The story of Calico Wallpaper starts with the discovery of an antique book. Interior designer Nicholas Cope brought the book to his partner, artist Rachel Mosler, inspired not by its contents but by its marbleized endpapers.
Cope and Mosler subsequently spent years mastering marbleizing themselves. They incorporated Japanese and Turkish techniques into their approach, and eventually decided to bring their results out into the open by making marbled cotton and linen wallpapers. They founded Calico, their New York wallpaper company in 2013, and have since broadened their scope to include a range of wallpapers drawn from nature: their marbled collection captures the pattern of water through stones, and Aurora, their newest line, is inspired by "horizons at dawn and the phenomena of light." Mosler formerly worked as an art therapist and Calico's latest work benefits from her training: designed to "immerse rooms in waves and washes of color," the ombre wallpapers have a distinctly calming effect.
Calico's designs are hand produced by Mosler herself and a small team at Dieu Donné, a nonprofit paper art center in New York. Here's a look at the wallpaper in progress and finished results:
Above: The marbling process begins with a bath made from a mix of methylcelullose and water that is added at different temperatures—from icy to boiling—to achieve the right consistency. Photograph from Cope and Mosler's artist residency at Villa Lena in Italy via Sight Unseen.
Above: Handmade cotton paper is then floated across a gelatin bath. Photograph via Sight Unseen.
Above: The paper is removed and dipped in alum for the paint to take. Photograph via Sight Unseen.
Above: The Aurora collection's Bayou pattern presents misty shades of greens; it's available directly through Calico.
Above L and R: Calico's Ray Wallpaper conjures a new day; $32 per square foot from The Future Perfect.
Still on the hunt for the perfect wallpaper? Have a look at Shadows on a Wall in Autumn: Wallpaper from Callidus Guild and Escape to the Tropics: Leafy Handmade Wallpaper. And on Gardenista, follow Michelle's Wallpaper Hunt. Another option? Justine shows us how to DIY an Economical Wallpaper Alternative.