Saturday, February 26, 2011

Textile Design - From Italy & Japan, with Love!

This is the first of a series of articles on artists and their decorative design from around the globe. Their innovative and creative visions have helped shape our contemporary design.

Beautiful hand painted patterns and compositions have always been a highly skilled and artistic expression of textile design. Whether sophisticated or whimsical, pretty fabrics help set the tone for a charming interior decor. Many years ago I had the privilege to work with artist Eriko Maeda, a successful textile designer based in Como, Italy. She's also an established journalist for an interior design magazine in Japan. Here is an exclusive interview and presentation of some of her fabulous creations:

1. The Moon from My Attic: Please introduce yourself:   My name is Eriko Maeda, of Japanese nationality; I live in Italy since 1980. I graduated from Musashino Art University in Tokyo. I work as a textile designer and journalist for an interior design magazine.

2. TMFMA: Where do you enjoy doing your creative work?  I do my creative works in my own art studio, at home.

3. TMFMA: How did you get started?  My first job started in a big fashion company, in their marketing department, after I graduated school in Japan. However it was a job that didn't give me much satisfaction. I wanted to  do textile art by hand. So I changed and relocated to a different city in Japan and worked for a small textile design studio.

4. TMFMA: What's exciting about your creative work?  I was enthusiast about doing textile design, especially because it was by hand. In 1980 I moved to Italy and worked for an Italian design studio in Como. I learned more hand painting technique, coloring, artistic Italian design styles. Since then so many things have changed with me, but I still like hand painting and designing fabrics such as silk, linen and cotton.

5. TMFMA: What's your favorite medium or tool that you create with?  I still design by using classic tools like brushes, guache or water color and some acrylic fabric paints.  I also do computer work because I free lance for a Japanese interior magazine as their European correspondent.

6. TMFMA: Do you work by yourself or do you also do collaborative work?  I have my own design studio, Eriko Maeda Design and I'm a consultant for a textile weaver in Prato, Italy, called Luilor.  As mentioned before, I also work for a Japanese interior design magazine called Dream Interior Decoration, as their correspondent and photographer in Europe.

7. TMFMA: Tell us of a fun/creative project 
or a collaboration and what you learned from it.
I learned so much by working for Ratti, a renown silk company in Como, Italy. I worked for this company for six years, and touched upon the best textile quality, artistic design, creative styling and elegance – Ratti's clients are some of the most famous designers and brands in the world, like Gucci, Valentino, Versace, Ferre', Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Celine, Coach, Loewe, Dior. 

On the other hand, I also learned to be a journalist. I go to interior design fairs around Europe, such as Maison Object Paris, Salone del Mobile Milano, Proposte Como, London Design Festival, and so on, and write reports for publishing with photographs.
8.TMFMA: Where do you like to look for inspiration?  I like nature, the shape of flowers, leaves and shadow of trees. They give me inspiration for my design patterns and motifs. I like visiting museums to see works of art, whether they are classical or modern. Some of them create deep emotional impressions on me. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

It All Started with a Mural...

This is the mural I helped painting when I was 5 years old
- many years have gone by since it happened.

I was barely 5 years old when I helped paint a mural at my grandpa's summer house over Lake Como, Italy. It was such fun! We spread pots of paints out on a table while my aunt sketched in a scene from a fantasy world with fish and boats and moons and stars on a white-washed wall. Then, we were given free rein to paint and step by step transform the blank slate of a wall into a fun, exciting, fabulous experience.

Lake Como

While painting my aunt used to sing a very sweet song that talked about a beautiful moon. Many moons have waxed and waned since that pivotal day at the working end of a paint brush. However, that first memory of such intense, creative joy is still as fresh as the paint was on that day. Thus, I'd like to dedicate this blog to all that is creative and to the many interesting tales of artists throughout the world :)