Studio Four is proud to introduce McLaurin & Piercy, the culmination of a years-long collaboration for Clay McLaurin and Todd Piercy. Now living together under one brand, McLaurin & Piercy incorporates the signature prints and wallcoverings of Clay McLaurin Studio with a new collection of woven fabrics created and produced at their very own Los Angeles mill. We recently spoke with Clay and Todd about how their brand has evolved and what inspires their commitment to American craftsmanship.
WE'VE KNOWN AND LOVED YOUR DESIGNS VIA CLAY MCLAURIN STUDIO FOR YEARS. WHAT INSPIRED MCLAURIN & PIERCY AS A NEW ENDEAVOR?
We had just purchased LA Mills when COVID forced us to halt all production and furlough employees. We sat at our studio table and discussed what we wanted to create from the change we were about to face. The world was collectively going through something we had never experienced. The dreams we had before COVID, and the quiet we found ourselves in, allowed us the space to begin to formulate our ideas.
We grew up as kids of the 80's and though we were raised in different states, we had similar experiences. Summers were the most memorable. The way we like to describe it is imagining yourself jumping through a sea of endless tall green grass on a warm day without your shoes on, or after a long day of play, hearing the sound of thunderstorms rolling in from a distance and then seeing, feeling and smelling that first drop. This carefree and relaxed spirit was completely innocent and void of any of today's technologies or distractions. We considered it wholesome and American. It was the way we viewed our microcosm. After feeling inspired by these discussions and realizing such similarities in our youth, we decided this new endeavor would be wholeheartedly American, both woven in America and inspired by American heritage. Eventually, we came to the conclusion we needed to rebrand the existing business, Clay McLaurin Studio, to McLaurin & Piercy in order to include both of our names with the added tagline, American Weavers. We work equally hard to make this dream succeed, and we have a mission to celebrate and bring American craftsmanship and manufacturing to the fore.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH DESIGNING WOVENS TO COMPLEMENT THE PRINTS AND WALLCOVERINGS THAT FORM THE FOUNDATION OF THE COLLECTION?
We knew color and texture were going to play the most important role in complementing the existing patterns. The woven collection consists of cotton bouclés, wool bouclés and alpaca with linen acting as a secondary element. We feel these types of textures set the foundation of a room to then layer in our existing prints and wallcoverings. We hope the collection as a whole reflects the story of us: hardworking, traveled, inspiring and American.
WORKING WITH MILLS IN THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CORE VALUE FOR THE COLLECTION. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF WORKING LOCALLY WITH SMALL BUSINESSES?
The benefits of working with other American mills are somewhat endless in today's climate as shipping delays and costs of goods from overseas have caused more concern. We feel strongly about supporting other American mills as that support bleeds into communities across the country. When we support each other, we grow and new ideas begin to flourish. Those ideas can then become seeds of change. The challenges are that everyone wants everything yesterday. Practicing patience and listening to each other are key.
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE ARE INTEGRAL TO CREATING TEXTILES; DESIGNING WOVENS OPENS THE DOOR TO NEW POSSIBILITIES. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO EXPLORING?
We are definitely excited to continue to explore material and various woven structures. Our mill is special in that we can create custom warps and unique yarns from our twisting mill. We also weave on old dobby looms that date from the 1920's. These looms offer something different and more unique that newer, computerized looms can't capture. The result is more like hand weaving than machine weaving.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SHARE AND INTRODUCE FROM YOUR NEW WOVEN DESIGNS?
We are most excited to share our new line of performance fabrics. We worked really hard with a finisher to develop a non-allergenic environmentally conscious stain repellent finish that would be applied to a number of our wovens while maintaining a luxurious hand. We feel we have achieved excellent results. The finish is beautiful and will allow these luxurious textures to be used throughout the home – even in high traffic areas.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
We have an exciting new wallpaper collection coming out toward the end of summer, followed by more prints inspired by the West Indies. We're having fun developing and creating on the same block as our mill, while looking outside to support and develop new things with others.