Flowers by the Yard

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Flowers by the Yard

April 22, 2011
02:19pm
Photo by: Michael Kraus

One of the Internet’s many unexpected outgrowths is a textile-manufacturing enterprise called Spoonflower. The company started in 2008 with two tech-savvy guys and their wives, one of whom wanted to make her own curtain fabric. Following the publishing world’s print-on-demand model, the couples built a company that will transfer anyone’s design onto natural fibers such as cotton, cotton-linen blends, and silk using eco-friendly, water-based inks and specially modified digital ink-jet printers. Prices range from $18 to $38 per yard, which is a pretty great deal for a custom fabric. Three years and several printers later, the community of Spoonflower designers is 100,000 strong. Scroll through thumbnails of already created designs in the categories of “What’s hot” and “What’s new” and find yourself tuned into the cloth world zeitgeist. Wood grain! Giraffes! Question marks! Who knew? For garden lovers, the site offers endless flora and fauna, from ironic toiles to supersize hummingbirds. Spoonflower may reside in a virtual world, but very human stories lie behind each fabric. Take, for example, Madison, Wisconsin, artist Helen Klebesadel. Her fabrics start out as watercolor paintings, many of them literal renderings of the natural world. An appreciation of plants is clear in Peonies Love Ants, in which the watercolor technique exquisitely captures the color gradation of each flower petal. “I picked organic cotton sateen for how the details print on it,” Klebesadel explains. “And you may be able to tell by my designs that I’m a gardener.”

 

This article was first published in Garden Design April 2011