Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

4.17.2014

Hands On


Alive with energy, Mary Mulcahy's new designHailey Indigo, is blanketed with sunburst-like, flower-ish forms.



Part of her latest Traditional Kalamkari collection, this cotton print's sense of movement seems fitting because Mulcahy says that the line is all about human energy, from the hands that carve the printing blocks based on her original designs to the feet that pedal the sewing machines. Another of the physically demanding steps involved in creating Kalamkari is the fabric softening: in keeping with age-old Indian techniques, naturally sun-bleached cloth is beaten with rocks, boiled and dried all before printing begins. (BTW: The results are highlighted in a beautifully-styled hardcover catalog available to the public for $15.)


Flipping through the pages, longtime fans of Mulcahy's artisan textile house, Les Indiennes, will notice that the designer has expanded her repertoire.


[Click to see full screen view. Images courtesy Les Indiennes.]


In the past, she's stuck with monochromes -- one color on pale, naturally bleached grounds -- but her kalamkaris combine multiple hues on darker antiqued grounds. The look is very much rooted in historic Indian styles. Cases in point: Therese, with its lineup of leaf-like shapes known as "boteh" or "buta" in India but more commonly called paisley in the West, as well as her intricately bordered Julia.


Rich red and indigo dominate the dense floral, Bianca, pictured below. 


Besides this tangle of stylized blossoms, or the flock of birds flying across another print (appropriately named Birds), Mulcahy writes that she sees something less literal in the patterns: the skill of her master craftsman and business partner, Srinivas Pitchuka. So the latest line, more than any other perhaps, is her ode to him.


In total, the team has produced 24 prints, several to be available in multiple colorways, Find more of the offerings, including tablecloths, napkins, quilts and pillows, here.

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