Monday, January 31, 2011

Block Printing

I am a big fan of the art of Block printing, an art that is still used commercially in many asian countries. The method, simply put, is to place the patterns repeat in a giant stamp. It can be made of wood, metal, stone or linoleum. I managed to purchase some wooden printing blocks pictured above. You can see the intricate and detailed patterns that the artist has to carve out as a negative of what the print will be. Not an easy task, though one that artist Minouette makes it look effortless. I love her detailed woodblocks and her printing methods which fully use that grainy look into the final product. She also pushes her designs further by combining her block print into fabric prints for beautiful combinations. The best part? You can own one her amazing pieces - check out her etsy shop at:


Friday, January 28, 2011

Beginning Steps of Fabric Design

Here is another peek into my work process for the print: Petalo and Antoiller. I tried outlining the "dance" I do when I start designing a new fabric - though the process doesn't always follow the order of these steps, so this is really more of a rough guide to freestyling. I spend most of my time with steps 3 and 4, I am fascinated with the deconstruction of the main idea into a new form and solving the puzzle that is color balance.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Edwardian Ball

We took a step back in time this weekend by attending the Edwardian Ball & Faire in San Francisco. Here, the past had an edge, an attitude, and an electric guitar made out of a shovel. With a live show put on by the City Circus, an actual steam powered ride, and a floor filled with crafty vendors, the night was magical. The talented vendors were nice enough to allow us to take photos of there amazing products. There was everything from grandeur handmade hats to leather animal masks that bring out your wild side. Rawr.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Interviews with People We Love: Elaine Fong

Elaine: YOU reign supreme!

Elaine's "about" section on her website

So the first person that we *loved* on our blog, was our friend, Elaine Fong. Lucky for us, she's still our friend and was kind enough to do a little interview with us. Until recently, Elaine worked full time as a designer for Paper Source Inc. We are so proud of her for starting a new chapter in her life with launching her very own studio. To learn more, check out her site here.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with your work.

I was born and raised in New Orleans, and traveled from city to city till I ended in Chicago, which is where I've been for the last 6 years. When I was in high school, I didn't know what I wanted to study, so my sister told me there was "this thing" called graphic design, that would allow me to create art and make money. She talked more about website designs and magazine layouts, which I thought was ok, so I signed up as a graphic design major. Going into college, I never fully understood what it was, until I joined a roommate for her smoke break to keep her company. When I picked up her cigarette box to look at it, I was immediately attracted to the design. It was a box of Camel Reds, with a warm color palette of red, orange and black, that emulated a Mondrian grid, and had well placed type. I knew exactly at that moment what design was, and I knew I wanted to do it. I still have that cigarette box to this day. 

Do you have a favorite artist/designer/photographer?

Overall, I've always loved Matisse. Everything he's ever done – paintings, drawings, sculpture, etchings, paper cut-outs. I've consistently loved his work in all periods of his life, and love that his inspiration came from anywhere like trips to Morocco to his grief with WWII. Towards the end of his life, when he was bedridden and nearly blind, he still made art — that's the kind of artistic heart I want to have. 

For design I look up to Ryan McGuinness, Paul Rand, Hella Jongerious, Charles & Ray Eames, Marian Bantjes.

Has there been a certain accomplishment/success that you are most proud of?

Currently I'm most proud of quitting my day job, (last week was my last day!), to start my own studio. People do that all the time, and it's not uncommon I know, but for me it was a big decision that I've struggled with for over a year. I just had to do it when it felt right for myself. I'm excited about the whole thing!

What's your favorite place to go to get inspired?

Hmm... there isn't one particular place. But inspiration often starts out with a jolt of espresso, followed by going into a store that has lots of beautiful package designs. Like any specialty food store, apothecary store, beer & wine shop, or even clothing boutiques. I like looking at labels for their typography and color, boxes for interesting cuts and folds, and clothing tags for finishes like embossing/spot varnishes/diecuts or unconventional production materials.  

 What would you be doing if it wasn't for Elaine Fong design?

Gardening – specifically working on edible landscaping. Having to research and understand regions, horticulture, and varieties of edible plants and then design them in a way that's visually pleasing, is very appealing to me. That's the part of me that wants to do something that requires me to be outside all the time, away from my computer.

Where can people learn more about Elaine Fong?

From my website or blog, (which will both be redesigned in the next months), or over brunch or a bike ride!

Elaine Fong Design t: 312.391.3664 w: 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tory Does It Right

Tory Burch's Resort 2010

Tory Burch's Spring 2011

We are just madly in love with Tory Burch's printed frocks. Her mix of bold colors and patterns a uniquely "her" look. With her Resort line, the addition of the complimentary printed obi belt to her dresses, takes the look to a new dimension. When her Spring 2011 line was revealed, we were just elated with the rich, sophisticated color palette and of course, her use of prints!

Monday, January 24, 2011

We Love Ikat

Sarah's ikat fabric

1. All Saints 2. Dwell Studio 3. Satin Boutique 4. Nordstrom 5. Endless

A new week, a new inspiring fabric technique. As you've probably noticed by the recognizable pattern (and by reading the title), this Monday we are showcasing the bold and beautiful ikat pattern. The blue and grey ikat was purchased in bulk by me (Sarah) to make whatever my heart desires. I still have tons of yardage left, but even more ideas of how to use the timeless patterned fabric. Our collage of printed items shows a range of the many interpretations of the ancient technique. We just love the fresh color combos and the art of scale that were used in creating these products. We adore the Cleobella bag's use of the ikat print so much that we made it our must have item of the week!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Textile Design: Inspiration

Lovely Deer Head by Jennifer Khoshbin, Superordinate Antler lamp by designer: Jason Miller,
Deer Wall Vase by Akari Luig

I've been designing fabrics for more than a decade now, and have since learned to take in inspiration beyond the literal definition. When drawing designs inspired by fellow artists, it is easy to fall into that creative rut which dooms your designs to look like a lower budget remake movie from the original. More and more I see the market succumb to the spread of: "same but slightly different". Drawing upon other mediums to inspire you is key to this industry. Here are a few pieces that helped inspire my collection of fabrics, soon to be released this year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

An Uphill Battle for Textile Designers

Unfortunately it's become too easy for larger companies to knock of a designers creation. For example Dolce and Gabbana's Floral Print Satchel pictured above was a blatant copy of Marimekko's Unikko Pattern. When Marimekko brought attention to the case, Dolce and Gabbana proceeded to counter sue the Marimekko declaring their trademark invalid. This was of course over turned in court. But it puts in perspective what uphill battle modern Textile Designers face to keep their creative rights. For more on this read here.

Interviews with People We Love: Jill Bliss

Photos from Jill

After visiting the awesome Renegade Craft Fair in December, we did a post about one of the designers there, Jill Bliss. We decided we wanted to get to know her a little better and find out how her brand came to be. Here is the wonderfully obliging Jill Bliss’s answers to our questions, starting off our new “Interviews with People We Love” segment off right:

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started with your work.
i've always drawn and made things. drawing is how i come to understand how things are built, or work together; and making and organizing things is like breathing for me!

Do you have a favorite artist/designer/photographer?
that changes all the time! my blog is a good indicator of what i'm into at the moment!

Has there been a certain accomplishment/success that you are most proud of?
i know a lot of designers don't want to be bothered at a certain point and hire someone else to do this for them - but i love doing sales events! talking with the customers who buy and use the things i make, and getting their in-person feedback is essential to me! 

What's your favorite place to go to get inspired?
anywhere that gets me out of my daily routine!

What would you be doing if it wasn't for your Jill Bliss Brand?
there are so many alternate careers i obsess over! some include: a park ranger, a naturalist scientist, a writer, a furniture-maker, an architect, a psychologist, a librarian... 

Where can people learn more about Jill Bliss?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh Oscar!

Some of our fave printed looks from Oscar de la Renta's Pre-Fall 2011 line

Every time we see Oscar de la Renta's new collections, we get that same ridiculously giddy feeling that Carrie from Sex and the City got when she got that iconic pink cocktail dress as a gift from "The Russian". Especially with his prints. We are textile designers after all. Here are our favorite printed frocks from his Pre-Fall 2011 line. Gor-geous!

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Art of Batik

Beautiful printed silks brought back from Indonesia

1. 2. Urban 3. Alloy 4. Vlisco 5. We Heart It

There are so many amazing textile design techniques that have been around for centuries, we thought it would be great if we starting posting about them and sharing our favorites. Since our very own Gail has just got back from her trip to Indonesia (unbelievably tan we might add), it was only fitting to start with the art of Batik. The pics above show some of Gail’s findings from her travels. We also decided to do a collage of how fashion today has taken Batik and given it a modern twist. We loved these looks so much, that we made one of them our must-have of the week! Check it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Pop of Color

1. Ffffound 2. Harper's Bazaar 3. Design Love Fest 4. Pinterest 5. Flickr 

We leave you for the weekend with some fantastic images that are so sweet and serene with a perfect punch of color. Maybe a nice afternoon bike ride to lunch and then a snazzy manicure with colorful tips? Yeah, that sounds just about perfect!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

An Ode to the Prehistoric

1. T-Rex necklace from Modcloth 2. Photo from Chictopia 3. Safari hat from Browns 4. Amber ring from Etsy
5. Shades from We Jet Set

We haven't shared what's on our coffee table lately, so here you go! This time around it is a delightfully morbid little diddy by Avery Monsen and Jory John. All My Friends Are Dead inspired us to go prehistoric with our fashion choices. We just love the look we found on Chictopia and with how cute that necklace from Modcloth is, it will be anything but extinct for a long, long time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We Heart Chevron

Found on A Beautiful Mess

Found on Design Sponge

Found on the Decorista

Found on Orange Beautiful

There's not a lot out there more striking and eye-catching than the bold chevron print. Feast your eyes on our lovely examples of this fun and fresh pattern. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Right out of our Dreamworld...

Found through one of our delightful daily stops, B. Jones Style, and also sited on Fashion By Rouge, this fashion spread has got our jaws on the floor. The layering of textures and shapes of the jewelry, the flowing fabrics, mirrored by the long braids are just sooo dreamy. Definitely styled to inspire.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Staying Cozy

It's still pretty chilly in San Francisco, so comfy outwear accessories are a must. For Christmas, Sarah received a pair of hand-made crocheted hand warmers, perfect for keeping warm and still being able to get all the necessary texting done! These were made by Nirvanna Design Inc., a great company that supports the rural craft men and woman of Nepal. Everything is made with "love and respect from the natural resources of the Himalayas.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Mustache Day!

Distinguished and delicious cupcakes made by Coco Cake Boutique Cupcakes

Fabulous mustaches found on

We have had a ongoing love affair mustaches, and when we found these adorable mustache socks, we just had to post a tribute to them. This weekend, if you're bored, bust out some sticks, felt, and scissors to begin your journeys into becoming the definition of dapper and sophisticated.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Check out these Calendars!

It's the new year, the perfect time to get a brand spankin' new calendar. Duh.... Here are some absolutely lovely ones found on the Renegade Handmade Blog. Each one was created by a different talented artist, some of which we got to see first hand at the Renegade Craft Fair. Yes, these calendars are amazing, but you should see them in person! Check out Renegade's Blog for more about each one.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

We Love Match Boxes

These lovely images were found on

I (Sarah), got a scented candle as a gift, and with it, I got some slender matches in an amazing vintage playing card box. I fell madly in love. Here are some more boxes that left us awe-"struck". (A little match humor for ya. : ) Enjoy!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Month, New Charity

Images found on

We are starting the new year off right with our January's charity choice. We are just in awe of Build a Nest. It is a nonprofit organization providing female artisans with interest free loans. Not only do they make it possible for these incredible women from all over the world to start their own creative businesses, but their website also sells their wonderful products for all of us to own. If you are moved by this incredible organization, go to their site and pick out a hand-crafted item from the loan recipients, a product made by US designer for "artists helping artists", or if you're in a rush, simply click the donate button and make a difference.