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ICFF 2012: Something multicolored, something blue, and many things new.

It’s not borrowed. It’s multicolored, and it’s sometimes blue.

Not talking about “June weddings.” In this case, it’s the ICFF show (International Contemporary Furniture Fair). A great place to see international contemporary culture expressed in design. Sometimes reflective of something old, and in many cases something new, and always interesting.

In any case, I always find this show enjoyable on many levels. Seeing many of the latest new products, color trends and design trends from international designers, and talking with some of them in person, is an experience I find fun and inspiring.

LIghting at ICFF

Hand blown glass fixtures - glowing frosty finish

So, to share just a few of the items that piqued my interest for a number of reasons…
I enjoyed a brief conversation with Jamie Harris, the artist who created these beautiful hand blown glass light fixtures

ICFF light

Hand blown glass fixtures - metallic shimmer

ICFF lighting

Sheer color in gorgeous hand blown lighting


Still on the subject of light, check out these amazing solid acrylic tubes. Colors infuse the entire material throughout, and the colors change as you move around the piece according to viewing angles. Even the edges are luminously multicolored

LED acrlic solid tube

Walk around and see how the color changes. View 1 of 4

.ICFF lights

View 2

ICFF lighting

View 3
ICFF lighting

View 4

Imagine the setting for these beautifully sculptural light fixtures.

Moving along to see some furniture, something I always enjoy.

glowing furniture

Fantasy cabinets - one of a few from Boca Do Lobo


It’s not just a stack of sample finishes…Each drawer is an individual, functional drawer.
unique furniture

The upper section, and the surface shown below, is beaded by indigenous Huichol people in Mexico. From Espacio Sami Hayek. How do you like the wood?

Note: the picture on their web site is Not of their ICFF booth…at least not the one I saw there.


Closeup of the artistic detail on this credenza by the same company, Espacio Sami Hayek.

display booth

Closeup of a metal wall of a display "booth"

japanese tetilres

Something Blue! So very beautiful, and "Wabi-Sabi." Amazing textiles from Kyoto Rakushian

closeup japanese textiles

I could not resist sharing a closer view.

And last, but not least, for now…

funky furnituire

Just so we don't get too serious..simple, funky, and having a sense of humor.

So much to see and enjoy in one day, these are just a few of my favorites.

Do you have a favorite? If so, which piece–and where would you use it?


Fashion in Colors

Fashion in Colors (Paperback)

By (author): Paul Warwick Thompson, Yoshikata Tsukamoto, Barbara Bloemink

Color is Life " Wrote the Bauhaus Theorist Johannes Itten,and this is Certainly holds true in the words of fashion and design.

The spectrum of color: content, interest, application, social meanings, trends, materials (to name just a few) naturally includes textile design and fashion. Even if we’re not “fashionistas” (one of those questionable words that somehow actually means something), “Fashion” is in our lives.

Fashion in Colors - the book

Book cover: Fashion in COLORS

Might as well enjoy it!  And to do so, check out Fashion in COLORS, published for the exhibition, “Fashion in Colors,” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum at the Smithsonian Institute, 2005-2006, curated by Akiko Fukai.

According to the inside cover, the origin of the book was the original exhibition organized by the Kyoto Costume Institute, that was shown at the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, 2004.

One unique aspect of this book is in the presentation. Sections on artists, designers, and color families make it a unique exploration of color and design. Works by the iconic designers whose names you will recognize are fascinating and the photography is simply astounding. It’s a complete immersion in color, shape, texture, textile design, and information.

List Price: $45.00 USD
New From: $35.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.66 USD In Stock

Color of the week? Try, MOOD of the week, INDIGO!

Blues…music, paint, fiber, jewels, feelings.

What’s “Mood Indigo,” anyway?
An audio version of course…this classic!

And another interpretation by Ella Fitzgerald, unsurpassable.

Another way to experience it – Old Levi’s!  In the originals, the dye was Indigo.

Indigo culture is worldwide, a fiber dye and therefore, as with many dye materials, a currency. Whether it’s a paste resist in Africa; Batik  or block-printing in Indonesia; Rice Paste resist or Arashi Shibori in Japan, and any one of the myriad textile design techniques that are part of indigenous cultures worldwide, using Indigo dye is a highly developed craft and art.

Indigo vats in Japan - find out more at Kimono Boy

Vats of Indigo in Japan. Find out more at Kimono Boy

Actually, the inspiration for this post was a recent conversation with a friend who now lives in Santa Fe. She mentioned seeing the premier of the documentary, Blue Alchemy, and hearing about it reminded me of the many ways that I’ve seen Indigo dye used over the years. That conversation brought back many memories of my own personal experiences working with many types of tradition textile decoration techniques and materials. Even now, in fact, I can use Indigo-dyed fibers in my own Tibetan rug designs!

In antique textiles, traditional culture textiles, and modern work, Indigo has a presence all its own.

Hmong Textiles

Textiles made by Hmong people in Vietnam, shown at Kimono Reincarnate blog site.

Indigo pots in Nigeria

Pots of Indigo in Nigerian traditional dyeing

Morris Kennet-Indigo printed textile 1883

Indigo printed textile by Morris Kennet -- 1883!

Indigo is earthy, primal, mysterious, exotic, beautiful, and versatile! What more could we ask of one type of plant?

If this is a subject that interests you, check out this video and other material on the same page. And, Enjoy!

Patterns and Colors in Diverse Places and Spaces

There’s nothing like being in a different location for a while to stimulate a fresh view of colors and patterns.

From the wonderful LACMA museum in Los Angeles to the tiny Japanese variety store, with a home decorating furniture store in the middle of it all, I’m inspired to share a few images for your enjoyment.

I always enjoy connecting patterns and textures. One example:

Los Angeles - LACMA courtyard

Lines, shadows, and textures combine to make interesting patterns


Columns and Trees

Interesting to look at this for repetition of line and texture, in verticals both organic and built.


Then, for something really different, a quick visit to ZGallerie to see what’s up in L.A. decor! (or some of it, anyway)

Bling-y neutrals

You're not in New England anymore, Toto!


Detecting a theme

Do I detect a theme? Never mind, I love the darks with...Kiwi? Lime? Other name for this green?


Summer Turquoise

Summer turquoise is still happening

Check out the colors above with the colors of the items in the Japanese variety store, below!
See anything similar?

Bins of tiny objects

Colors and visual texture remind me of an impressionist painting.



Pens and pencils

These really made me smile. A color palette resource!


Soft colors for lunchboxes

The pattern of pastel colored lunchboxes combines with black-and-white graphic lettering

More pens and pencils

Love the patterns and colors! Can you guess which ones I bought to use?

The Question
What are the paint colors that these images inspire you to use? Single or as combinations, it’s all fair game and I am interested in YOUR favorites!

Ikat Textiles of India

Ikat Textiles of India (Paperback)

By (author): Chelna Desai

Book by Desai, Chelna
List Price: $19.95 USD
New From: $12.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $4.77 USD In Stock

Ikat Textiles of India by Chandra Desai

No image on, so I offer this image of my own copy of Ikat Textiles of India, by Chelna Desai

A contemporary view of Ikat textiles in India.  Shown are designs in a wide range of colors, from simple everyday styles to complex, rare examples. Includes the history and technique of Ikat with a very useful glossary.

Decor and Fashion Connect in Traditional Textile Techniques

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — Barbara Jacobs @ 9:36 pm

In my recent blog post in which I showed a few some images of  the “Decor and Fashion” connection, I presented a brief description of the intricate dye-and-weave process knows as “Ikat.”

The Dyer's Art: Ikat, Batik, Plangi

Shown: my own well-worn copy of this wonderful reference book.

Now, for those of you who have an interest in what’s behind the fashion aspect, I’m happy to introduce two wonderful books on the subject of Ikat, and other traditional dye techniques.

The Dyer’s Art is an exciting compendium of many resist-dye techniques.  The author, Jack Lenor Larsen, is a renowned designer, artist, and authority on weaving.

“Resist” dyeing is most recognizable in it’s most simplistic form as the good-old “tie dye’ of the 60’s and even more recently in it’s rebirth in the funky-trendy mode.
My own definition: What it refers to technically is any process by which yarns, woven textiles, or other materials are bound, coated, or otherwise treated to “resist” application of, or immersion in, a dye or other colorant.

Whether your familiarity with Resist dyeing is from that mode, or in batik (wax), or other, less familiar methods like  “Plangi” and “Arashi Sibori” and others,  Resist techniques are fascinating. For me, it’s been a long time interest, since I first started experimenting with textile design and art-to-wear, in the late 70’s. I’ve been an admirer of Mr. Larsen since I first heard of him!

Pages 224 and 225 illustrate making a traditional “Double Ikat” textile in Bali: creating an intricate tied-and-dyed design on the warped threads, right on the loom, before the weaving is even begun.

The Dyer's Art - page 224
The Dyer's Art - page 225
The Dyer's Art - Jack Lenor Larsen

Beautiful! Pages 174-175, if you get the book.

Less technical,  Ikat Textiles of India, Chelna Desai presents an entire book of beautiful examples of more contemporary fashion applications in addition to traditional Ikat method. While Larsen explores Ikat with a global view, Desai focuses on Indian Ikat work. This beautiful book is illustrated with images of Ikat textiles from many private collections in India.

Ikat Textiles of India, by Chandra Desai

Hundreds of traditional and contemporary examples of Indian Ikat

You can check out both of these volumes through our own Design Library.

September is Colorful at the BDC–and more

A brief visit to the Boston Design Center yesterday inspired me to take some quick shots of colorful displays that include some interesting patterns.

Painted furniture at Grange

Painted furniture at Grange

Chocolate brown with turquoise was a theme at a few locations. Looks like this beautiful combination is here to stay for a while!

Chocolate Brown with Turquoise

Chocolate and Blue, or Turquoise, is here to stay for a while

Another view of this combination

More items in chocolate and turquoise

More of the chocolate-turquoise combination

This is Not at the BDC--but you can see the color combination works here at Silk Road Weaves, as well

LOOPY/Meandering from Silk Road Weaves

LOOPY/Meandering, in 100% Himalayan wool, from Silk Road Weaves

Back at the Boston Design Center, adding a twist of earthy yellow-green, Lee Jofa shows this great skirt!

Decor and Fashion - make the connection!

Connecting Decor with Fashion at Lee Jofa

Personally, I love the connection between decor-and-fashion. (More about this in some future posts)

The tribal look of Ikat weaving is looming large. In this case, probably not genuine tribal Ikat, but it’s the look that people see.

What is Ikat? a quick technical note…
True Ikat, a method of weaving that involves dyeing a design on the loom, is a highly labor-intensive process. Imagine this: Attach the warp materials (thread or yarn, running lengthwise) on the loom to prepare for weaving. Tie off specific areas of the warp, on the loom, to create the basis for the design. Then, weave your design with yarns or threads previously dyed in a specific way to intersect with the dyed warp. That’s just the quick-story of only one method of Ikat dye and weaving process.

If you want to find out more about Ikat weaving, look for one of my favorite books on the subject, coming soon to our Design Library.

More evidence of this influence, in bedding…

Ikat influence at Kravet

View into the Kravet showroom: Ikat influence in bedding design. It's more visible close-up.

..and in upholstery.  Easier to see closeup–this is a sort of  “animal print/ikat’ style.

Overall view of animal print, Ikat version

Animal print "goes Ikat," at M-Geough

A closer view of animal print, Ikat interpretation

A closer view of animal print, Ikat interpretation

Pillows get into the act, also

More Ikat-look

More of the Ikat influence

When I got to the Edelman leathers showroom, the beautiful displays were really inspiring. For example, just one of their walls of color and texture:

Edelman leather

One "wall of color" at Edelman leather

More: a closeup of another section. Embossed, Furry, and in hundreds of colors.

Colors at Edelman

Dimension, color, and pattern in leather at Edelman

Do you know someone who can make a jacket for me of this beautiful embossed suede? I’d have to decide which color…

Embossed suede

Embossed Suede - and in beautiful colors, from Edelman

Last but not least, something really fun and dramatic for the right update-project:

Love the colors of this fantastic leather

Really Different - color and texture for just the right place.

I will provide an impartial perspective on your project, helping you create supportive spaces...

Color affects your bottom line. Let color work for you in your workplace, your marketing materials, and your products.

Embrace Color with Confidence! Enjoy the process of making interior and exterior color decisions...