Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Feature…Carol Tate of Artisana Works

I don’t think you readers have any idea how important your input is to those of us who blog. We try to come up with interesting topics to explore, but are never sure if we are piquing your interest? Of course we like to write about topics that interest us but more importantly we want to engage you the reader. I received a most thoughtful note from one of my readers a while back. It was sparked by a creative comment she left on the blog. I knew there was an extremely creative person behind those words when I landed on her website. Meet Carol Tate of Artisanaworks one talented woman!!!

Here is her story. Carol grew up in Houston surrounded by art. She had an early exposure to the fine and decorative arts. Her mother taught fine art, and trips to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston were a welcome part of her childhood. Her maternal Grandmother “injected a sense of good design, whether in the selection and placement of fine furniture, art, and accessories, or in her dress. A hands on approach to creativity was encouraged”. Prior to kindergarten, she knew the color wheel, the primary and secondary colors, and the basic elements of design. By the age of 6 or 7, she learned to sew…”often up before dawn creating “fashion” with fabric remnants and scrap trim”.  When Carol was in her twenties some  pieces she had exhibited for the large Arts and Crafts Fair in Bellevue WA caught the eye of Seattle’s “Grand Dame” of Interior Design, Jean Jongeward.  It was then her future “as a resource for the Interior Design Trade was launched.”  Currently Carol lives and works in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas.

Not only does Carol fabricate the most wonderful pillows, her online shop is filled with  vintage, antique and one of a kind finds that will delight the most discriminating shopper !  I find it refreshing that someone right here in the good ole USA is still handcrafting beautiful works of art.

These pillows are hand stenciled by Carol with antique metallic gold print on silk.
I love mix of Mediterranean artificats that Carol combined with her gorgeous pillows
I am crazy about kuba cloth pillows (for decorative use only as they aren’t very comfy). This one sports a sueded leather flange (Carol never leaves detail to chance)  Here she grouped some of her pillows that incorporate global textiles and hand selected designer fabrics with other ethnic finds from around the world.

This beautiful pillow which first caught my eye is appliqued with “remnant, scrap, and roll-end linen”.  It is grouped with a treasure trove of Carol’s vintage, architectural and upcycled finds.
This pillow is constructed of  hand made chenille with the “tossed selvedge from the woven edge of muslin fabric”.  How clever is that?
Now you know why I was so inspired when I landed on Carol’s website .  I knew I wanted to know more about this talented artisan.  Carol graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions.
What inspires you/your designs?
It might be as elemental as a particular shade of blue, the texture of a fabric. Compositions of Mother Nature never cease to inspire, as do the decorative arts and textiles of past civilizations and diverse world cultures.
Artists and Designers of the past ~ Sonia Delaunay, Henri Matisse, Mario Fortuny, Rob Mallet Stevens to name only a few…and present ~ Michael Trapp, especially the Litchfield home.  Abigail Ahern for her bold use and sense of color, and her bohemian flair.  Kelly Wearstler for her fearless, what I would call a Contemporary “Fauvist” Expressionist, pushing the envelope of “Safe”.  Joseph Mintonfor all that he is and composes, and likewise, Gerrie Bremermann for her eye, depth, and harmony.
How did you happen to move to the Hill Country?
I ask myself this same question.  Though born in Texas, Seattle was home for decades.  The building leased for my workroom and showroom had sold; lease was up; Seattle was in the midst of a major economic downturn, and I was hungry for sunshine, again.
What fabrics do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with high-quality goods and high-end designer fabrics.  Many a pattern of Fortuny has crossed my path in the over 30 years doing custom pillow fabrication, which is a thrill for me.
I enjoy the challenges and minute handwork often called for in the use of antique textiles and trimmings.  I once had a project which involved cutting-up an entire antique floral Aubusson carpet.  I was asked  “Don’t you fear  making the cuts?”  It’s not a matter of whipping out the scissors and cutting away, but making aesthetic judgments concerning the motif or pattern first, mapping-out all cuts with  pins, and then abiding by the “Measure twice, cut once“ rule.  Fear?  Never.
In general, I am partial to natural fiber fabrics with well-spun and twisted yarns, and a quality weave.
Now here is the best part Carol has generously extended a special offer to you readers  a little holiday shopping incentive!
An exclusive offer to Rough Luxe Lifestyle readers    Now Through October 31, 2013
20% off all merchandise purchased
Also 10% Off Orders for Carol Tate’s Custom Made Pillows and Custom Hand-filled Down and Feather Inserts.
Please email carol@artisanaworks or call Carol Tate toll-free at 1.877.441.5509 for details prior to ordering.  Exclusive of Shipping, Handling, Insurance.

A big thank you to Carol for sharing her story.  It is readers like Carol that make blogging so rewarding!


  1. Wow! Carol is very talented, love her pillows and her decor style! Love the middle-estern flair!

  2. Your posts are always full of inspiration, Cindy! You put so much effort into every one!
    There is always something interesting, as different our/your readers tastes might be, certainly something for each of us!
    Like the pillows and Carols creativity.
    Best wishes for a lovely and relaxed weekend,
    P.S Thanks for your mail and understanding regarding "garden report" :) !

  3. Hi Cindy, food for thought here...about blogging, why, who reads, where we go hit it right on...this is very interesting and informative....I have noticed a decline in posting over the last year...perhaps we should take your lead and venture off into exploring more of our readership instead about making it all about us and what our interests are....Carol is a very talented lady, with an interesting point of view regarding her work.....this was a great read...N.xo

  4. Wow - love this Cindy!!! love her pillows and aesthetic.

  5. Clearly a very creative person and I love the recycling ethic she has too. X Sharon

  6. Those pillows are amazing. Love all the vignettes, too.


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