Other people's products - July

Other people's products - July

I decided as a maker, being so inspired by other people's work as we all are, I wanted to share design I feel particularly fond of on a monthly basis. Today is my first post to that effect. All the products are clean, functional and something I would love to have for my home.

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Vintage Chenille the history

Recently I was at my friend Trish's , styling and shooting her apartment for a house tour. I brought along a vintage Chenille bedspread in case we needed some prop linens. Trish is from Georgia originally, in an area I had always known for their huge part in USA manufactured carpeting. We got to talking and she gave me a glimpse into the history of chenille and carpeting in the Dalton, GA area, and it made me want to dig deeper. 

So let's start with chenille. What is it? In French, chenille means caterpillar, and the material was named this because it "resembles the fur of a caterpillar." It is said to have begun in France in the 18th century as a yarn. They made it by taking a gauzy fabric, cutting it into strips and then creating the yarn. In the 1830's Scotland developed a chenille of their own. The Paisley fabric mill's foreman created a fuzzy weave of fabric from which to make shawls. They wove tufts of wool together into a large piece and then cut it into shawl sized strips. Finally we come to Dalton and Catherine Evans, who took sheets of cotton and added tufting to create bedspreads. The designs were popular both locally and regionally. While the bedspreads were not chenille in the traditional sense of the word, the terminology stuck and the chenille of the South was born!

By the 1920's Northwestern Georgia was sending bedspreads to department stores in major cities all along the East coast. In order to meet demands, artisans all around the area in the South received deliveries of the cotton sheeting, marked with patterns. They would then tuft and the finished pieces would be picked up from them for distribution. It was a handcrafted collaborative market, where mainly women worked from their homes to fulfill a need. This industry helped keep many afloat during the great depression.

By the 1930's route 41 had become a popular path for tourists heading to Florida. Dalton's tufters lined the side of the highway with clotheslines adorned with the popular chenille bedspreads. One of the most famous patterns of the time was the peacock, giving route 41 it's nickname of "Peacock Alley". Continuing into the 1940's now in the form of corporations, including "Cabin Crafts" Northwestern Georgians began to experiment with small throw rugs for the bathroom using the same tufting technique. This eventually led to huge sheets of carpet, what we now know as wall to wall carpeting. By the 1960's carpet manufacturing well surpassed bedspreads in Dalton, but it's amazing to think about where this booming industry began. 

Chenille  can be found in many patterns and colors. I am partial to the poka dots and more graphic patterns, but I love a good floral as well. Recently I have been developing my deep love for chenille into a new product line. Stay tuned for updates on that. Can't wait to share it with the world!!



Patton, Randall L. "Chenille Bedspreads." New Georgia Encyclopedia. 19 August 2013. Web. 17 June 2016.

Photo: Courtney Dawley

Kaj Franck a little designer profile

Kaj Franck is a Finnish designer best known for his work for Arabia Finland. He studied furniture design in 1932 at the Central School of Industrial Design in Helsinki. Kaj Franck designed ceramics, glassware and my favorite, enamelware.  He went on to design glassware for Iittala, introducing the idea of individually sold glasses rather than the traditional set.

There are many patterns associated with Kaj Franck's enamelware. The most often found and widely produced are the mushroom pattern bowls. I have seen salad bowls and serving bowls in this pattern, it subsequently also ends up being the most affordable. Harder to come by is the elusive lobster pattern. I was lucky enough to come across one which is pictured below.

$125 on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

$125 on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

There are also hearts, vegetables, little blue clovers, the red daisy pattern (pictured below on mugs), chevril, cherries, there are about 20 patterns in all.

$62 each on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

$62 each on Etsy by FoundbyaPropStylist

Many Arabia Finland aka Finel pieces you find will be stamped on the bottom as the mug shown above, but many are not. If you want to start collecting the best thing to do is identify the patterns associated with the designer and brand. I for one was hooked the first time I got my hands on a mushroom bowl! Stop by my etsy store as I almost always have some Kaj Franck in stock.