Saturday, July 17, 2010

Weed Love & What I'm Doing About it

{Queen Anne's Lace from my Dad's House}

We're headed out to Illinois to visit my dad this week.  The Midwestern summer flowers bloom just a little bit after the East Coast ones so every year I feel like I get them all summer long.  As I've mentioned before, some of my favorite flowers are wildflowers or "weeds." 

There's an empty lot accross from my Dad's house that we own and my dad has left it uncut because it's filled with wildflowers:  black-eyed susans, tiger lilies, queen anne's lace, wild chicory and lots of others whose names I do't know.  One of my favorite things to do as soon as I arrive in Antioch is to pick a ton of the flowers and put them around the house.  The cottage my dad now lives in (and has renovated from the ground up) belonged to my grandparents and I remember summer afternoons as a little girl picking flowers with my Grandma Maestranzi , who always had fresh flowers around the house. 

{I even love the grapevine that have taken over the old chain link fence...  I know how ugly "chain link fence" sounds but this thing is so old (over 60 years?) and covered in vines that you can't even see the fence itself.  It really is pretty.}   

Below is a photo of my dad from last summer picking a bunch of widlflowers for me:

Our trip to Illinois last summer was pretty rough.  My dad's dog attacked Christian (below you can see his little raw nose) and it was terrifying.   After a bunch of stitches and an emergency room trip, we just attempted to keep things low-key and tried to shake it off:

{Christian last year, age 2 helping to pick flowers}

Here's the arrangement my dad & Christian made filled with dandylions, wild clover, Queen Anne's lace, chicory, hosta & lillies:

{We used a hosta leaf to hide all of the uneven stems}

My dad thought it was very "Eddie" and I didn't want to burst his bubble.  ;)  
But I really loved it and nothing beats seeing my little guy & my dad picking flowers together. 
(This happened right before they caught the frog...)

...So... all of this brings me to a new venture I'm working on.  The idea behind the whole thing is finding beauty in the everyday...  in the uncultivated...  things from my memories that affected me...  As a child you find beauty in things like this all of the time.  It's the reason I chose a wild white clover for the Pure Style Home logo: seeing them pop up in the Spring reminds me of being little and seeing beauty in the clover.  Making little posies and bracelets and drinking in the sweet smell.  I didn't find clover in a garden and they might not have been considered to be "beautiful" but they were mine for the taking and they were beautiful to me.  ...  My memories of these everyday wildflowers/ weeds/ etc. have stayed with me and I still feel the same way about them when I come across them.  I want to celebrate them somehow...

The first one I'm working with is one of my favorites "wild chicory:"

Seeing it along roadsides makes me so happy and I their jagged petals are so interesting:

So I've decided to create a line of textiles that incorporates my love of things from my past & from my travels that still to this day touch me...  the "weeds" are just the beginning and are simply the springboards for where the designs will go.  I'm not an artist and am finding it seriously difficult but very rewarding.  For the designs I draw myself, I envision simple almost rustic woodcuts because I'm not skilled enough to do anything else and of course because I'm crazy over these types of designs.  For the more complicated designs, I'm working with a graphic artist.  Here's the first design/ drawing I did, "wild chicory:"

It'll be on a linen groundcloth repeated of course over & over and will be available in 4-5 colorways.  I'm at the very early stages of the process but wanted to share.  This all came about when I was working with Jessica over at Front Porch Studios who did my new blog layout and is also doing my business cards, letterhead, etc.  I thought it would be fun if I drew the logo for my business card that she was working on.  After I drew the logo I realized it would be perfect for my Victorian Wing Chair:  (below, think approx 12" high for each little chicory) and sent it onto another friend Dagny, who was really encouraging.  (Thanks Dagny if you're reading!!)

So my original idea was that I would just make the fabrics and wallcoverings for myself and for my clients... but then I thought maybe others would like the textiles too, so we'll see how it goes.  (I'll also partly blame Dagny who is super-sweet and encouraged me to create more designs ;)   There will be lots of different styles encompassed in the line and there won't necessarily be something for everybody, but again, my goal is for me to be personally in love with each & every one.  If I love them, then I'm comfortable attempting to sell them.  I'll keep you posted and am only at the very beginning stages, so keep your fingers crossed!!  Who knows what will come of this but I'm giving it a shot.  I'll fill you in on some more details next week.  Hope you're having a beautiful weekend!!

xoxo, Lauren

ps-  On Sunday, July 18th, Susan Fox of Love Where You Live is showing off what I consider to be the "chill zone" in my house.  Can you guess what spot that is? 

Also, thanks so those who listened to the Skirted Roundtable Interview...  If you haven't gotten the chance to listen and want to, you can check it out here.