When we first peek into Rebecca Atwoodʼs Brooklyn studio, we know we’ve entered a carnival of design, color and light. Huge windows line the small, sun-filled room, one corner of a warehouse built to house a century’s worth of industrious makers. Every surface here carries inspiration for her original textile designs: A bulletin board of colorful swatches and crisply-shot photographs ripped from magazines rises above tables full of hand-painted sketchbooks, laid open for optimum viewing. It’s clear that Rebeccaʼs well curated surroundings are integral to her creative process. “I like creating in this space because it is mine,” she explains. “It’s the first time since I studied at RISD that I’ve had a work space all my own to shape into the place I want it to be.”
Raised in the Cape Cod town of Dennis, Massachusetts, Rebecca grew up surrounded by the natural beauty of the Southern New England coastline. “Deserted, off-season beaches, shifting light, and the coastal color palette are all ingrained in my sensibilities,” she says now. After receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Rebecca went to work for retailer Anthropologie, where she realized that working in textile design was a way to translate her love of painting into a viable career.
It all starts in her sketchbooks. Blending textile techniques with hand painting, Rebecca wields dozens of dyes to accurately recreate her original watercolors. “I’m fascinated by how the water finds its way through the fabric and by the patterns it leaves, much like the tide coming into the beach and leaving rippled patterns on the sand,” she says. Creative surprises like these remind us that each pillow, zip pouch or sachet, is the product of pure handwork. “These first stages of making, often lost in the development of today’s commercial products, are an integral part of our process. We aim to preserve the essence of this in our products and bring this care and creativity back.”
Yet this attention to detail doesn’t stop with the designs themselves. From the dyes to the woven cloth, every step of the manufacturing process matters. “Now that we have the ability to buy in bulk, we’re focusing on sourcing fabrics that are ethically made,” Rebecca says. And she holds her own studio to the same standard. “We cut our products, when possible, to account for the width of the fabric and for minimal wastage.” Be it saving textile scraps for one-of-a-kind pieces or reusing shipping boxes, nothing in this sunny studio goes to waste.
The results are gorgeous, ethically-made, original designs that are meant to be lived with and enjoyed. “The coastal landscape provides such a sense of calm for me, and thatʼs something I want my products to offer as well.”
Shop Rebecca Atwood's goods here.
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