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Pattern Painter

A young textile designer celebrates and promotes the re-emergence of handcraftsmanship.

Caroline Cecil’s textile designs are all new, though they begin with something old. Cecil, who commutes between her studios in Los Angeles and Portland (Oregon), starts her process by taking out her grandmother’s paint brushes, dipping them in vats of black India ink, and painting designs on to paper or a canvas surface. “My grandmother was a professional watercolor artist and she taught me how to paint from a young age,” says Cecil. “I love carrying on the tradition of female artists in our family.”

Using a silkscreening process, Cecil’s clean, minimalist designs are then transferred directly on to heritage linens from Belgium and Ireland, during which she assesses her array of subtle, yet graphically vibrant color waves. “I have a deep appreciation for the artisan-made. Our fabrics celebrate the artisan through and through—from my original paintings to the linens we print onto our hand-printed production process.”

In devising her textiles for use as draperies, upholstery, and pillows (with wallcoverings a future endeavor), Cecil often references motifs encountered in her travels and studies. Her newest collection, Acacia, hearkens to ancient Egypt. “My original paintings for the line capture the carvings on the statue of a pharaoh, etchings on shells, the wood and bone and brush strokes on Egyptian pottery.”

Both her process and designs are distinctive. “I consider myself as much a painter as I do a textile designer. I love that our collection is entirely unique.”

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This story appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of MILIEU.