Behind every special design is an equally special designer! We love to celebrate the makers of fabrics and textiles who are integral for bringing our interior designs together. Seema Krish is one of them and her design philosophy is about ‘bringing life into living’. You will find Seema Krish’s ‘Tribeca’ Cherry Lane Red fabric adorning a headboard at Charlotte Street Hotel and at Number Sixteen, we have upholstered a headboard with Seema Krish’s ‘Breach Candy’ Rani Pink fabric.
Her heirloom textiles blend a refined modernity with traditional craftsmanship and extraordinary colour. Based in San Francisco, she finds inspiration for her unique visual vocabulary from living between both eastern and western cultures. It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Seema as we ‘Meet The Maker’.
How did you begin working with textiles and what pushed you to create such beautiful designs?
I was always interested in art and drawing from my younger days growing up in Bombay. I pursued an education in design, first in Bombay and then in New York City at the Fashion Institute. During my Foundation Art programme, I fell in love with textiles.
After completing my education, I was fortunate to work with the innovative Japanese textile company ‘Nuno Corporation’. This experience opened my mind to the expansive possibilities of textiles. After spending five years with Nuno, I moved back to India to learn about Indian textiles and craft heritage. I established a weaving studio and was immersed in the traditional craft ecosystem. I continued to make textiles for Nuno from India. I consulted with several Bangalore based weaving mills and I engaged with various craft communities through craft-revival projects with the Indian government.
After several years, I relocated back to the USA and started a position with ‘Robert Allen’ as design director. Here I learned about the ‘business’ of textiles. This work experience prepared me to launch my textile line. I was missing the handmade and craft aspect of textiles and that prompted me to launch my own collection which is mission-driven to preserve and promote Indian handicrafts. The application of craft and the hands of the many craftspeople provide depth and beauty to my textiles.
What would you like people to feel when they see your designs?
I would like them to appreciate the beauty and nuance of handcraft. Historically, textiles speak of cultures and traditions of communities and are a material representation of history, memory, and place. When people interact with my designs and textiles, I want them to be transported to places from their travels and memories.
We love how you mix between hand-printed-block designs and embroidery. What is your design process?
My design process begins with conceiving a place or city to centre the collection around. From there, I pull inspiration, words and memories related to the place and start sketching and painting the patterns, which are then put into repeats digitally. After that, in the studio, we start thinking about the making techniques to create the most depth and dimension in the pattern. Then based on the technicalities, we decide on the kind of embroidery. This will either be made by hand, a hand-guided machine or digital. The ground cloths are made from natural fibres (cotton, linen, or wool) as sustainability is essential to us and our process. Typically, from start to finish, a design takes approximately 6-8 months to go into production.
What role does colour play when designing?
Colour is an essential part of our process. We enjoy working with vibrant colours and unusual colour combinations. After we create the patterns, we envision the possible colours and colourways. We use paint chips and yarn samples and often mix our own colours to get the hues we want. These colours are then hand-mixed for printing and the embroidery yarns are dyed. Our textiles are printed with non-toxic, organic, GOTS (global organic textile standard) approved dyes.
Your designs convey traditional handmade textiles with a modern and graphic take. Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all around. It could be from traditional textiles or the architecture when travelling to a new place or home, a show at a museum, or nature when hiking or being by the ocean. The sources are truly limitless!
With such a strong influence on India’s craftsmanship, what role does San Francisco play in your creations?
San Francisco provides me with a contemporary view. It is a city that is at the forefront of a lot of new ideas and technology. It’s also a unique city, as it provides many opportunities to be in nature such as hiking or being by the ocean. This enables contemplation and boundless inspiration.
What would you say is the most challenging part of creating textiles?
The most challenging part is using the limitations of handcrafted techniques to best interpret the creative vision of a pattern. This is especially the case with block print, where the scale is usually tiny, due to the size of the hand block and achieving consistency in print. I also feel most proud of making beautiful and luxurious lengths of textiles, using handcrafts which are notorious for their inconsistencies, whilst meeting the exacting standards of our industry.
What is next for Seema Krish?
In addition to our soon-to-be-launched ‘Fall’ collection, a few exciting things are in the works including developing some cotton hand weaves. We’ve recently been introduced to a few weavers’ workshops in the Cannanore area of India and are working on some ideas with them.
We can’t wait to use Seema’s designs in our upcoming projects. Watch this space for more extraordinary creations from Seema Krish!