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.
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.
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.
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
21.08.2014 § Leave a comment
Matsumoto city’s streets are preserved from the old days. They are lined with lovely shops. There was an antique Kimono shop where I bought a tie-dyed, soft turquoise blue coat and a few fabric fragments cut from old Kimono. I also ran into a gallery-looking shop that sells items handwoven by a weaver and vegetable dyer. From her I bought a peach wood-dyed, chamomile color scarf.
There were other shops too, and inspiring colors from my day trip to Matsumoto city: « Read the rest of this entry »
11.08.2014 § Leave a comment
My first week at Waseda University for a short-term, intensive summer Japanese class started with a bit of heat shock. The classroom is different every day, and the teacher is different for almost every class even when the subject is the same. Despite the heat, students are encouraged to climb the stairs to any classroom below the fifth floor. The professors are not very happy if you are late for class, so I have been running to look for classes every day in this blazing hot sun.
Still, I have had time to explore and found some great Japanese textiles, museum collections and books from their library. I’ve always found the manhole covers in Japan fascinating too, so I couldn’t help but take pictures of the ones I’ve found so far on the university campus.
01.02.2013 § Leave a comment
Symphonic Collection Inspiration
I volunteered to be an art teacher at day camps quite a few times through my youth and during my children’s adolescent years. Besides typical art projects such as still-life painting or going outside to paint landscapes, I later decided to inspire the children to experience the artistic elements. One time I had them draw the feelings aroused by touching contrasting materials, such as hard angular rocks compared to soft cotton or fur. « Read the rest of this entry »
01.10.2012 § Leave a comment
In 2010 I visited our San Francisco showroom. Since I had been aspiring to develop “green” products, I asked our salesperson, as I often do, what kind of green product they sell and how they sell it. The showroom salesperson showed me a pile of fabrics she had set aside to recommend when a client asked for a green product for her home. It was a pile of natural fiber material, heavy on the linen side, but very few samples had any writing or labels telling their green stories. I was actually puzzled by her selections until I realized that people respond more to the fiber than to any certification for the concept of “green.” That is why I set out to develop a third party certified eco-friendly linen for our Back to Basics collection. « Read the rest of this entry »
21.06.2012 § Leave a comment
About 25 years ago, before I started Brentano, I was studying the vegetable dye color names of ancient China. This interest was first initiated by the incredible color descriptions in a classical Chinese novel depicting the lives of the aristocracy. I wrote a lyrical prose piece about “color names in literature” that was published in a Chinese publication and have been hooked on the subject ever since.
I wrote to a textile historian once who was a professor at the then Hwa Tung Textile Academy in Shanghai. To my surprise, he wrote me back and awarded me with many texts with old Chinese weaving references and some of their vegetable-dyed scarf samples to identify the names of the dyes that I had questioned him about in my letter—such as Su Fong, Madder and Gardenia, etc. Some of those color names were among the early product color names I used when the color inspiration derived from this lineage.
These two scarves are dyed with Shiso Leaf (lavender), Gardenia (yellow), and Su Fang Wood (red). My notes about the dyes are in pencil.
« Read the rest of this entry »