Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tea Paper Reproduction

In 1750 the British East India Company imported 4,727,992 lbs. of tea from China. The tea was transported in large metal tins which were lined with squares (Fang Kuai) of paper with metal leaf applied. Europeans quickly realized that there was value in these papers as a wall covering. They were applied in overlapping squares, creating beautiful patterns.

Tea Chest

Tea Tin Detail

Honey Collins, a wonderful designer, with whom we often work, asked us to estimate the cost for a mural and several rooms of glazing in a house in Belmont, MA. The living room had an old silver tea paper wall covering around the fireplace & we all thought Zoë Design should make reproductions of this and add it to our line of wallpapers. 

Silver Tea Paper Fragment

We already know about applying metal leaf so I started researching the block printing methods and began the process of making blocks when I noticed a lamp shade in our own bedroom with the exact same pattern. It is strange that I had never really looked at it before.

Lamp & Shade Detail

I used the lamp shade as a guide to create this pattern, which we can print in any foreground and background colors and any pattern size. My favorite look is when I made the pattern and background in opposing colors and then adjusted the value to be almost the same.

Zoë Design wallpaper pattern from Lamp Shade Design

A few days after creating the tea paper pattern above, Honey contacted me with a new project. The same clients had a large scale, similar pattern on a blue paper with gold wash in the house they are leaving in Wellesley, MA. This paper was dear to them and I was tasked with re-creating it for their new dwelling. 

Fragment of Original Tea Paper

The challenge in reproducing this wallpaper is the gold. I can reproduce gold color but cannot print metallic. We had two choices, 1) make the blue paper, wash it with metallic gold and then block print the pattern, as the original was done. Or, 2) reproduce it photographically and match the color in a digital print after which Lena can wash a metallic over the gold. The drawback to the second method is the metallic washes over the pattern, not behind it. It was decided to go with the faster and less expensive method of digital reproduction. I chose to print on Etching Ragg to create a completely matte look, like the original. It ended up taking an hour to photograph the original paper, 7 hours to stitch and make a beautiful repeat and another 4 hours to get the color exactly right in the output.

Reproduction “Tea Paper” for Honey Collins Design

Samples of some of the styles and substrates (Pictured here - Blue / gold background on Etching Ragg, several sizes of repeat on mural pro and a swatch printed on metallic canvas)

Thanks for reading, I will post again when I perfect the block printed on silver leaf paper version, and also when the install is done and I can post an after photo.

Over Christmas many of you have lamented my discontinuing the “Wallpaper-a-Day” posts. Thank you for your kind words & admiration. If you want to “like” “share” and “repost” these missives it will be invaluable in spreading the word about our work.

Monday, November 30, 2015

East of Eden - A sad saga

I have posted about this mural before because I think the final result is stunning. I am posting again to say we are pulling it from our line! You need a little history to understand it's significance.

We were called in by a client to stabilize and enhance a crumbling and unidentified old wallpaper in Dedham, MA.

The stabilization was done to the crumbling and pealing paper with wallpaper paste and a hypodermic needle and then Gardz to bind the powdering old paper and wall.

Finally, Lena Fransioli and Brooke Sheldon painted the sky and added the colors to the foreground details in small, block print like, brush strokes. The result was spectacular.

Because I thought the paper was out of production, and the girls had painted it so beautifully, I photographed it in detail and turned it into wallpaper and since Brooke's husband wanted a mural in their house, I printed it for her living room. She and her family were thrilled.

Last week, I got an inquiry into the East of Eden paper. This new "potential client" said they had found it in Architectural Digest, March 2012. It turns out it is Zuber's “Les Lointains. It hangs proudly in Brooke Shields' dining room. Sadly, I can not sell this pattern because, though Lena and Brooke painted the colors, the original pattern is not ours to sell.  Darn, I really thought it was an "out of print" antique paper & I put in a huge amount of time processing it into something printable and beautiful, if I don't say so myself. Happy holidays all.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Wallpaper Install

First, let me apologize for being MIA. I got burned out posting "wallpaper-a-day" and had to stay away for a while.

Now that you have recovered from eating to much, I have this for you.

Just before our Thanksgiving guests arrived, I decided to spruce up our powder room with a very textural wallpaper pattern "Textile" (TE2758). This pattern is inspired by 5th century Persian textiles. For this install, I chose to print on a non-woven substrate, for a fabric like feel, at 68% which gave me a 7.75" W. x 21.5" H. repeat. First, I hung lining paper to cover hair line cracks in this old house and add structure for a better end result.

If you have 100 seconds to spare, I made a time lapse video of the install process for your viewing pleasure.

Happy holidays to all.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sweet Corn

It is summer and I thought I would give you a taste of New England, starting with Sweet Corn. This is funny...

Fresh garden tomatoes are one of the great things about summer. We planted some heirloom seeds sent by a friend in Santa Barbara called Purple Cherokee and Golden Globe cherry tomatoes, for which I built a 10 foot scaffold. 

  As soon as they started coming in, we realized that the dog likes tomatoes which is why we weren’t getting any. We put in a fence, which did not stop the phantom, so we resorted to electricity, in his collar and voila. 

 We have so many we are making caprese, and every other tomato dish we can think of, making sauce & freezing it.

 We have been harvesting our way up the scaffold and soon we will be picking tomatoes from over our heads.

We hope you are all having a wonderful last few weeks of summer. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Day 153 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Peonies"

Some of you may remember my post with photos of Mona's garden "Spring in the Garden". This year I am attempting to take full advantage of living with such a beautiful and mature perennial garden outside my back door. Last week I posted some garish roses, today something a little subtler.  Peonieseach flower is 20” across with beads of dew and occasional ants. Beautiful from afar, for Lena,  then look closely at the details, now I’m interested. So it makes everybody happy, at least in my household.. I can’t wait to hang this one.

These details can't show the amazing luminous quality these large scale flowers have and there is no repeat for 32 inches and then it does a half drop. You have to see it to believe it.

The pattern below represents a 9 foot by 15 foot wall. The painted black figure, for size reference, was painted by our daughter, Zoë Fransioli.

For more fun, explore our "GigaPan" of this wall covering.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Day 152 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Rose"

Roses are not always red and these roses, with their red and yellow, have a vibrant orange look. The image below represents an 11 foot high wall. At full size the larger roses in this pattern are nearly 20" across, you can have any size that suits you though.

Bring some fun and zest into your interior with the natural beauty of nature with Zoë Design wall coverings.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

An Inside Look at Ordering Zoë Design Custom Wallpaper.

I just shipped our Malachite Verde wallpaper to Miles Redd, New York just 3 days after they OK’d the color proof. IU thought I would tell you about the process that goes into these wallpapers. Reilly, at the Miles Redd Design office, contacted me 6 months ago with elevations for a powder room

 and asked for a quote. I provided a proposal based on the square footage in the provided elevations.

Last week I got a check in the mail from Miles’s office in the amount specified in the proposal I sent last year. I contacted Reilly and said I had some questions, 1) would Miles like the scale at the standard 7.2” repeat or could we create a new large scale Malachite with no repeats for this project?

2) Reilly asked me to include the ceiling. Printed in the standard way, the ceiling pattern will not line up with all the walls. Lena suggested I cut the ceiling into four triangular pieces so each wall would continue onto the ceiling with no break in the pattern. Would they like that? 

While I waited for answers to these questions, I printed and shipped a color strike off. Reilly emailed me with the answers, “standard repeat and size and no triangles on ceiling”. I got to work on the design to figure out the number and size of all the panels.

 I printed the wallpaper in 5 - 42” panels plus a short one above the door and one for the ceiling. 

Each panel is labeled, in this case there are A/B drops which must be alternated for a seamless pattern. 

 In the case of a mural or no repeat pattern they would be numbered sequentially.

They are mostly dry when the come out of the printer, but I like to lay them out over night, when there is time before trimming,  rolling, 

 packaging and shipping.

  In the package I include a note to the paper hanger, in this case Ronnie Martin of Chase Paperhanging, detailing the size number and repeat and giving a link to our “Hanging Instructions” on the web site.

Our literature states that we will ship within two weeks of acceptance of color strike off. This paper was in the installers hands in five days. Rielly promised me photos of the final install, I will post them when they arrive.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Day 151 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Cherry Blossom"

While we were in DC we met with designer Nestor Santa-Cruze and he asked us to meet with his client while we were in town. We spent several pleasant hours in Ahna's garden showing her our sample book while a shower of Cherry blossom floated down over us. It was the height of flowering & the "National Cherry Blossom Festival" had just taken place. This enchanting experience left a lasting impression and inspired me to collect the petals from our weeping cherry to make this pattern which is 12 x 10 feet with no repeat. I can put it over any color, pattern or mural (sky).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Day 150 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Rustic Revisited"

Yesterday I was asked for a sample of "Rustic" (NA5585) by a designer and I asked her what configuration she would like. You see, all of my geometric patterns can be configured into any design. This is a little hard to explain in words so let me show you a few images to explain.

The original was just slats of weathered teak with lichen growing on them. I can take that and create squares like a paneling,

I can combine that with elongated rectangles and even change the proportion to create the illusion of foreshortening.

or, I can create a herring bone pattern like a parquet floor.

There is no limit to the ways this and other images in our collection can be changed to fit your desire, you can even use it the way I envisioned it originally, as straight up slats.

Give us your ideas and we will bring them to life. We make your ideas happen.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Day 149 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "East of Eden" (Install)

We have just installed our "East of Eden" wallpaper in Brooke's living room. She still has to paint below the wainscot but, now that the furniture is back in place, I wanted to share the result. This figurative wallpaper really opens up the space and makes the room feel bigger.

This scenic wall covering is a bargain, considering it is 1/2 to 1/4th the cost of painting a mural with the same detail, including the cost of installation.

Brooke and David's house is an antique colonial and offers many challenges in the creation and installation. I am especially fond of some of the strange angles.

Have you dreamt of improving your space. Give us a call. WE MAKE YOUR IDEAS HAPPEN!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Day 148 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Leafy"

We are currently in Guilford, CT. Lena and Brooke are glazing walls & painting faux marble columns while I am overseeing the installation of the "East of Eden" wallpaper (installation photos to come). Because we are all very busy I am posting a "not ready for prime time" wallpaper.

This leafy pattern was created and hand stenciled by Doug Garrabrants. When I have time or when someone orders this wall covering, I will finish the computer work necessary to ready it for printing. Available in sizes and colors to suit your needs.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Day 147 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Floor Cloth"

Years ago we did a series of canvas floor cloths to decorate peoples kitchen or entry floors. This past weekend I realized that I could deliver anything imaginable on a 3' x 5' canvas floor cloth. Here I took a seedpod, lined it with a hand painted filigree and added our "Wacky Wood" pattern in the center.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 146 ~ Wallpaper-a-day "Bronze Band"

I found this beautiful aged bronze hinge with rusted steel nails and love it so much I created a wallpaper pattern that can be as large as 25" x 190". But what to do with it? Alone it is lovely but not something you would want repeated on the wall.

I have a friend / client who wants a wall covering with "runes" for her Wiccan meeting room. Our Verdigris Bronze Rune (Day 63) wall covering could work but would be a little overwhelming throughout the room. However, if I combine the two, giving borders to the Runes, we now have something very interesting.

The combined 60 inch panels of runes with 5.5 inches border becomes structural.

Think outside the box!