Category Archives: LFN Textiles

cats on hand

designing with cats

I usually find that my cats are fairly uninterested in my world, unless it directly overlaps with their own in terms of being fed, getting the head scratched, whatever.

The two cats at my studio have recently begun piling up directly in front of my computer, begging for attention. My attention is focused there,  hence it is their main mission to distract me from my work so I will pet them.

This morning, after the usual frantic purring and thrusting activity from the grey cat, however, she settled back to rest and purr.

Later, I noticed that she wasn’t sleeping. She was intently watching the computer screen as I made changes to a design. Who knew? I have held cats up in front of mirrors as they demurely refused to acknowledge the image of the kitty opposite, so I had assumed that they simply were not interested in two dimensional representation.  My story is now being corrected.

Divination in the Dark

One of the nicer hats I get to wear is as a freelance designer, and I work regularly with Crate and Barrel.  Generally I meet with my person there twice a year, and she is incredibly creative.  I show her ideas, and she takes what she thinks will work off for sampling. Her input results in really beautiful and imaginative ways to make those designs into some kind of textile. We work on primarily pillows, throws, and rugs.

The drawback (for me!) is that she does not have the final word on what goes into the line each season.  A group of creatives from all of the various departments must meet up and select from among the samples. They choose things which will work well together in the stores, and later in homes.  This means my person and I might absolutely adore my pillow, say, but it still won’t go in the line if it can’t be reconciled with someone else’s sofa. 

A lot of expert research and thought goes into preparing for this, and a trend report is issued to vendors like myself to get us started along their path in the right direction.

I am currently preparing my portfolio for fall/winter 2019 (and here it is, the first day of spring 2018!). But the company is working against ever tighter deadlines. I have not yet received my trend report, and I will be up in their offices a week from tomorrow presenting my portfolio full of design printouts and woven samples for FW 2019.  So yep, I am working int the dark!

Much as I love designing textiles, right at this moment I feel at a creative standstill. So I am telling you about it all rather than banging my head against the wall.  I am waiting for their Oracle to speak any moment now.  Thanks for listening!

Below, find a throw in the current line at C&B, and my samples which inspired it.

Orion Throw, designed by LFN Textiles for Crate & Barrel

handwoven samples for Orion throw, LFN Textiles

planting cycles

I love vegetables — I love to eat them, I love to grow them, I love to draw them. When I first saw the vegetable garden at Monticello, first designed by Thomas Jefferson in the late 18th century, restored under Peter Hatch at Monticello in the 1980s, I was mesmerized by its beauty and its long, ribbon-like proportions. At about 80 fet wide by a thousand feet long, it seemed like a giant, patterned textile just unfurled from the loom. So I set about making a series of tapestries trying to describe the scope of the garden, from seed-sprouting and seed saving, through a woven catalogue of dozens of vegetables planted there.

the vegetable garden at Monticello

detail, “Harvest, 1992”. 1993, hand woven. copyright Laura Foster Nicholson

This last piece, “Harvest 1992” (1992 was the planting year I referenced, it was woven in 1993) became a lexicon for me of woven form which I have referred to over and over again ever since. Long after the tapestries had been exhibited and sold, I designed a ribbon with some of the vegetables which we still produce’ Crate & barrel licensed that design for kitchen towels for several seasons too. And most recently I was contacted by The Battery Park Conservancy, who have now licensed the design for use in fund raising efforts for their Urban Garden, due to open this spring.

From their website,
“The Battery Conservancy presents the first Urban Farm at the Battery since the Dutch planted their cottage gardens in New Amsterdam in 1625.
This innovative project began with a request from students of Millennium
High School’s Environmental Club to plant a vegetable garden in the park.
Saying YES launched a farming initiative that now includes EIGHT schools with over 450 students (K-12).
The Battery Conservancy is expanding the program to include community groups, residents, and the neighboring workforce who long to give their hands and hearts to cultivating and harvesting home-grown food.” How cool is that ?

where I work



I was writing to someone today describing the wonderful place where I live & work and I thought, I should post this on the blog. So here is my beautiful studio building in New Harmony. I am smack dab in the middle of Main Street, and my studio comprises the second floor of what is actually two buildings. I painted the building last summer (when I say “I” I mean the wonderful Rodney Wade) in a striking chartreuse green which I somehow got past the historic committee.

The building on the left houses the gallery shop of the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. I sold ribbon here long before I moved to New Harmony: I was bemused by the number of people, who when seeing my ribbons, would comment “you know, I bought some of these ribbons in a small town in Indiana …”

The building on the right ensconces the venerable Main Cafe, which has been noted in a column by Jane & Michael Stern (who write about good regional food on the road). They are open from 5:30 am to 1:00 pm: how’s that for a working day? I smell bacon & eggs all day upstairs. Conversation drifts up between the floorboards into my weaving studio, which is above the dining room.