-4 months to spin enough yarn for just one blanket. Then the weaving begins...

Jessica researches online and keeps a few historical weaving books closeby for inspiration. Once a creative direction is decided upon, she starts to draft her motif. Jessica, "From the beginning the design starts to feel a little more mine- as human error creeps in. Once I have the gist of the mathematics of the design, then I'm free to riff, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot."

This gorgeous coverlet is part of Jessica's hand spun collection, as all the wool used is from a local sheep and her own goats. Jessica, "I washed and carded the fleece myself and spun it into the beautiful yarn that is the foundation for this blanket." 

I love the world that Jessica has created for herself. She raises her animals, forages for natural dyes, shears her goats and sheep, then spins and weaves her yarn into magnificent pieces to treasure and share. Jessica, "I find deep satisfaction on carrying on an ancient art form that links nearly every culture that has ever existed."

Jessica grew up in Texas but recently moved to North Carolina and feels quite at peace in her new surroundings. Jessica, "I am completely enamored by Appalachia. It is distinct and historic and fiercly guards its culture. It's lawless and wild and storytelling is deeply embedded in everday life." And because of artisans like Jessica, the rich and varied stories imbedded in this ancient art form continue to be told. 

 

Photos: A Little Weather   Content: Sweet Peach


Block Printing with Kari Fisher

Beautiful fabrics tend to stop me in my tracks, particularly ones that translate an artist's unique, creative spirit.

These one of a kind pillows and fabrics have all been crafted by the hand of Kari Fisher, in a style I was not all that familiar with. Until now...

Last Monday on a visit to AmericasMart in Atlanta, I came upon a booth of colorful, eye catching fabrics. I asked the woman there how they were made and she replied, "this is hand block printing." I then asked (hoping the origin would be southern), "from where?" but she said, "India." So...I instagrammed a shot of this fabric I'm now obsessing over to ask who in the South does this? Lucky for me, I got a reply...

Turns out, Kari Fisher lives just a few miles away from me in the Virginia Highlands area of Atlanta. On a recent visit to her home, I learned how Kari was an interior designer for six years before starting her own business in crafting block prints for pillows and custom pieces. 

Block printing has been around for thousands of years with origins in India, China and Japan. The earliest surviving examples come via China, which date back to before the year 220. This art form became popular and lasting as the artist at hand was able to create vibrant, intricate designs without the need for multiple tools or arduous processing. Plus, the results were immediate and impressive. 

A lover of art history, Kari taught herself how to block print and when I asked what she loved about it, she shared that it's "causal, flexible and impefect." As each imprint is done by hand, there will always be variations in coloring, texture and alignment. That's what makes each piece uniquely beautiful. Plus, as Kari will attest, it's an inexpensive business (or hobby) to start as materials needed are minimal and the medium provides incredible flexibilty in playing with pattern, color and fabric.  

What's beautiful too is how Kari can take an ancient art and make it feel modern and accessible. The colors and designs she creates are very fresh and in demand, yet still feel timeless. These are well made textiles that are made to be passed on, generation to generation. 

Kari has bunches of cool wooden blocks that she has designed throughout her workshop. It just made me want to sit down with a block of wood and knife and start carving...


Kari made this incredible elephant pillow for One Kings Lane, which was recently featured in their shop. I'm a sucker for this Draper pattern too which is a geometric Greek key print. Plus, how can you say no to turquoise? 

It was certainly a thrill to take a sneak peek into the workspace of a block print artist and learn more about this amazing art form (that I hope to see more of). Kari doesn't know another artist in the state of Georgia that does what she does and believes there are currently very few hand block artists thoughout the US. 

All of Kari's creations are handmade using 100% linen fabric. As an Interior Designer by trade, Kari custom makes much of her work for designers throughout the state and beyond. So whatever your heart's desire- if you want a specific hand block print made in a particular color and size with this or that fabric and embellishment- she's your girl. Bookmark her site as she'll be expanding her line of wares this year to include napkins, tea towels and fabrics by the yard. And thank you Kari- not only for teaching yourself this lovely, ancient art form, but for answering my Instagram!

 

Photos: karifisherdesigns.com and Sweet Peach       Content: Sweet Peach


Sara Lee Parker Textiles

When I was at West Elm Atlanta last weekend for my Sweet Peach Picks event, I stumbled upon a new artist in the West Elm Local section. Her name is Sara Lee Parker from Athens, Georgia, and she handcrafts the prettiest textiles. 

Sara works side by side with her husband, Simon to screen print all of her designs by hand. Sara, "We have an 18 foot table and literally stand on opposite sides of the table to pass the squeegee back and forth." 

The best part is Sara uses water based inks and a sustainable, hemp certified organic cotton blend as a base fabric. Sarah, "It may cost more, but it's like buying groceries- once you learn what goes into factory-farmed, you can't stomach the cheap stuff." 

I'm a firm believer that you can't have too many tea towels- especially ones as lovely as these. Sara sells all her textiles at various southern shops, (including West Elm Atlanta) and online, here. 

 

 

Soma Goods

My friend Bradley texted me a couple of weeks ago and told me how I needed to meet with Jen Soong of Soma Goods. She, along with a refugee community of women artisans, create pretty pillows using upcycled global fabrics, many of which are Indian saris. I arrived at her Decatur, Georgia home last week...

Jen is a very kind and generous soul. It was clear from the moment we met that she created this company to do good. Her mission is three fold- to help the planet (by reusing fabrics), to help women (she employs refugee women in the Atlanta community to sew the products) and to help the community as a whole (at least 10% of each sale goes to her non profit partners, Fugees Family and Global Village Project). She's a gem.  

Jen "I hope to appeal to people who care about the world but also love an artful home." Her pillows come in four sizes; 12 x 16, 12 x 20, 18 x 18 and 20 x 20. She's also happy to custom make any pillow using your own favorite piece of fabric.

As sari's are often only worn on special occasions, there is a plethora of extra ones available. She finds many donated from within her community. Sari's are usually 5-6 yards in length, so the women artisans are able to make 10-15 pillows from just one donated sari. They also utilize upcyled fabrics from Africa, Japan and China. 

Jen and her team also handcraft scarves and accessories, just click here to learn more. What I love about Jen is she has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of ideas. Having a desire to create a space for local artisans to share their wares, she also created Root City Market in Atlanta (the next one is Saturday, September 14) I can't wait to go... she's an artist doing good in so many ways. From a text to a visit at her front door, I had no idea what I would find. It looks like a new friend and a ton of inspiration...

 

Photos: Josh Meister; August & Jean Photography; Sweet Peach        Content: Sweet Peach

 

Folk Fibers

After much delay, I finally purchased a new sofa via k2 Studio in Asheville. And now that I have this nice, cozy sofa, I realize how bad I could use a good blanket. A talented artist in Austin, Texas seems to know all about good blankets. In fact, I'd say her blankets aren't just good...they're exceptional. 
 

Maura Grace Ambrose of Folk Fibers is the thoughtful, creative artist behind these beautifully made quilts. Each and every stitch is done by hand...

Maura has a true love for the craft. As she shares, "The art of hand quilting does take more time, but the results are greater and more valuable than a manufactured quilt. " If she has a large order, she relies on other quilters or sewers in the Austin community to lend a skilled hand. 

Another aspect to truly love about Maura's process is that she organically grows, forages and harvests all her natural dyes in and around Austin. This includes indigo, cochineal, walnut hulls and onion skins. As she shares, "I patchwork my dyed fabric with other fabrics, both vintage and new. I am faithful to using 100% natural fibers; they feel better and live longer." 

Maura creates lovely pillows as well that are hand dyed with natural dyes and include a feather/down insert. 

It's nice to see Americana quilts handmade with so much care and attention. These truly are heirlooms that can be passed down, generation to generation. Learn more about Maura and Folk Fibers, here. 

 

Photos: Folk Fibers      Content: Sweet Peach