New England–based textile designer Ellisha Alexina is turning heads, both among design professionals and fellow artisans. Why? Her pioneering multimedia technique, developed while in college, combines polychromatic screen printing and hand-painting that allows her to “keep the structure of a silk-screen design, while including the free-form aspects of hand-painting,” as she says. By hand-finishing each piece, she seamlessly blends the areas between the repeats, creating a consistent flow throughout the length. In addition, hand-finished details, as well as the varying colorways inherent in the screen-printing process, render each piece unique. The results are both highly dynamic and harmonious.
Photography by Joyelle West, unless otherwise noted.
Above: In her sunlit studio in Easthampton, Massachusetts, Ellisha cuts the 100 percent Belgian linen onto which her patterns are printed.
Above: Ellisha’s designs are inspired by vintage Turkish and Islamic motifs, which she encountered while working as a textile restorer at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Photograph by Ellisha Alexina.
Above: Each of Ellisha’s textiles is finished by hand, so no two are alike.
Above: “The hand-painted blending within each shape creates a watercolor, airy aspect to each yard,” Ellisha says.
Above: Sample patterns decorate the studio walls.
Above: Ellisha’s workspaces bare the marks of the creative process.
Above: Long tables in Ellisha’s studio allow the artist to create giant bolts of fabric.
Above: A bolt from Ellisha’s Mendel Collection, which is inspired by 17th- and 18th-century Ottoman motifs. Photograph by Ellisha Alexina.
Above: Fragments including Ellisha’s original ink drawings and color tests demonstrate the creative process from start to finish. “From hand-drawing the motif, to putting it into repeat, to mixing the colors and then printing the final product—all aspects of production are intricate and intimate in their own way.”
Above: Farla is another pattern from the Mendel Collection. Photograph by Ellisha Alexina.
Above: Details from Ellisha’s studio.
Add a touch of pattern to your home with more of our favorite hand-printed textiles: Bold and Beautiful: Screen Printed Designs from Bonnie and Neil and Sketches of Cape Cod: Rebecca Atwood’s New Fabric Collection. Or try it yourself: DIY: Three Fabric Printing Techniques, Rolling Pin Included.