The Importance of Design Part I: Rebecca Atwood

Why is design important? In this series, we will talk with influential designers in the industry to get this question answered.

We are honored to begin with Rebecca Atwood, a Brooklyn based designer and artist. Rebecca creates home textiles using a combination of traditional textile techniques and hand painting. Every part of her product is carefully thought out, right down to the gold YKK zippers that are used on every pillow to guarantee the highest quality. The process is so important to her she has an entire section on her website dedicated to it (check it out here)!

Rebecca was kind enough to take a minute to have a quick Q&A session with us! Here is what she had to say on the importance of design.

1. I see in your about section, “Behind each design is a story drawn from her collection of family heirlooms, textures found in nature, vintage patterns discovered at the flea market, inspired color combinations from world travels or a composition from her sketchbook. “  Can you tell us the story behind a specific pattern that you particularly love?! 

Our marble pattern has a lot of personal history.  I actually learned the Suminagashi marbling technique during a parent’s weekend at Rhode Island School of Design with my Mom. We spent an afternoon marbling and I saved all of the papers. This technique of floating ink in a bath of water is very meditative and the resulting patterns remind me of the coastal landscape I grew up with on Cape Cod.  These papers were then scanned into the computer and I put them into repeat.

2. Can you describe your pattern design process in a nutshell?

My design process is a bit different for each pattern, but all of my designs start with a hands-on process. It might be directly painting on the fabric, folding and dyeing it – or working in my sketchbook with gouache, watercolor, ink, or cut paper.  I focus first on creating an interesting concept and then how to translate it into fabric. It may be digitally printed, screen printed, woven, hand painted or dyed.  Then I work on creating a mood board for a collection – I’m pulling together a color palette, pinning up inspiration images of rooms and environments, and mixing in my artwork. I love this stage of developing the bigger picture.

3. When did you first realize you wanted to make a business out of designing fabrics, art, and goods made from your designs?

When I was graduating from college I knew I needed a job, and textile design seemed like the closest thing I could do to painting and be paid. That was the start of my interest in the home décor world.  I worked for a few years at Anthropologie and then a small NY-UK based design consultancy company creating private label programs for retailers here and abroad while also consulting on trends.  I wasn’t actually sure I ever wanted to have my own line, but as things went along in my career it seemed like the next move.  I just wanted to dig deeper and develop product that I really loved and wanted to put out into the world. There is so much product out there, but a lot of it isn’t thoughtful, and I wanted to break through that mold.  I also wanted to control how and where the product I designed was being made.

4. What is something that really sets your business apart from others that might be considered similar?

I think the focus on the creative process is something that sets my business apart. I set aside time just to explore ideas without focusing on what they will become — I think that’s the only way to really allow for your best work to come forward.  We still do all of the hand-dyeing in the studio in Brooklyn. Hands on is so important.

5. What is your favorite item(s) in your current collection? Can you tell us a little bit about why you love it/them so?

I don’t think I can pick a favorite! I really love all of the pieces in the line, and it’s important to me that they are all pieces I would live with in my own home.  I’m constantly creating and so I’m always partial to what I’m working on next. Right now, for example, I’m working on our first collection of woven throws. I’m loving this departure into a new technique that’s so different than print.  Our shibori pillows from our current collection will always also be a favorite. I love how each one is unique due to the hand dyeing process.

6. What is your favorite way to spend a weekend? 

I love a lazy weekend at home with my husband and our two kittens! Going to a yoga class at Bend and Boom, making a delicious meal or eating at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, and just catching up on time together.

Thank you so much Rebecca!
Here is some eye candy brought to you by Rebecca Atwood herself!

Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I

Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part IRebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I

Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I Rebecca Atwood | Importance of Design Part I

(photos are from designer’s website linked above)

Thanks for stopping by! You can shop Rebecca Atwood’s collection in our showroom or online at our webstore! Hope you have a great week!

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