JR Artisan SpotlightDouglas Funkhouser
President and CDO Chief Design Officer
What inspires you?:
My main sources of inspiration are the extant textile collections found in shops and museums throughout the world. I love to combine and change the design elements to produce textiles that look and feel like fragments from antiquity but are actually original and have never been seen before. I have an extensive library of textile reference books. It is also extremely rewarding to collaborate with creative luminaries in our field such as Rose Tarlow and Jeffrey Bilhuber.
Describe your studio/work space:
My studio and design lab is part of our print facility and operation in Valencia, California. We produce all of our textiles by hand and in house. I have developed most of the processes that create them. I like to surround myself with beautiful antique textiles and my diverse collection of paintings.
My mantra is to create beauty everyday.
How did you get your start in the industry:
In 1997, on the advice of a friend, I went to visit Rose Tarlow to show her my portfolio of decorative finishes, one of which was a dramatic ‘fleur de lis’ for a Givenchy photo shoot. I was soon hired as her full time in house designer to help create her original Melrose House Collection. I delicately produced her design boards in oil glazes and made the innovations to the silk screening processes required to create the line.
In 2002 I set up my own printing and dye table in my back yard under an oak tree and le gracieux was officially born.
Describe your work in 5 words or less:
Timeless yet innovative
What’s makes your brand stand out from the rest:
The main thing that separates us from other printed linens is the softness in the ‘hand’ of our textiles. The signature fabrics of le gracieux are produced with a resist and dye process that is very similar to batik or shibori. The patterns are first printed on linen then brought to life with our hand dye techniques. The resist is then washed out and our final finishing process of toning brings out the color even further leaving a beautifully soft luxurious textile with a lot of depth.
Any new techniques, mediums, colors, aesthetics you are experimenting with?
We are always fine tuning and experimenting with processes and techniques. Our new collection, ‘Le Jardin’, combines shapes and colors from the garden and inspired us to play with the final toners to emulate the unique light that we experience in a day, such as dawn and twilight. We are currently celebrating our 20th year of being in the business of creating beauty every day…wow, that’s 7300+ days!
le gracieux is available through our New York, Chicago, Florida & Washington DC Showrooms