As we hit the unofficial start of summer, I was feeling absolutely exhausted. I took the weekend off with my husband in the rural hills of Pennsylvania and worked on an acrylic master copy of Willard Metcalf's "May Night" entirely for my own pleasure.
I paint for a living now because I love it and I felt a calling to entrepreneurship, but it doesn't mean it can't be occasionally stressful or defeating. Happily, I came back from the weekend away with renewed vigor and full of new ideas and determination.
Starting today, I will be featuring my own illustrations of design trends and classics that I'm obsessing over.
For the past two weeks I've been creating toile patterns galore! One for a wedding stationery suite and another to incorporate into my 2017 calendar and so I thought I would share some fun illustrations that incorporated my floral versions of the classic pattern.
My Summary of Toile's History:
I haven't always loved toile. But I have come to love toile.
Toile became wildly popular in the late 1700s partly because it was printed on cotton, which was a brand new material for fashion and furnishings. The French government so feared its popularity that they ban it for several years in the country; however, production and selling continued clandestinely and eventually the ban was lifted. Immediately French manufacturers began popping up to meet the demand for the printed fabric.
Actually, an 18 year old Huguenot named Christophe-Philippe-Oberkampf from Germany (who later became a Frenchman!) started his own printing and engraving business in Paris just before the revolution. He is to largely thank for making this print available to so many. He also employed some of the best artists and used innovative techniques to improve the printing quality.
(I thought Taylor Swift made me feel bad about starting my business late in life....but THIS GUY!)
With the improved printing techniques, Oberkampf's artists were able to depict specific events in current history-- like the first balloon flight, or scenes from antiquity. A toile print actually has a wider variety of content, but is most commonly recognized as a complex scene repeated in one single color with variation in shade and tone on a white background. I tend to steer clear of the cupid prints and prefer the more historical or floral patterns.
Why you should use toile, today:
Now. I know you are having visions of your great aunt's bedroom where you could hardly distinguish the bed from the floor and the chair leading to physical injuries as you attempted to cross the room... But! I have come to find that when it is used well, I find this pattern irresistible. And I rather adore its monochromatic appeal (particularly in #colorcrush: Blue and white.)
I think toile is a great candidate for someone who loves a feminine touch in design. I would tend to think that using this pattern sparingly and where there is no other pattern competition is the best approach to using this in design. Think powder room wallpaper, entry ways, roman shades, accent chairs, ottomans, the outside frame of a wingback chair....beach umbrellas?!?! I would love a toile beach umbrella!!
This little elevation sketch shows an entry wall covered in my new floral toile pattern. While sunburst mirrors are also tres French, they are not new- and yet they feel so effortlessly modern, don't they? Pair some toile wallpaper with modern feeling elements like a sunburst mirror and an acrylic waterfall console table, and you can ensure the most elegant entry that says "I'm oh-so-now and forever chic!"
If you're looking for some inspiration for toile check out my pulls here: in kitchen tile, as bedroom wallpaper, on bedroom drapes, in bathrooms, on ceramics, and this fun non-traditional green and blue pattern!
Notice how simple the rest of the space is compared to the toile. There are no other design elements fighting for attention from the pattern- the rest of the space is very simple and paired down- allowing the pattern to do the heavy lifting. This is absolutely the type of pattern where less is more.
Shop my toile picks! Pretty little lamp, this settee is the perfect accent, and let this letter holder keep you organized and chic.