Behind the Scenes with Rebecca Atwood

I first fell in love with Rebecca Atwood’s work as a fan.  The craftsmanship and care that textile designer puts into each pillow she creates are unmatched. Then, by chance, we worked together on the Sunset project, where she {ambitiously!} created 15 custom pillows for my Unplugged Den! She blew me away with the quality of her designs that I just had to learn more!

I’m so excited to share some insight and a behind the scenes look into the creativity that is the heart of Rebecca Atwood Designs. In this exclusive, Rebecca invites un into her Brooklyn studio and shares with us never before seen techniques of her pillow making process and sources of inspiration!!

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For those of you who are not familiar with Rebecca’s work, here’s the one thing you need to know: she is the designer to watch out for! Her first collection, {that just launched this year!}, has made a huge impact in the blog and design world, putting her pillows in very high demand. Separating her designs from the rest, Rebecca takes pride in the more intense, hands-on approach her techniques require.

Unlike the majority of textiles out there, nothing she makes is digitally printed. From a Shibori dyeing process, screen printing and hand painted textiles, the difference in these techniques is in the quality and feel. By using dye, Rebecca is able to create a rich, highly saturated depth of color that is not achievable with flat digital printing. This allows the dye to bond with the fabric and create a pillow like nothing else on the market!

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One technique she uses is a screen printing process. After coming up with a design and creating a template, much like a stencil, Rebecca is ready to apply the dye. She mixes the dye with an activator, pins the fabric down under the template, and pours the dye on, as you can see above. The textile then cures in plastic for 24 hours to set the color before it is washed and dried.

Working with dye requires a precision and quality of work that is only mastered by a lot of testing trials. Interestingly, dye reacts to different fabrics in different ways. So, detailed notes of recipes and swatches are a very important element to Rebecca’s work.

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Her dye notebook is where Rebecca keeps all of her recipes and notes. On this page, you can see at the top how the dye reacted with four different types of fabric. To the right, you can see how again, four different fabrics took to the same dye. The linen is more blue-gray, while the silk turned pink and canvas have a little bit more green in them. The range of color and unpredictability seems totally scary to me. For Rebecca, opening the banded fabric, not knowing what’s inside, is like Christmas all year long!

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The Shibori process is by far my favorite {although, I might be biased because these are the designs I put into my Sunset design and ended up buying for the loft!}. The fabric is folded into a grid, wrapped in rubber bands, dyed, and then unfolded to reveal the way the dye has seeped into the pattern. Fun, right?

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Insider note: Some of you may not know that Rebecca isn’t the only one with talents in her family. She keeps her grandfather’s pencils, who was also a designer, on her desk. And, loves to fill her sister, Grace from Stripes and Sequins, house with pillows!

So, after getting such an exclusive look at the proces and talent that goes into her designs, I was dyeing {ha!) to know: what’s next??

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Rebecca: “I do have big plans for where I want my company to go, and eventually want to cover all home products to be more of a lifestyle shop. This all takes time though!  I’m currently working on a collection of fabric to be sold by the yard, as well as some smaller accessories for the late fall/holiday season {editor’s note: I think I spotted a preview of a clutch on her instagram!}. The next big product launch after that will hopefully be bedding. I’m just in the initial sourcing stages, but can’t wait to expand into this area!

The Fall collection is meant to be layered into the first collection. I think home products should have longevity and many styles from the previous collection will continue to move forward. There will be a deepening of the blue tones, moving into a navy, and a pop of tomato red, as well! There will be more hand painted designs, think big brush strokes, hand painted stripes, and a polka dot. I’ve also added in a larger size pillow which can work well layered into a bed or on a couch.” It’s safe to say, we’ve started our countdown for the launch!

I’m so excited to offer you a chance to get a sneak peek into Spring 2014. Below, you can see the beginning stages of the collection’s inspiration. I spy some gorgeous swatches and that marble paper? Yes, please!

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Thank you to Rebecca Atwood for sharing with us such a unique experience! I hope you enjoyed seeing the process with your own eyes as much as I have. You can find all of Rebecca’s stunning pillows here. And you can see more behind the scenes coverage in our outtakes up on Facebook!

P.S. I just want to note, from my own experience, despite the fact that these pillows are so special, they’re meant to be lived with and enjoyed. Since the dye has had time to bond with the fabric, you can wash the covers over and over again without fading. They are pretty incredible. Rebecca also offeres custom designs – a truly special way to add pieces that are one-of-a-kind and handmade in Brooklyn, to your home!

original photography for apartment 34 by Emily Johnston Anderson

24 Comments

24 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes with Rebecca Atwood

  1. What an amazing process. She is definitely going to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps if she keeps up this sort of work! Thanks for sharing such a unique behind the scenes look at how these beauties are made.

  2. Such a sweet feature, Erin. I absolutely adore Becca. Her work and business is truly incredible!

  3. Thank you so much Erin and Bianca!! I am so happy with how this turned out and thrilled to be able to share my process with your readers.

    • We’re so happy to be able to share your extraordinary work! They are truly remarkable pieces!

  4. Jen

    I LOVE all Becca’s work!! Amazingly talented!!

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  6. Nicolette

    Love all of Becca’s work! So beautiful and special!!

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  9. Great feature! I’ve followed Becca for a long time now (and was lucky enough to have her design a pattern that we used on our wedding invitations!) and I loved learning more about what happens behind the scenes in her studio. She’s so amazingly talented!

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  11. Love Rebecca and her designs. I am the proud owner of one of her pillows and I look forward to adding more of her work to my home.
    pve

  12. Definitely the designer to watch out for! Her instagram is my very favorite! I feel like such a stalker because with each new thing she shows I am more obsessed:) She is so incredibly talented, and has a genius eye. I love true artists like her! This was so fun to read and see more of how her pillows are made.

  13. Great feature! I really love her work. I follow her on Instagram and I love to see what she’s up to. I can’t wait to see the Spring 2014 collection!

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