Frank Lloyd Wright fabrics at Spoonflower

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owenCollins
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Frank Lloyd Wright fabrics at Spoonflower

Post by owenCollins »

There are now some Frank Lloyd Wright designs on the custom fabric website Spoonflower.

https://www.spoonflower.com/collections ... poonflower

I will be interested to see what people think.
Last edited by owenCollins on Fri Nov 15, 2019 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

Using FLW designs for pillows is fine. They are not overwhelming. Wallpaper, drapery, not so much.

I have 2 pillows with a patch of circular designs from either the David Wright carpet or the one for Hoffmann. Works quite well. I also have some neckties which I bought when I still wore neckties, but they were a bit kitschy.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

I find Ling Po's patterns to be interesting and inoffensive. I generally avoid pattern in my environment as it generally strikes me as arbitrary (if not capricious, irritating, and in any even irrelevant) . . .

Natural texture and color, or the effects inherent in the weaving process, are more than sufficient visual stimulation, as I see it. Woven pattern seems natural, if not inevitable; printed pattern is the slippery slope to who knows what !

S

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

SDR
I tend to agree with your last statement. I think a little pattern goes a long way and Less is usually More. An exception that somehow really works is the collected array at Fallingwater. Is it just that the multiple patterns in that instance are just that perfectly orchestrated, or is there something about that powerful setting that can handle it?
https://www.google.com/search?q=falling ... 2Yoa_9yJhM

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

.... Then, we have the Motherlode of all Patterned Throw Pillows at Saarinen's Miller House.
https://www.google.com/search?q=saarine ... YAtVyQNbyM

https://www.google.com/search?q=saarine ... Xx62RL33kM

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Yes---I give Fallingwater and the Kaufmanns a pass; whatever they were doing, it certainly works for the house.

And anything Alexander Girard wanted to do is all right with me, too !

S

peterm
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Post by peterm »

Patterns which are woven, as opposed to printed, can be a joyous riot of beauty, as seen here at Ocotillo:
https://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/digital/ ... lwa/id/75/

JChoate
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Post by JChoate »

That Ocotillo photo is one the greats - on many levels. Those woven pieces are terrific, deployed and arranged with seemingly casual skill. Also interesting is the curious clump of dried brush over Lloyd's head. I wonder why that's there? Decorative or some function?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

What's to say that it isn't alive ? That said, dried plant materials can be quite decorative . . .

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

So---are we convinced that all of these patterns are from the hand of Mr Wright ? I don't recognize half of them---and this final sentence makes me think that maybe there was some latter-day "inspiration" going on ?

" Together, Spoonflower and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation are thrilled to present a collection of designs that are inspired by the spirit of innovation."

Or is there no pretense that these are "all-wright" ?

S

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, if you cannot tell, what difference does it make?

When it comes to pillows, I have little trouble with authenticity, or printed pattern versus woven. Large items, like couches or endless banquets, which FLW did not upholster with flurry, are another thing altogether. With a pillow, you can "throw" it here or there or away.

owenCollins
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Post by owenCollins »

SDR wrote:So---are we convinced that all of these patterns are from the hand of Mr Wright ? I don't recognize half of them---and this final sentence makes me think that maybe there was some latter-day "inspiration" going on ?

" Together, Spoonflower and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation are thrilled to present a collection of designs that are inspired by the spirit of innovation."

Or is there no pretense that these are "all-wright" ?

S
In Curtis Besinger's book, he mentions "Mrs. Wright had encouraged the apprentices to do designs for wallpapers, fabrics and furniture for the Birthday Box. It seemed that Mr. Wright had an agreement with a few producers that he would do such designs. But confronted with a backlog of architectural work - mostly small houses - he was not finding, or taking, the time to do them." (p269 Summer of 1954)

There is another mention of fabric designs around the same time, but I would have to remember where I saw it.

Roderick Grant
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Post by Roderick Grant »

In 2002, Penny Fowler, former Administrator of the Fine and Decorative Arts Collection of the Taliesin Archive, wrote a book,
"FLW Graphic Artist," that has a lot of interesting information about the subject.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Thanks, Owen. Mr Wright encouraged or assigned apprentices to do graphic design; perhaps he even "let pass" the resulting work, without editing. But,
as with the buildings, shouldn't we distinguish between designs made while he was alive and in charge, as opposed to posthumous work ?

"f you cannot tell, what difference does it make?" Good lord; is that the standard now ? Let's sweep all the entries in "Sure, we can call it FLW" into
the canon, and call it a day . . .

Are these Frank Lloyd Wright designs, or aren't they ? Here, we don't even have a transparent description of the product---it seems to me. Granted, it's
an open question whether any "adapted" Wright design deserves his explicit or tacit signature; at the least we should know what we are buying---
shouldn't we ? Or does it simply "not matter" . . .


I can imagine that the Foundation needs income from whatever sources---and would have to pay insiders to adapt existing designs into new products;
the inevitable (?) alternative is to let royalty-or-fee-paying vendors come up with designs, and edit and select from the resulting offerings. If that's the
current scheme, the result might well be designs wholly original to the present day and never seen by Mr Wright and approved by him. Is that
what we want ?

Having stuck my oar in to this extent, I feel bound to put my money (or lack of it) where my mouth is, and offer, pro bono,* to work diligently at adapting
decorative designs from the archive into usable camera-ready "product," employing whatever standards and specifications a manufacturer might
require. Not one line or angle would be invented; colors would be chosen from the palettes in use in decorative one-off or production designs
approved while Wright was at his desk. (Penny Fowler's book, which I have not seen, might be all one would need by way of source material ?)

At worst, some graphic designs might be expanded into repeat patterns---and of course fidelity to material would have to be suspended: that is, an
art-glass design might become a fabric pattern---as is already the case. But nothing would be "made from whole cloth," you should pardon the
expression.

I've contributed little to the legacy of Frank Lloyd Wright to date, besides copious hot air; if I could be of tangible use to the community, I would be
very pleased to do so. At any rate, the descriptions above amount, in simple and at a first glance, to a prescription of acceptable practice in reaping what
Mr Wright sowed, sixty years on . . . as I see it.

S

* If a contract were to be necessary, for legal or other reasons, $1/hr seems a fair rate for such work, under the circumstances. Materials and postage to be paid by my client . . .

owenCollins
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Post by owenCollins »

SDR wrote:Thanks, Owen. Mr Wright encouraged or assigned apprentices to do graphic design; perhaps he even "let pass" the resulting work, without editing. But,
as with the buildings, shouldn't we distinguish between designs made while he was alive and in charge, as opposed to posthumous work ?
Later on that same paragraph Besinger wrote: "Some apprentices did try their hand at doing such designs, but these did not generate much interest or enthusiasm from Mr. Wright."

Sorry I should have include that as well. My assumption is that Mr. Wright would 'let pass' apprentice contributions, whether architectural or graphic, that were of sufficient quality.

As to the current licensed products by the foundation, my hope is that they are looking at a standard of aesthetic quality in addition to revenue streams.

I do like some o the fabric patterns and could see myself getting a throw pillow.

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