New home decor course: developing a collection

The past five weeks have been quite busy! I've been taking Lilla Rogers and Margo Tantau's new Home Decor course specifically about developing and presenting products for this market. Each week we explored a specific substrate and theme, looking at fabrication techniques and building collections: birds on metal, flowers on fabric, patterns on glass, lettering on ceramics, and finally textures on wood. At a collection per week it was a very fast pace! From 3 mood boards we picked one and followed it for the whole course. The one I chose had a turn of the century aesthetics and a muted color palette. Below I'm showing a selection of my favorite pieces from each week. 

For metal week I first explored different kinds of birds like quails, cranes, owls, and peacock. Thinking in terms of local inspiration I decided to focus on the California quail. And since for me metal products invoke outdoor patios I thought why not choose products that fit the indoor/outdoor California lifestyle. Like a lantern with a quail design made of punched holes.

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For fabric week the theme was flowers and I was inspired by desert flora because quails live in the desert. I made the main flower a bit more geometric to recall the lantern pattern from metal week. To continue with the patio scheme I used the pattern for a tablecloth with a ric-rac border that echoes the lantern border. Then to go with the tablecloth I painted different types of quails and turned them into a set of napkins. 

Glass week's focus was patterns and for this I turned to vectors as clean shapes seems to me more suited to glass. Starting with elements of the quail from week 1 and flowers from week 2 resulted in a few patterns, one of which I applied on a bowl as pressed glass. Figured it would make a nice serving bowl for salad or appetizers to go with the table linens and lantern. 

I was surprised at first by the theme for ceramics week, lettering. It seemed strange to mix the two, but walking into boutiques and browsing on Pinterest I saw it really is developing as a trend. I guess it's all over posters and greeting cards so why not housewares! Since I had been focusing on quails from the beginning I thought it would be fun to come up with words that they might say to each other if they could speak (or humans with a quail personality). I love to research the meaning of things and symbolism and found that quails are related to love, family, and abundance. They also love to hang out in groups so I imagined they might invite each other for tea! It's also why I named my collection "Happy Together".

For the final week we were looking at wood and the theme was textures, which is something I love to play with and indeed it was fun. My favorite thing is to look for things to press into ink, mostly leaves of all kinds. There was also a piece of cardboard lying on my table and I got the idea to cut it up and make a pattern with triangles. That inspired the screen you saw in the collection. I imagined it could be easily built with dowels and painting them different colors would give the piece a playful effect. I used the leaf textures to make a pattern for the stool and added a ukulele for a fun element to my composition (and because I'm a uke player).

The course is over but it's opened up a whole new world and now that the secrets of how things are made have been revealed I will never look at another home product the same way!