Material World

By Lisa H. Speidel
Provided to KLAFFStyle exclusively by New England Home

These Connecticut artists create unique textiles that make a beautiful statement in the home.

“Even though we live in a time of plenty,” says Denyse Schmidt, “my work channels the makers that made do with what they had on hand.” Evoking a simpler era, the quilt and textile designer’s latest collection, “Washington Depot,” is named for a Connecticut town that’s “very beautiful and sophisticated but still feels a little lost in time.” A medium to lightweight cotton weave, it has both a colorful (bright yellow/green and magenta) and a neutral (soft grays) component. But it’s the patterns—“a floral that feels like it could be a wallpaper at a fancy inn, or a friendly dot that somebody at the lunch place might be wearing”—that reflect a sense of place. Denyse Schmidt Quilts Studio, Bridgeport,

It’s no surprise that Donna Gorman’s textiles are popular at resorts. The surface designer, who logged twenty-plus years with the Finnish design house Marimekko, is known for her use of exuberant patterns in vibrant hues. “I’m not afraid of using strong colors,” she admits, “and I like to mix and match—it’s more interesting than having one big pattern.” Gorman’s own line, See Design, which spans home decor, clothing, and bags (all printed on natural fibers), has a modern, Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic that’s won many fans. See Design, New Canaan,

Elizabeth Eakins has quite a commute. She lives on a farm in Kansas, where she tends to a flock of 140 sheep, while her flagship studio/showroom is located in Connecticut. In fact, this live/work arrangement is in keeping with the textile designer’s ethos; her company makes all of its rugs and fabrics by hand from natural fibers, and Eakins looks to the world around her for creative inspiration. Her color palette reflects this: expect lots of blues, pale grays, and beiges, and rugs and textiles that can either take a starring role or act as a serene backdrop. This duality speaks to her own philosophy: “I want to make things that are beautiful,” she says, “and I want to feel my work is parallel with how I live.” Elizabeth Eakins, South Norwalk,

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of New England Home Connecticut.

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