Author, DIY extraordinaire, designer, illustrator, publisher, blogger...is there anything Lena Corwin can't
do? Whether she's compiling step-by-step creative project lessons
, publishing small-run art books
, or illustrating maps of Europe
, we're huge fans of everything Corwin does. In particular, we're drawn to how big a role collaboration plays in her process — and were thrilled to collaborate with her on Lena Corwin x UO
, a new textile line she developed exclusively for Urban Outfitters. We talked with Lena about the collaboration, the wonderfully "consistent inconsistencies" of hand-printing, and finding inspiration in her new homestate.
Tell us more about the block prints you created for these textiles.
I used rubber artist’s blocks and a carving tool (both can be easily found at art supply stores) to carve the designs. Then I rolled ink over the carved pieces and printed them onto paper. The patterns were recreated by hand again in India for printing the fabric yardage.
Can you share more about what went into the second step — the traditional block printing that you developed in India?
All textiles in this collection use traditionally simple yet beautiful Indian cotton sourced from smaller local mills.
These textiles have been printed with a block-printing technique that dates back over 400 years in this remote area of India. We carefully created hand-carved wooden blocks...which were then hand-printed on narrow, seven meter tables; the printing process, techniques and materials are what is traditionally used to print Indian saris. The look and feel of this hand-printing process is wonderful and consistently inconsistent, providing a warm human element.
What inspired the colors or palette you used?
I recently moved to California, and I was inspired to use a washed out and faded summer palette.
What has been inspiring you lately in textile development?
Weaving! I’ve been seeing a lot of really amazing weaving lately. One of my favorite weavers is Travis Meinolf.
You attribute your love for crafts and handmade, usable art to your upbringing. Can you talk more about this?
I grew up in a really artistic home – my mom is an artist and so are a lot of her friends. I did all kinds of projects from a young age, like painting, ceramics, and knitting.
What are five other things you have been interested in recently?
1. Cardamom ice cream
2. Donald Judd furniture
3. Non-toxic nail polish
5. Thai fried rice