Talking to...Lori Weitzner
Staff -- Interior Design, 8/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
Ethereal cyanotype photographs, produced by arranging plant specimens on paper and exposing them to sunlight, are what inspired Lori Weitzner's latest textile collection for Pallas. Based on images from Zeva Oelbaum's book, Blue Prints, the Shadowgraphs collection comprises four botanical patterns in rayon-polyester or cotton-polyester blends. Intertwined vines appear in Maidenhair. Arbor features the imagery of delicate pine needles. Sprayrose subtly depicts moisture on ferns. And springtime blossoms weave their way into Savannah. Weitzner tells us about the ideas and process behind the collection.
Why base your patterns on photographs?
Zeva Oelbaum and I were introduced years ago by a mutual friend. I've been to many of her gallery openings since then. For a while, she also had her studio in the same building as mine, and I would go upstairs whenever I fancied!
Her work is subtle but evocative, quiet but emotional. It moved me—and its dimensions and textures intrigued me. The photos in Blue Prints, particularly, whisper of breath and nature and life, things I have always tried to capture in my textiles.
How did you select images?
First, it was a completely emotional response. Particular images stood out. In the simplest terms, they made me feel good. Then, of course, came practical matters. Will this design work well in a repeat? Can we capture this subtlety in a woven? Is this salable?
Working from cyanotypes, how did you decide on texture and color?
I looked for ways to bring in a new level of texture that would honor the images. My goal was to find the right yarns and combinations to "lift" Zeva's images while maintaining the original impression. The colors came to me in very much the same way.
What makes this collection truly different?
Zeva's images are unique, and I hope the textile interpretations reflect that uniqueness. Just as important to me is the fact that the fabrics are completely suitable for the commercial market, meeting all Association for Contract Textiles standards. Realizing something refined in silk would have been a much easier task.
Where do you envision the fabrics?
So many applications—corporate, hospitality, health-care, or spa settings. And, yes, residential, too. It's up to the designer.
What did you find most challenging?
Given the limitations of mill capabilities, it was difficult to maintain the delicacy and detail while translating photography into a textile.
And what was most rewarding?
The collaboration with Zeva. Her images were a feast!
Would you design more patterns based on her work?
At the moment, the collection feels complete in a wonderful way.