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NYIGF: Pillow Talk

Among the thousands of vendors showing at the winter New York International Gift Fair last week, I stumbled on a few whose wares and stories were so compelling, I literally fell in love with them. They all just happened to produce pillows (among other things).

D. Bryant Archie is a studio based on a love story. The company was born from a dream that founder D. Bryant Archie had on her honeymoon. I might add that Bryant married the boy next door. (Well, across the street. How cute is that?) Struck by the handmade textiles and indigenous crafts she observed in Morocco on their honeymoon, Bryant set upon launching a company that would produce handwoven blankets. The company has branched into also making pillows, throws, towels and table linens, employing artisans from cultures with a handweaving heritage. Relying on the beautiful hand and simple weaves of the textiles rather than embellishments, Bryant's designs are classic and timeless. I was drawn to her array of table napkins. They'd make a colorful statement on a buffet table set with simple white earthenware.

 

                                               D. Bryant Archie pillows handwoven in Peru from baby alpaca

 

                                                  D. Bryant Archie Table Napkins handwoven in Guatemala

Color is a magnet for me, and when I saw this display of pillows by Flotsam + Jetsam, I had to know more.

 

                             Pillows by Flotsam + Jetsam at Winter New York International Gift Fair

Flotsam + Jetsam began as a design studio, focusing on the renovation of historic properties and the design of boutiques and cafes around the Philadelphia area. Architectural and three dimensional, their felt pillows yield surprises of color and form in a myriad of shapes. New to their collection is the Modern Quilt pillow -- their solution to pet hair accumulation. The pillows are quilted from recycled PVC. But the surprise element is the surface pockets where they've repurposed studio remnants for color and sparkle.

               

                                                                        Flotsam + Jetsam's Modern Quilt pillow

The studio also produces pillows with digitally-printed silks. I can't wait for them to produce this bag in pillow form. It's gold leaf on burlap, and the pillow is in the works. By the way, all of Flotsam + Jetsam's pillows are made in the USA.

                          

                                                             Flotsam + Jetsam gold leaf on burlap bag

Not too far from Flotsam + Jetsam's booth at the Gift Fair was the equally colorful and exciting display by Margo Selby. For the last ten years or so, Margot has worked magic to create three-dimensional textiles of magnificent color and pattern. The process starts on hand-looms where Margot experiments with color and weaving techniques. Once satisfied, Margot and her team program the pattern into industrial jacquard looms, enabling them to produce textiles of such depth and intricacy. Besides pillows, Margot transorms her textiles into blankets, rugs, curtains, lampshades and furniture upholstery.

If you haven't read my guest post for New England Home magazine's design blog, please do. You must see the pillows produced by LuRu Home that I featured there. LuRu Home was started by two women, Claire Russo and Liza Serratore, who became enamored with the hand-printed indigo textiles they discovered in Shanghai and set out to produce a line that would help preserve this ancient yet dying art. Few families remain who practice the 3000-year-old craft that yields such lovely textiles. I love that Claire and Liza's enterprise, like others in this post, is founded on an appreciation of native crafts and endeavors to maintain them for us to enjoy.