Equinox – Woven at the Mill
19.01.2017 § Leave a comment
I recently visited the mill where Brentano’s pattern Equinox is woven. Accompanying me during the visit was Senior Designer Aaron Mensik and National Sales Manager Jeff Frank. Located in a rural city of New Jersey, it was drizzling and damp when we arrived at the entrance of the warehouse style building. At the opposite side of the doors – a forest stood tall – damp with sparse yellow and orange leaves still dangling on branches. The fall color of the foliage brightened the grey sky and the metal siding.
To much surprise, when we walked in a pleasant display of Brentano fabrics greeted us. We later found out that one employee in particular prepared the fabric display for our arrival. I very much appreciated the Mills effort to make us feel welcomed.
We first visited the Jacquard weaving room. Within the one room, approximately 60 looms were weaving at the same time. We could hardly hear our guide explaining the weaving procedures. We saw many beautiful fabrics being woven, including one of Brentano’s best sellers, Equinox. Equinox is woven on a very fine, dense, nylon warp. Fine for the purpose of color clarity , dense for the purpose of defined rendering, and nylon for performance level abrasion.
It was such a joy to see our fabric being woven on the loom. As you can tell from our facial expressions in the photos – pure happiness.
The trip was educational, so besides observing the fabrics on the loom, we toured all departments such as design, CAD for weaving, yarn control, winding, warping, final inspection of the goods, etc.
It was near 2:00 pm when we finished the tour and said our goodbyes. While we were waiting for our ride, I noticed in the vestibule window a beautiful pattern forming from the condensation. Maybe it will one day become a fabric pattern.
Brentano’s Annual Color Forecast: 2017
01.11.2016 § Leave a comment
As an artist, I always try to challenge my color sense and perspective when designing textiles. After much observation, Brentano’s eighth annual Color Forecast predicts shades that will be popular in the upcoming year and hues that will dictate the future of design. It is a very exciting time of the year at Brentano as we introduce which colors we have been focusing on for product development.
Coral – With a cheeky personality and bold flair, Coral’s pop of color is a powerful punch. The zesty accent – uplifting and bright – adds a splash of excitement to the traditional household.
Elephant – First forecast by Brentano in 2016, Elephant’s popularity carries over into 2017. This dependable neutral highlights its practicality by complementing both warm and cool interiors.
Chartreuse – The crisp hot hue Chartreuse evokes refreshing warmth in a unique and stylish way. The harmonious hue – a fusion of green and gold – perfectly balances beauty with brilliance.
Peacock – Polished Peacock, calm and cool, remains as current as when it appeared in Brentano’s 2016 forecast. The jewel-toned teal – more romantic than sapphire but fresher than navy – fills a room with peace and serenity.
Bloom – Glowing with grace, Bloom is cultivated for its flourishing beauty. This fashion forward pinkness is comfortable being soft, with a dominant newfound voice in design.
Almost Black – Elegantly refined and dignified, this colorless shade displays confidence. Almost Black, pair-able with almost any color, makes for a bold accent; or can be luxurious all on its own.
07.09.2016 § Leave a comment
I have always admired the serenity and pureness of nature. As soon as my husband and I were finished with our schooling, we immediately moved to the quiet, spacious suburbia; never understanding ones desire to move to the big city. Many years and experiences later, my perception of city life began to shift and eventually (to my surprise) began to influence my work as a designer.
On one particular sales trip to Manhattan, I walked…a lot. While traveling amongst the noisy hustle and bustle of traffic, I stumbled upon a little wild flower rooted next to a wrought iron gate. The graceful flower was rising from a crack in the concrete, pushing its way toward the clear blue sky. The juxtaposition of the cement, the wrought iron and the plant created a texture that brought a smile to my face for the rest of the day. The peaceful experience made the echoes from city streets dissipate; leaving only the beautiful composition in my memory. From that day forward, I gained a different perspective of the urban environment and the magnificence held within it.
Then I began to travel. I was able to travel longer and more freely after my obligations of parenthood and elderly care were fulfilled. I discovered the joy of experiencing different cities, architecture, bridges, public transportation, vegetation, people, as well as cultures from around the world. I took photos, doodled, sketched, took notes, and made plans to enjoy outings with friends from different cities. I now fully understand the attraction society has to live within a metropolis.
Drawing inspiration from the energy and graphics of the urban landscape, the 18 new patterns in the fall 2016 Cityscape collection depict my experiences from the eccentric life of the big city.
Metropolis 4569 – Cityscape 4564 – Boulevard 4568
Boomtown 4564 – Metropolis 4569
Junction 6531 – Lexingtion 4221 – Lumen 1305 – Essanay 8220 – Selfridge 8940
A True Cornerstone
04.02.2016 § Leave a comment
The spring 2016 Cornerstone collection, originally named to follow our 25th anniversary, turned out to have much more significance. The past fiscal year our business grew in great strides while we continuously create a name for ourselves in the industry. The moral of the entire company is unfolding a promising future in both business strategy and performance.
For the first time in Brentano’s history we are introducing a catalog of our new fabric Gem, showcasing all 39 designer colorways. Gem is a velvet I am particularly proud of in the spring collection; proud of its luxurious colors, wonderful qualities and reasonable price point. Gem 4250
Alongside Gem, the Cornerstone collection holds a wide variety of unique fabrics. The assortment includes several sophisticated techniques (Intaglio and Jasper), many bright playful patterns (Keys and Tombolo), extraordinarily colorful stripes (Regalia), and an indescribable embroidered drapery (Willow). The variety of textiles within the collection demonstrates our continuous dedication to producing products that inspire our clients’ creativity and imagination.
We have vowed in our design studio, not only to be the best at creating color, we challenge ourselves to lead the industry in design, both in textile technology and surface design.
Keys 1202 & Tombolo 8135
Equinox – Inspirations and Influences
19.11.2015 § Leave a comment
In the year 2008 I visited The Baccarat Museum in Paris, France. The museum was absolutely spectacular. Among the many crystals displayed inside, my attention gravitated towards an exhibit of exceptional glass bottles. Drawn to the evident cubist influence, each bottle was created with an intricate shape made from non-symmetrical facets.
After my visit, my mind was occupied with the idea of facets. I soon realized that my fixation began long ago. One particular recollection was about a contemporary ceramic artist I had met early in my career. His work consisted of modern tables created to look like folded paper. As a young, new entrepreneur, I was unable to afford the beautiful work of art I so desperately admired. I often find myself wondering what became of him and his work. My encounter with the ceramicist, among other experiences, collectively inspired my growing geometrical interest.
My original intention with Equinox was to create an asymmetrical tessellation of facets contradicted by the symmetrical repeat. My fascination with astronomy, stars, the Milky Way, and the indefiniteness of space paired with my curiosity with facets helped push my creative process for Equinox. The concept called for a textile with large repetitive facets surrounded by a star inspired design. Once the design was complete I was humbled by the success and overwhelming positive response. Moving forward into the next collection, I have been working on creating Equinox with a smaller repeat to offer a wide variety to designers.
Original Drawings and Inspirations
Perpetual Art Student
03.03.2015 § Leave a comment
The Studio Collection acts as a reminder that there is a host of great art where we can experience the sublime beauties created by many different souls. To go into the deep hearts of those who felt compelled to communicate with their colors, shapes and spaces.
As we age, our perception of visual phenomena changes, actually rather I should say it broadens. When I was young, I could not understand Van Gogh; his swirling texture and thick paints used to scare me. Now he makes many of his contemporaries look pale and unworthy, especially Gauguin.
It’s this broad experience that Brentano’s designers and I used to shape our spring, artist-inspired collection. Some patterns were created for sentimental reasons. Like Moonrise, which I based on a motif created by my best friend in Chicago. She gave up her art career a few years ago to become a Buddhist nun. We can no longer talk intimately because 350 monastic precepts separate her life from mine. To have a reminder of her work in my portfolio comforts me.
Story of Mauve
11.09.2014 § Leave a comment
I have always been fascinated with dyestuffs—what all the natural dyes can do, how the synthetic dye industry got started and how it replaced natural dyes. I found this wonderful story and extracted excerpts below:
During the Easter break in 1856, William Henry Perkin—an 18-year-old chemistry student in his second year at the Royal College of Chemistry in London—was doing experiments at his family home in Shadwell in the East End of London. His professor was Wilhelm Hofmann, a German chemist who was very interested in the chemicals that could be made from coal tar.
His efforts to make quinine, however, only produced a black tar. He then decided to try the same reaction with aniline, another « Read the rest of this entry »
Discovery Collection Inspiration ~ 2
10.02.2014 § Leave a comment
Below are some more of the stories from my travels that sparked design ideas and eventually led to the patterns in our spring 2014 Discovery collection.
The National History Museum in Taipei is located in a botanical garden with a huge lotus pond, not too far from my undergraduate college, the National Normal University. My friend and I would go there very often, and after viewing the exhibition we would always buy a cup of tea and some sweets in the luminous cafeteria and look out on the ocean of blooming lotuses fluttering in the breeze. I can never forget that scene and the satisfaction that the tranquil environment gave me.
I saw many exhibitions there. The pottery in this picture is very similar to the ones in the National History Museum. It belongs to the so-called Cai Tao Culture from our history books. Cai Tao potteries are from 7800 years ago (Neolithic Period); this one and many of the others were excavated from the Silk Road areas in China. The primitive motifs, burned into my mind since my college years, have manifested many times through my work. Lumen is one such manifestation.
« Read the rest of this entry »
Discovery Collection Inspiration
30.01.2014 § Leave a comment
I keep a loose diary on where I go and what I see, but the things that impress me the most usually become burned in my mind. Those are the ones that spark design ideas and eventually become patterns for Brentano products. « Read the rest of this entry »
More Color Talk
02.12.2013 § Leave a comment
We are forecasting interior color trends again this season. There are always nuances of differences in the colors used in different sectors of interior design (homes, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, offices, etc). However, if you look at them over time, the overall color cast does show a consistency across the sectors. Colors were warm with a yellow cast during the 1990s; the 2000s were a transitional time; and now they have definitely cooled and have a red cast. During the 1980s, mauve and plum were big in the contract market, so we can see the pendulum has swung back to red again except now we are seeing different hues with a red cast. « Read the rest of this entry »