How's It Made?

And other queries related to the art of creation.

Welcome to the lab, ladies and gentlemen.


 

"Wallpaper is capable of reflecting fashion in all its modes. Essentially a trendsetter, it has become a mural art form in its own right, brilliantly revealing the history, evolution of tastes, and aspirations of each successive epoch. It is hardly surprising then, that since its beginnings up to the present day, wallpaper has never ceased to be in vogue."

- Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz

 
 
 This is a mind-boggling fact: decorative wall coverings have been in use since the sixteenth century. The SIXTEENTH CENTURY! Humans are amazing, aren't they? We're so wildly inventive on a grand scale.

This is a mind-boggling fact: decorative wall coverings have been in use since the sixteenth century. The SIXTEENTH CENTURY! Humans are amazing, aren't they? We're so wildly inventive on a grand scale.

 

While considering how to approach the topic of process and making, I thought it would be best to begin with the origins of the medium FV deals with on a daily basis—wallpaper (big surprise!). I thought the ultimate place to start this conversation would be lurking somewhere on my bookshelf. Indeed, it was. If you haven't heard of Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz and you appreciate the history of ornamentation, prepare to be delighted.  Her book, Wallpaper: A History Of Style and Trends, isn't just a pretty face—yes, the physical specimen is absolutely gorgeous (a hefty size, crisp images, excellent typefaces, weighty paper)—but her work is thorough, well-researched, and reads less like a list of hard-to-remember dates and more like a thrilling cultural narrative. 

The book also considers a question we ask ourselves on an almost daily basis: what is classified as artisanal work? Can wallpaper function as art? We started a company with the creation of our sticker wallpaper. Sticker wallpaper is a unique example. It's made entirely by us, in our studio, with each tiny sticker applied by hand. Equally at home in galleries and private residences alike, is it possible for that particular wallpaper to be called art? And does it matter, either way? Thibaut-Pomerantz discusses this burning question in the conclusion of her book.

"Does the fact that a piece is not unique mean that it embodies no creativity? Is there any point in maintaining a distinction between the "fine" and the "minor" arts?" 

- Carolle Thibaut-Pomerantz

Here are three interesting technical terms mentioned in her book:

Domino: Dominos are smaller individual sheets of paper decorated with ornate engravings, hand-painted motifs, or designs carved from woodblocks. Circa 18th century. 

Panoramique: A panoramic wallcovering became quite the rage as trade routes between countries widened and crossed. A panoramique paper is an intricate hand-painted mural usually depicting a lyrical scene, exotic botanicals, breathtaking views, or historically significant activities. Here's an example of one!

Calico: Known to us Americans as 'chintz,' calico patterns involve varied colorful (often small-scale) motifs and are hand-painted onto inexpensive fabric or fine papers. 

 
 Trained as an art historian, Thibaut-Pomerantz has spent the last 20 years becoming a sought-after expert in the world of antique, vintage, and contemporary wallpapers.

Trained as an art historian, Thibaut-Pomerantz has spent the last 20 years becoming a sought-after expert in the world of antique, vintage, and contemporary wallpapers.

If you're curious to learn more, I urge you to order your very own copy of Wallpaper: A History of Style and Trends.

 
 Doesn't this read as a surprisingly contemporary print? Circa 1778.

Doesn't this read as a surprisingly contemporary print? Circa 1778.


Payton Turner

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