Join us for a glimpse into the beautiful, process driven, designs of Rebecca Atwood. Learn what she has to say about finding inspiration, dyeing fabric by hand and her favorite season.

Photography by David Kimelman
Interview by Kevin Burke

Smoky grey shadows, subtle reflected light and shifting patterns playfully interact with each other in the new pillow collection from Brooklyn based artist and designer, Rebecca Atwood. Rebecca designs thoughtful, handmade, fabric landscape motifs to add comfort and a touch of luxury to your living room or favorite reading nook.

At BURKELMAN, it’s all about options. The double-sided designs really add an element of unexpected fun to your couch cushion curation. No matter how, or where, you toss them, they land looking great. Rebecca’s designs are simple, elegant and sure to be enjoyed for years to come.

Click to shop the full collection.

 

Folding, binding and dipping are some of the modified traditional Japanese techniques used to make the Shibori Pillow patterns.
All of Rebecca's Shibori fabrics are hand dyed in her Industry City studio.

Kevin: Why dye fabrics by hand?

Rebecca: Dyeing the fabric by hand results in a more varied look that I love. How you fold the fabric and sometimes I think even your mood, can affect the results you get. Most of the dyeing we do is shibori, but I also love pot-dyeing solids. I’m not really interested in getting a solid even color across a fabric. I find shibori to be such an enthralling process. The water finds its way into the folds leaving patterns much like the tide does on the beach.

"Dyeing the fabric by hand results in a more varied look that I love. How you fold the fabric and sometimes I think even your mood, can affect the results you get."
All of Rebecca Atwood’s dyes are made from locally grown ethically sourced dye plants or low-impact fiber reactive dyes. These contain no heavy metals or other known toxic substances and do not require mordants or heat to set the color.

Kevin: What are some of the natural components that make up your dyes?

Rebecca: This season we introduced fabrics dyed with madder and chestnut to create the rich tan color, and iron and chestnut to produce the smoky gray hue. While we don’t always work with natural dyes (sometimes we use low impact fiber reactive ones), I just love the colors the natural dyes create. They’re earthy and rich in a way that the fiber reactive dyes just aren’t.

Madder root is a key ingredient Rebecca uses to achieve the gorgeous ochre color of the dip-dyed Latte & Gold pillow. Iron and chestnut are used in concocting the smoky grey colors.
Hand dyeing is wonderfully unpredictable and guarantees each pillow is a unique work of art.

Kevin: Does inspiration come at specific times for you?

Rebecca: Usually when I’m feeling relaxed I feel more inspired. I try to keep a notebook with me to jot down ideas for patterns as they come, color combinations, and to draw a quick sketch of a concept.

Kevin: Which time of year is your favorite?

Rebecca: My favorite time of year depends on where I am. Summer on Cape Cod will always be a favorite…but I also love early Fall there after all the tourists have left. Spring is my favorite in NY as the winters always feel very long here.

Kevin: What inspires you?

Rebecca: So much of my work comes from my personal history and memories. I grew up on Cape Cod. The water and soft neutrals of the coastal landscape became so much a part of my sensibility. I think that is one of the biggest influences for me.

I find inspiration everywhere though - a vintage scarf, the shadows on a sidewalk, an idea in my sketchbook, or even painting directly onto fabric with dye. My studio practice allows me the space to create and see what develops. Giving myself time that’s not directly correlated to a specific project opens up all sorts of new ideas. It can be hard to find the time though. I think the big thing with inspiration is to keep making, keep looking, and always give yourself time to edit.

For me, it’s also really essential to give myself time off. Going to a museum, seeing friends, cooking – all of that is equally important for inspiration. We live in a world where the internet allows for such an instantaneous sharing of ideas and images, which is amazing, but I also think getting away from that and out in the world is crucial.

Kevin: Do you have a favorite part of the design process?

Rebecca: My favorite part of my design process is the initial drawing, collecting, and making. I love coming up with lots of ideas and seeing which ones connect and begin to form into something new. I also must admit I do love when it all comes together in a photo shoot and I’m able to put the collection together in a new light. The photo shoot allows me to come full circle and put everything in the context I originally envisioned.

Kevin: What's next for Rebecca Atwood Designs?

Rebecca: We’ve just introduced fabric by the yard, which I’m really excited about. We’ll be expanding this part of our collection in January. This Fall we’re also introducing zip pouches, lingerie bags, and a candle collaboration with Riles and Co. We’re working on new concepts for next Fall now and looking at embellishments, new product categories, and more.

Rebecca takes time to draw, paint, collage and test color concepts in her sketchbook. This allows her to collect, invent and keep inspiration for future projects.
I find inspiration everywhere . . . a vintage scarf, the shadows on a sidewalk, an idea in my sketchbook, or even painting directly onto fabric with dye.