There's something special about designs from Caroline Z. Hurley, her prints are deceptively simple creating a feeling of calm wherever they are used. We chatted with Caroline about how she approaches design and where she produces her collection.
TELL ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES AND HOW YOU TRANSITIONED FROM FINE ARTS TO TEXTILES & HOME DECOR?
I went to school for painting at RISD. I was sort of always keeping a day job to paint, type of gal. Creating a business wasn’t a conscious choice, I was painting in my studio and I started to get really into block-printing after a trip I had taken to Bali. One thing led to another and I had some shops interested in my block-printed throws. The business was born in my painting studio and to me, the work is still very much in the fine-arts realm. I love making products and fabric for the home too, so its just been a happy marriage!
HOW DO YOU APPROACH TRANSLATING YOUR AESTHETIC ACROSS DIFFERENT MATERIALS AND SURFACES- FROM PAINTING, TO PRINTED FABRIC, TO RUGS AND NOW TO WOVEN FABRIC?
For me its always about simplicity. With my paintings, fabrics and products its always about how can I make it more simple and more to-the-point. And when I design products it’s usually a question of “what would I want/need in my home” that has always lead me to products that people gravitate towards.
AS A TEXTILE DESIGNER, HOW DO YOU LIVE WITH PATTERN AND COLOR IN YOUR HOME?
This is going to seem so strange but because I am working with pattern all day long, I like for my home to be as sparse as possible. I like whites and neutrals in my home. and then I will add in new pillows or curtains if I feel like I need a pop, but in general I do not surround myself with pattern. My studio however is filled to the brim with pattern.
WE ADMIRE YOUR COMMITMENT TO SUPPORTING CRAFT AND BEING CONSCIOUS OF THE MATERIALS YOU USE, WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE AND REWARD IN HONORING THESE VALUES?
I think its always more challenging and rewarding to work with artisans who really understand craft. You can feel their work in the products and I find that to be so so beautiful. It has its challenges for sure though, we used to work a lot more with artisans living in Latin America and those products are less of a focal point for CZH simply because production has been so difficult and costly. Though we are still very much working with our artisans living in New Bedford! Because they live so close we have been able to keep better tabs on our production, but between language barriers and shipping and quality control, it has been extremely difficult to manage our production in Mexico and Guatemala.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING PLACE YOU HAVE SEEN YOUR DESIGNS?
Well I would say no matter where I see our designs I am excited. Truly, when we get tagged I always get a thrill!
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW WOVEN DESIGNS - WHAT INSPIRED YOU?
The new wovens were so fun and totally new for me! It was the same idea as the other fabrics but just translated differently, I gave our factory block prints to translate into jacquards. I created smaller repeats and larger repeats with less space. I just really enjoy fabric. It feels so fun, and more like a blank canvas!
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
Some really exciting new silk screened fabrics and products! And a wedding which I am also really excited to design.