Designer Profile: Rebecca Atwood

04.06.13

I have a cushion fetish. Quite possibly thanks to my mother, who was endlessly throwing another pretty addition to the existing mountain of cushions on our couch growing up. I remember having to spend about ten minutes shuffling and reshuffling them and myself just so I could find a spot on the couch to watch TV. I now understand my mother’s addiction, because cushions add so much warmth and comfort to a space, and are a great way of quickly adding colour, texture and personality to a space. If you suffer from this weakness, you have come to the right place because today I am chatting to the ridiculously talented Brooklyn based artist and textile designer Rebecca Atwood, who launched a line of stunning cushions earlier this year.

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These beauties draw on traditional textile and hand painting techniques, using natural materials and dye and gorgeous patterns. Each unique piece tells a story that traces back to Atwood’s upbringing in Cape Cod near the ocean and her appreciation for antique and vintage market finds, textures observed in nature and colors drawn from her travels. Atwood layers her experiences to inspire and craft these simple but beautiful works of art. Here’s some insight into what inspires this creative young designer!

Holly: You launched Rebecca Atwood designs just this year. Has this been a long standing dream for you?

Rebecca: It wasn’t something I always thought I’d do, although I did always see myself eventually doing something more independent.  It came down to not knowing where I would go next, and needing to create the job that I wanted to have.

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Holly: You’re obviously passionate about textiles, colour and pattern. What inspires your creative process?

Rebecca: So many things inspire me, and it’s often a mixture of very different things. For example an idea for a pattern can come from anywhere – a vintage scarf from my great aunt, the shadows on a sidewalk, an idea in my sketchbook, or even painting directly onto the fabric with dye {that’s where the spots print came from}.  Giving yourself time off to do the things you enjoy – going to a museum, seeing friends, cooking – all give you time for the ideas to come. I think the big thing with inspiration is to keep making, keep looking, and give yourself time to edit. We live in a world where the internet allows for instantaneous sharing of ideas and images, which is amazing, but I also think getting away from that is crucial.

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Holly: When did you start taking an interest in textile design, and what is your background?

Rebecca: My background is actually in painting. I became interested in textiles when I was in college and I took a few classes. I then decided to try and find a job in that area and ended up working at Anthropologie in their home department. Home products combined with painting is really where my interest lies.

Holly: Your Blauvelt Collection employs a strong but soothing color palette of midnight blue, ochre and natural hues. What led you to selecting this colour palette for this collection and what ideas do you have for the next collection? 

Rebecca: I wanted to use colours you can layer and live with, and that you won’t be sick of in six months. I think my childhood, growing up on Cape Cod, has definitely influenced what colors I am drawn to. Blue was so much a part of the landscape that for me it is a neutral. For Fall, you’ll see the blues deepening to a navy and I’ll also be bringing in a tomato red.

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Holly: What does a normal day at the office look like for you at Rebecca Atwood Designs?

Rebecca: Every day is different to be honest. Some days I’m working on more administrative things like book keeping, emails, packing orders, etc. On other days I can be printing, washing fabric, or maybe running errands in the garment district.

Holly: What do you love most about your work?

Rebecca: I love having the freedom to create an entire concept from scratch and make product I really believe in – not just following some fast fashion trend. I also really do love the process of making, and bringing that back into my life has been really fulfilling.

Holly: You currently create textiles for cushions, and artwork. Do you see yourself expanding into other areas in the future?

Rebecca: Yes – the plan is to expand to all home products but this will take time!

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Holly: What designers of today inspire you? 

Rebecca: A lot of local and smaller designers inspire me. I find myself really drawn to the work of ceramicists – especially Michele Michael the talented woman behind Elephant Ceramics. I also love Frances Palmer’s work – I think what she has accomplished is very impressive and inspiring. I’ve recently discovered Emilie Halpern and think her work is beautiful as well. My list could go on! Doug Johnston who makes those amazing baskets, Caitlin Mociun and her amazing jewellery. I also think Dries van Noten, Suno, and Marni are great inspiration from high end fashion brands. I’m also always drawn to the work of artists like Agnes Martin, Matisse, Sonia Delaunay, Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois. The women of Gee’s Bend and their quilts is another big source of inspiration.

Thank you so much Rebecca for chatting to me about your work and sharing a bit about yourself for us here on AVENUE. I just adore what you’re up to and cannot wait to see what you come up with for your next collection.

If you’re keen to find out more about Rebecca Atwood and see more of her collection and artworks, visit her website. She also writes a blog, where she shares some of her work and processes there.

Holly

Image credits: Rebecca Atwood Designs

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