New Design: Summer Squall

New Design: Summer Squall

The fabrics are almost ready! Thanks to all of you who have inquired. Thank you also for your patience. My web team is busy busy with the custom calculator and I hope it’ll just be a couple more weeks until we go live.

In the meantime, I’m also adding a new design to the web shop in January/February 2015. I’ve been working on it for half a year (I got a little obsessively into all the little details of the leaves, etc.)!

This piece will soon be available as wallpaper and fabric (9 different sorts, including cottons, linen, silks and velvet) at www.elliecashmandesign.com.

Summer Squall has a lot of personal meaning for me. If you want a little background on the design and the process, read on! This is a little piece I wrote about it …

 

EllieCashmanSummerSquallRedHotBeige

Summer Squall

I started working on Summer Squall at the end of August 2014, when we were descending from the height of summer’s sweetness into the colder, darker months of the year. Unlike the other prints I’d designed previously, I had this one named almost from the very start.

This was a time when I was readjusting to ‘real life’ after spending a blissful three weeks with my parents, my husband and my three children in a quirky summer rental house just a couple of miles from Horseneck Beach, in Southern, coastal New England, not far from where I grew up.

Since I expatriated in 2007, summers have been a particularly special time for me, when three generations of my family are in the same place, when my past, present and future convene on a New England shoreline. It’s a contrast to the rest of the year, when I spend my days in adopted surroundings and don’t often (ever?) feel this connected.

There’s a particular moment I was thinking of as I started work on Summer Squall.

It was an evening in late July, and I was sitting with my parents around a fire pit by a dock on the Westport River. We were, each of us, at distant points on an invisible circle, so far apart that talking was out of the question. The late afternoon light was fading and we formed a ring around my younger daughter, Juliette, who was dancing in the sand, circling the smoldering embers. She was jabbing at the air with a marshmallow stick and licking her tacky fingers. We had just eaten the quintessential summer dessert of s’mores.Juliette had turned four a couple of weeks earlier. For her birthday present, I had put together a photo album for her. I had tried to capture the highlights of her year – vacations, classes, parties, new friends, etc. When placing the photo of her as the new big sister, her three-day-old brother reclining in her arms, my heart broke a little.

When Nathan was born, she became our middle child and, paradoxically, seemed to lose her claim on being the center of attention.

And yet in that photograph, you can read the pride and happiness on her face. For the girl who loved to help take care of all the babies at daycare, this new role was more complicated than she could have known. Three would become a year of tagging along while I picked her older sister up from school, or waiting while I changed her baby brother’s diaper. She would have to entertain herself while I checked my e-mail or answered an urgent phone call.

But on that evening in late July, there she was at the fulcrum of the wheel, pinning us in a blissful orbit around her.

She may have waited all year to be at the axis of my orbit, but here she was now, the middle child at the middle point. Soon, the fireflies would frame the scene, shooting stars buzzing in the brush around us, silhouetted against a watercolor sunset. At long last, Juliette was the center of the universe, and what a universe it was!

Taking a break from her marshmallow, she turned to me. “Mommy, why do we have to wait?” she asked, referring to the fireflies, who hadn’t yet made their appearance.

Looking back, I think she meant, “What’s taking so long?”

But what I heard was, “Why are we waiting for fireflies? Let’s move on.”

And so I answered: ”Because if we’re not here when they come out, their light will be wasted.”

And then I thought, with a heaping dose of mother’s guilt, of how many times Juliette’s spark might have been wasted on me that year. I worried that I had been so busy, so focused on other things that seemed more pressing at the time: big-kid needs, baby needs, my needs. Until this moment, when her light was almost blinding, when it was as if the sunset sky was ablaze with her.

Juliette is my most challenging child. That year, perhaps more so than ever before. She was caught in limbo, between wanting to be big like her big sister, growing into her own personality, or a baby like her baby brother, rolled up in the familiar fold. Somehow, in that moment, it seemed she’d finally found a little peace in her own place, the middle place.

I think we all had.

It had been a long time coming, and it was a moment that I wanted to pause, and place on repeat, if I could.

And yet as an adult, moments like these always come to you coupled with the realization that we will have to let them pass, the way they must, on their inexorable journey from present to past. And the next moment waiting for us – the one in line for Security at Logan Airport, when we’ll all have to say goodbye to each other and go back to our ‘real’ lives – is imminent. This moment will fade to memory like the flames in the fire pit, smoldering to ashes that take to the wind.

And I tell myself that I’m happy that the moment happened at all, that we found that place, recognized it, that we lived it and felt it fully, doing everything short of capturing it and saving it in a jar. Maybe that’s enough to get me through the harder, darker days, the days when we’re feeling less connected. If we felt this peace of place in every moment, we wouldn’t have appreciated this one in the intense way we did, sitting by the fire pit, delighting in marshmallows.

So when I was working on Summer Squall, I was thinking about that feeling, which is so typical for the end of summer. You’ve basked in the light while it was high in the sky, while everything was alive and ablaze, and now it’s time to embrace the passing of the moment, the day, the season and move toward the darker days on the way. Going back to work, to school, to doing things you ‘have’ to do more often than things you ‘want’ to do.

For me, that moment by the fire pit is the smoldering point of light that I’ve taken with me into the darkness. That moment is the perfect white peony suspended above the dark foliage. Behind that flower in full bloom, and behind that moment, the leaves are just starting to rustle with its passing …

EllieCashmanSummerSquallDetail

Months later, on a Friday in the month of December, after close to a half year of arduous work, I finished Summer Squall in my attic studio, with Juliette playing with the puppet theater behind me. She had faked sick earlier that day, and I’d picked her up from school on what would have/could have/should have been a work day.

A few weeks earlier, I had scrapped Summer Squall, dissatisfied with the fact that it had become so rigid and dense and void of color. In the months of painstaking effort I’d put into it, I had forgotten about the warmth and beauty and love that was its inspiration in the first place.

Then I started writing about it, which helped me reconnect to its symbolism and make a new plan for it. Then the repeat burst open, I painted the color and the brush strokes back in to the highlights. It started to look less like a William Morris (my original plan) and more like an Ellie Cashman, sharing, in the end, more qualities with Dark Floral and Dark Floral II than had been my original intention.

Once again, there was joy in the process.

It was fitting then, on that December Friday, with my toddler muse at my back, that I shut down my computer on a completed Summer Squall, feeling that, once again, things had come full circle.

This amazing year had come to an end, marked by professional accomplishments I couldn’t have imagined. It was time to wrap up my work and head off on our Christmas vacation.

I sent the final files to my printer and a week later, I was on the receiving end of the service I’d provided my clients all year. On a sunny Monday morning, a FedEx truck pulled up in front of my childhood home in Providence, Rhode Island, delivering a box of final proofs that had followed us in flight over the Atlantic. I unwrapped each one, savoring the moment that I had worked toward for so long: the moment when I finally felt satisfied.

It is a season, a year, a life in chiaroscuro, the darks more prolific, accounting for most of the time and space, and yet it’s as if their only purpose is to direct you to the light, when it does spark. Framed against the darkness, the highlights reach new heights.

For all her struggles, Juliette pirouetted at the center of the summer universe, and for all the frustrations inherent to the creative process, I unrolled those proofs in late December with a feeling of satisfied completion. In the end, these are the moments that catch the light, while the the rest fade into shadow.

And once you’ve seen one glitter and spark, you’re bound to wait in the dark for another. Patiently, persistently, knowing: it’s precisely when the dark deepens, that the most brilliant moments are revealed.
Otherwise, the light is wasted.

Months before, on that night in July, Juliette lay her marshmallow stick in the grass, before ascending a darkened tunnel path up through the woods and back to our summer home. Her passage was framed on all sides by firefly falling stars, first a few, then many. They had finally shown up to give their nightly performance. It was magical, and seemed as if it was timed just for Juliette’s passing through.

Hours later, after a few motor boats had sped up and down the desolate river, after Juliette’s head had hit her pillow, her eyes had closed and she’d drifted off into a deep, satisfied sleep, I imagine a fortunate field mouse must have happened upon that stick.

Marveling at his good luck, he would have gorged himself on the last remaining marshmallow morsels. That gluttonous little rodent would have stumbled home to his mouse hole with a horrible ache in his belly. He would have tossed and turned through his whole day’s sleep.

And then, at the next onset of darkness, he would have woken up to a new night.

And then, as was all he knew to do, he would have gone off again.

Searching.

signature

 

EllieCashmanSummerSquallMidnightBluePhoto&StylingEllenMesu

EllieCashmanSummerSquallDaylightWhitePhoto&StylingEllenMesu copy

 

 

The Fabrics are Coming!

The Fabrics are Coming!

I’ve been talking about it for a while now, but in January 2015, it’s really going to happen!!

I’ll be launching my fabric collection, including 3 cottons, a rayon, a linen, 3 silks and a velvet.

Behold, the Dark Floral on silk charmeuse!

EllieCashmanDarkFloralCurtainsPhoto&StylingEllenMesuthmb

I must admit I get a little emotional looking at these curtains. It’s been an intense process of sourcing, testing and ultimately producing them. At long last, there they are hanging in Dutch light, complete with raindrops on the window pane. Leave it to Mother Nature to add just the right touch :)

signature

Wallpaper in Marc Cain’s ‘In Bloom’ Campaign

Wallpaper in Marc Cain’s ‘In Bloom’ Campaign

I wanted to share the exciting news that my Dark Floral II Black Saturated wallpaper is featured in Marc Cain‘s Spring | Summer 2015 Collection ‘In Bloom.’

The catalog is bound inside and out with the wallpaper pattern. Here you can see the catalog on top of a piece of the original wallpaper.

MarcCainWallpaperbyEllieCashmanDesign

And the inside cover featuring my Dark Floral II wallpaper.

MarcCainWallpaperbyEllieCashmanDesign2

The wallpaper is also featured as the backdrop for the first theme in the collection. These photographs appear both in the gorgeous hardbound Marc Cain catalog as well as on their website here.

MarcCainWallpaperbyEllieCashmanfromwebsite

There are more exciting announcements on the way. They have to do with NEW products that will be added to the web shop before the end of the year! It’s going to be the grand finale to what has been a really phenomenal year!

Check back soon!

signature

New to the web shop: Pillow cases!

New to the web shop: Pillow cases!

I know I’ve been MIA here on the blog, but please don’t think I haven’t been busy behind the scenes. I have SO many exciting things that I’m working on! Now that I’m back from summer vacation and the kids will soon be back to school/daycare, I’ve got a bunch of product rollouts planned for the fall.

The first products to be added to the shop will be pillow cases – 11 of them to start. Here I am surrounded by a bunch of them. Thanks again to Ellen Mesu for the wonderful portrait/product photography.

Floral Print Pillows by Ellie Cashman.Blog

Does my facial expression say it all? Testing these fabrics and selecting which prints belonged on which fabric and in which format was INTENSE! In the beginning, I thought pillows were a bit boring, I’ll be honest, but I got into them in a major way. I LOVE these!! So, I think what you see on my face is: “Wow, this is the culmination of a lot of work, but here are some products that I’m really proud of!”

The fabrics are so incredibly beautiful. There is a silk velvet which I have to restrain myself from printing EVERYTHING on, and a silk satin for the Dark Floral which is the epitome of elegance. Then there is an upholstery cotton which gives the softer flowers a toughness that I really like. In Dutch there is this word “stoer” that is used a lot. It’s a combination of “tough”, “rough”, “rugged” and “cool” in English. “Stoer” is the word I would use to describe the pillow cases on the cottons and the linen.

Here is a sneak preview close up of some of the pillows in this initial collection, which will be added to the web shop in the next couple of weeks. I hope you like what you see!

FloralPrintPillows.Blog

I had so much fun with this, you can be sure there’s more to come!

signature

 

First Pillow Prototypes!

First Pillow Prototypes!

First pillowcase prototypes are in! Moonlight Meadow Black on an AMAZING velvet and Rose Decay and Twisting Tulips White on an AWESOME Linen. Still shopping for the pillow inserts, but here’s a very first glimpse.

 

FirstPillows

 

Designed, printed and sewn in Holland. With love!

Now that Nathan is going to daycare 2 days a week I’m planning a major influx of new products to the web shop before the end of the year. Pillows are at the top of the list. Waiting on more prototypes in a beautiful cotton and a STUNNING silk satin!

signature

Floraliën Flower Show

Floraliën Flower Show

On Monday I whizzed through the Floraliën flower show here in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It’s Europe’s largest plant and flower expo – at 40,000 square meters – and I only shot a few hundred photos that will provide me with inspiration for months to come!

FloralienOverview2

Would have loved to have stayed longer but Nathan can only postpone his afternoon nap for so long …

FloralienBalloons

Here are some impressions of the floral arrangements and plantings we saw.

FloralienAnimals

Wish we could somehow replicate the smells too because it was heavenly!

FloralienColors

FloralienOverview1

These gardens were so lush and expansive. I can’t imagine how long it took to set this all up, just for an 8 day show. And I’m left wondering where all these flowers go when it’s over …

signature

Dark Floral 2: Light Fresco

Dark Floral 2: Light Fresco

Hey there, so you may be wondering where is Dark Floral 2?! After all, I did announce last week that it would be added to the web shop by now.

You know … there are just always a few last tweaks :)

And when you’re a perfectionist, those few last tweaks can drag on for weeks, and months … And start driving you a little crazy!! :)

I’ll be sure to post here as soon as Dark Floral 2 is live at www.elliecashmandesign.com. I hope it’ll be just a few more days.

In the meantime, here is a peek at the ‘Light Fresco’ version, styled and photographed by Ellen Mesu.

Ellie Cashman Dark Floral 2 Light Fresco Photo & Styling Ellen Mesu for blog

This is my favorite situational shot yet. It’s Grandma anno 2014 and beyond. And there’s something great about Grandma … we shouldn’t be afraid of her. As I recently read on a trend report, we should:

“Go big. Go Grandma. Or go home.”

It’s all about improving on the past. Combining old and new to create something that is a true and personal reflection of you.

By choosing flowers as my subject I’ve obviously chosen a traditional motif. But in using the most up-to-date digital software, printing processes and wallpaper materials, I hope to create a unique product for the home that is on the one hand timeless and even a bit nostalgic, and on the other totally of this moment, totally modern and even a bit revolutionary. The best of both worlds.

Here is a detail of the ‘fresco’ effect. The flowers appear to be painted onto a concrete surface:

Ellie Cashman Dark Floral 2 Light Fresco Detail for blog

And the product description for Dark Floral 2 in the Light Fresco color way:

“Giant, painted chrysanthemums, roses, tulips and hydrangeas burst out of a middle ground of undulating foliage. A single butterfly inhabits this lush garden world. This design is the sequel to Ellie’s breakthrough ‘Dark Floral’, on a nearly white ‘fresco’ background. The flowers appear to have been painted on white concrete, adding rich texture and creating a subtle tromp l’oeil (what we call ‘fresco’) effect when the wallpaper is applied to the wall. The pinks and greens are more subdued and the background is lighter and less textured than the Vintage Sanded Fresco version. The dramatic play between deep shadows and brilliant spotlights is another ode to the still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age and creates a sort of 3D effect. What really distinguishes this wallpaper from your (great great) grandmother’s is the larger-than-life-scale of the flowers, the largest of which is 47 cm (18 in.) in diameter.”

Hope you love it!

signature

 

Announcing: Dark Floral II

Announcing: Dark Floral II

Later this week I will be adding Dark Floral II – a brand new wallpaper design – to the web shop. It will come in five color ways, one of which (‘Fresco Gray’), you see below.

Ellie Cashman Dark Floral Neutral Photo & Styling Ellen Mesu.2

Dark Floral II is the sequel to the Dark Floral wallpaper design that launched my brand last year right about this time.

I’ve been working slavishly on this follow up for about 7 months!! Of course, I work half an hour here, an hour there … between my kids’ naps, feedings, school pickups. You get the picture. In 7 months, this is what I’ve (finally!) been able to piece together.

It’s been a crazy time, full of riches.

This color way is the neutral option and we call it a ‘fresco’ because the flowers are on a concrete background, which gives it rich texture and the illusion of a concrete wall with a fresco painting on it. Here’s a detail, to give you an idea.

FrescoGrayDetail

Thanks again to Ellen Mesu for the photography and styling, which just keeps getting better!

And there’s more to come!

signature

Dark Floral Powder Room Paradise

Dark Floral Powder Room Paradise

Sorry for the radio silence here at the blog.

The last few weeks have been buzzing behind the scenes, thanks to Amber Lewis at Amber Interiors and Emily Schuman at Cupcakes & Cashmere, who posted this lovely post and this lovely post about the Dark Floral Powder Room Paradise that Emily created in her new house in Los Angeles.

PowderRoomUpdatebefore

PowderRoomAfter2

It was right around New Years that we shipped this wallpaper to Amber. It was a total surprise when she and Emily posted on February 25th with these great before and after shots of the renovation.

PowderRoomAfter3

I really envisioned this wallpaper on an accent wall when I designed it, but I love the total immersion experience you get in this small space. Kudos to these ladies for having such an original vision!

I also want to thank them not only for doing such a beautiful job with the wallpaper but for being so enthusiastic and supportive and for sharing their vision and process.

For an emerging designer, it’s just invaluable to have someone give you this kind of exposure and endorsement. So thank you to Amber and Emily, who were also willing to share these images with a major magazine that will be featuring the wallpaper in their May issue. Stay tuned!

In other news, I’m entering my final round of proofs for Dark Floral II, which I’ll be releasing in a couple of weeks (I hope!) This one is going to be available in about 4 colorways to start. One of them is a ‘sanded fresco’, which I’m particularly smitten with.

EllieCashmanDarkFloral2SandedFrescoforblog

Hope you like it too!

signature

10 Favorite Designer Wallpapers

10 Favorite Designer Wallpapers

In October of 2012 I wrote a post called: My Wallpaper Obsession Takes Hold.

Now I want to share with you some of the reasons why I’m so obsessed and so excited about what is happening in the world of wallpaper right now.

Digital photography, design and printing techniques are revolutionizing this product into something so different from what wallpaper has been in the past. Plus, paper manufacturers are coming up with papers that are so much easier to apply, clean, remove and … yes, do over!

Let’s face it, wallpaper is just getting cooler and cooler.

Here are 10 designers who are, in my opinion, testing the boundaries in really exciting ways.

 

1. Arthur Slenk Remixed Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: It looks 3D, like you’ve actually collaged thousands of little pieces of paper to your wall.

Arthur Slenk; Piet Hein Eek; Piet Boon; Merci; Rick Vintage; NLX

 

2. Brooklyn Tins Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: It strikes the perfect balance between delicate and tough.

brooklyntinswallpaper

 

3. Deborah Bowness Wallpaper | England

What I love about it: The way it hangs loosely on the wall.

deborahbownesswallpaper

 

4. Ellie Cashman Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: The drama.

elliecashmandarkfloral2TWIU

 

5. Groovy Magnets Wallpaper | Belgium

What I love about it: Its fluidity and flexibility. You’re an active participant. Change it up as needed!

groovymagnetswallpaper

 

6. Piet Boon Concrete Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: Texture and light … Need I say more?

Piet Hein Eek, Piet Boon, Merci, Rick Vintage, NLXL, Scrapwood W

 

7. Piet Hein Eek Scrapwood Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: Totally deceiving!! It looks like real wood.

Scrapwood wallpaper 2 by Piet Hein Eek

 

8. Quercus & Co. Wallpaper | Australia

What I love about it: It retains the look of a hand painting.

quercusandcotapestrywallpaper

 

9. Studio Ditte Wallpaper | Netherlands

What I love about it: So clean and crisp, fun and playful.

studiodittewallpaper

 

10. Suzanne Shade Wallpaper | United States

What I love about it: It makes you dizzy (in a good way), as it works in both 2 and 3 dimensions. When I look at this, I just can’t decide if I want to enjoy the simple geometry of how it’s put together, or get sucked into the depth of the landscape photo …

suzanneshadehandmadewallpaper

signature