We admit it, we sometimes get a little focused on the coasts while there is a huge swath of country in between with plenty of pockets brimming with creativity. To wit, Hays, Kansas where Jayson Schwaller has just launched his textile business, Luxe Etoffe, with a line of pillows made from his hand-printed fabric.
The onetime associate professor of art at Fort Hays State University spent almost a decade working for Kansas-based luxury furniture, lighting, and textile business, Dessin Fournier, noted for its Old World craftsmanship—Schwaller was a designer for the company's textile lines: Classic Cloth and Rose Cumming, and went on to be the stylist for the company's showrooms.
He started his own creations, he tells us, when "I serendipitously began printing my own fabric because I wanted to replace the velvet on the English dining room chairs my partner, Henry, inherited from his great aunt. I wanted to print a monogram for the back panel of the chairs. I took home fabric memos of all the different velvets I was considering, and became so excited with the results that I began working on other designs. Before I was done, I found that I had an inventory of more than 20 block designs." Schwaller posted his wares on an Etsy store but says, "I felt my work was being lost in a world of tea cozies and craft items." He adds, "I have to find the proper venue for my pillows where the end client will understand the difference between what I make and what one could buy at a retail home furnishings store. I see these as mini paintings or works of art." We couldn't agree more. To see more of Schwaller's work go to his site, Luxe Etoffe.
Above: Etoffe 1006: Géométrie on Linen. Aged gold pigment on Italian linen twill; $395 for a set of two pillows.
Above: Design detail of pillow. Working at Dessin Fournier gave Schwaller access to the best Belgian linens and silk velvets woven in Italy; "It's difficult to imagine using anything else," he says.
Above (L): Etoffe 1000: Petite Damasque on Silk Velvet. Aged gold pigment on Italian silk velvet with plain silk taffeta welt and back; $295.
Above: Etoffe 1007: Katherine on Linen. Aged gold pigment on linen with laundered finish and plain linen back; $395.
Above: Metallic pigment on linen. Schwaller designed each printing block drawing based on historical designs and motifs.
Above: Etoffe 1018: Fleur Turque on Taffeta. Aged gold pigment on silk taffeta with printed back; $175.
Above: Etoffe 1012: Bréchet on Cotton and Linen. Green-gold pigment on handwoven cotton and linen, printed on both sides; $195.
Above: Schwaller explains, "I design and cut the blocks myself. I use pink—sometimes blue—insulating foam that you buy at the hardware store. It's cheap and easy to carve. I print with metallic textile pigment."
Above: Jayson Schwaller at work in his studio.