Saturday, November 28, 2009

Deco The Halls Next Weekend!

(Arts & Crafts, too!)

"Over one hundred fifty dealers from across the country selling furniture, accessories, art, pottery, glass, books, jewelry, vintage clothing and collectibles from 1900 to 1980, including Arts & Crafts Mission, Monterey, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Streamline Modern, Vintage Western, Mid-Century Modern and exceptional design to 1980."

If you will be in the Bay Area next weekend, please visit the Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers booth. Aside from displaying their amazing collection of wall and ceiling papers, they will be showing some of our lace panels, including the Art Deco, Hunter Rose and Prairie Sumac Panels.

They will be featuring a special sale promotion on our lace curtains, good for one week only!
Admission and Hours:
Saturday, Dec. 5th 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday Dec. 6th 11 am - 5 pm

General Admission: $10 and Deco Society members and Seniors: $8
(Admission receipt credit towards single purchase of $100 or more.)

Directions to The Concourse Exhibition Center:

From the north: 101 South across The Golden Gate Bridge. Take Lombard Street, turn right onto Van Ness Avenue. Make a left onto Grove Street to Hyde Street, which becomes 8th when it crosses Market Street. Continue down 8th Street to Brannan.

From the east Bay: Take the Bay Bridge. Exit at 9th Street/Civic Center, go left onto 8th Street. Continue two blocks to Brannan. From the South Peninsula: Take 101 North to 7th Street Exit. Go straight onto Bryant Street, turn right onto 6th Street. Turn right on Brannan and continue to 8th Street.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Artful Lace

There's a handful or two of companies out there selling lace curtains to people with old houses or historically inspired interiors. You can find them on Google, just as you probably found my site: Cottage Lace. For the most part, they are decent folks with lovely merchandise, and truly, if you prefer one of their patterns over ours, that's fine. As an old house restorer for 20 years, I know the joy of finding just the right thing to complete a project, and I wish that for everyone.

When I started Cooper's Cottage Lace, LLC in September of 2007, I had already been selling lace curtains for the previous 16 years. As I looked around, I noticed that all of the patterns were roughly from the same era (1870-1910) and that there were a lot of similarities. I wanted to do something different, something Artful. Instead of copying the past exactly, I wanted to reinterpret lace curtain design into something historically inspired, but altogether original, in the spirit of the Arts and Crafts Movement designers.

So, I contacted my artisan friends and asked them to design lace for me. They all rose to the challenge admirably, and the line has expanded from 6 patterns to 11, with some very special patterns to be introduced in the New Year. My friends really deserve the credit for our success, for they have created these wonderful patterns that in practice, make your house more beautiful, but in theory, continue the tradition of the Artisan-Designer. You can now decorate your home with the same passion that inspired William Morris and continued through the Roycrofters and onwards: craftsmanship, and respect for the past, while embracing the future.

So, with credit being due to those who truly deserve it, here's a huge "Thank You!" from me to the artisans that have made Cottage Lace such a success:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Book: New Classic American Houses

File this under shameless self-promotion:

My book is finally out; those of you who know me well are probably aware that I've been working on this for over a year. It's about the architecture of three Boston architects who are currently practicing. They are Albert, Righter and Tittmann, and when I was first shown their portfolio by the folks at the Vendome Press in New York, I said "It looks like McKim, Mead & White had stayed in business for another century!" The first review came out, from Resident Architect, and it is very favorable. You'd think my mother had written it.
You can buy my book pretty much everywhere...Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc. If you'd like to meet me, I'll be at the Boston Borders Books on School Street at 1pm on Tuesday, Dec. 8th for a brief signing.

I also owe a shout out to Mo at the William Morris Fan Club Blog, for years ago, she gave me a copy of "The Houses of McKim, Mead and White" which was a huge inspiration for me, not only in how I approach design within my own home and when working for others, but without it, I couldn't have been able to write this book.

Aside from blowing my own horn, I'd like to mention what fascinated me about these gents is their ability to embrace the past, and yet reinterpret it without resorting to rote copying. They are part of the evolution of Classical and Shingle Style architecture, and this willful participation in the progression of past to future is also the concept behind the lace curtain patterns of my company, Cooper's Cottage Lace, LLC. I call it "Artful Lace" and I'll go into this in my next blog.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tea Dyeing Lace

All of the cotton lace curtains that you see were a light brownish color when they were first woven; they're called gray goods or loomstate, and then these raw panels or yardage are taken to the finishers, where they are dyed to a specific color.

When Cooper's Cottage Lace started back in 2007, we decided to select one color for our lace that would be the most compatible with everyone's interior, and selected Natural White (also known in the trade as Ivory), as it was a pleasing white shade that was not too stark and was also potentially more stable than lace that had been bleached. Whan clients ask "What color is Natural White?" I tell them that it looks like white, until you put it next to pure white. It's not as brown as ecru, nor is it very "yellowy", either.

Natural white looks great with white woodwork but has enough of a tint to please folks who usually want a little bit of "character" to their curtains.

But, some of you out there want a lot of character, and so, herewith, are the instructions on how to tea-dye your lace. Tea-dyeing is a time honored method of darkening lace curtains to make them look antique, and is often used on film sets.

The following is from "The Crazy Quilt Handbook" by Judith Montano and C&T Publishing

"To make the tea solution, boil a gallon of water with four tea bags in it for 15 minutes. Strain the solution and return it to simmer. Wet the lace in plain water, then put it into simmering tea. When the lace has simmered for 15 minutes, take it out and put it in a setting solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar in one gallon of water. Let it set for 15 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly and press."

If you're considering trying this process, please call or email us, and we'll send you some cuttings to experiment with at no charge. You can also use fabric dyes, such as RIT or other types available from crafts stores. This can give you virtually any color imaginable, and is quite striking. I've seen our Old Colony in black, and it's beautiful.