Posts in Behind the Scenes
Introducing the July Collection!
 "Summer Glow" small tapestry

"Summer Glow" small tapestry

After weeks of cutting, dyeing and suspending wool strands from walnut wood to create my Canvas With Movement® tapestries, I spent a couple days photographing each piece to present them to you, my collectors. “Photo shoot day” as I like to call it, is one of my favorite parts of the process in preparing a new collection. It allows me to look back on what I was thinking and how I was feeling as I created the collective.

This month, I see a theme conveyed through my art and I wonder if you will see it too.  

Oftentimes, we overthink what and how inspiration arrives. As an artist, I am guilty of this trap. This collection however, I simply allowed my hands to take over and gave my mind a break. It is 100 degrees in the studio right now, and so I focused on survival. Not to be dramatic, but even with portable air conditioning units pumping in the studio, we are lucky if we feel air below 95 degrees during the month of July. That creates opportunity for heat exhaustion and dehydration, if we aren’t careful. 

I’m blessed to be surrounded by a team of hardworking, flexible and supportive people who never complain about the heat and smile when I propose an ice cold Topo Chico break after lunch. Together, we are making the best out of our 100-degree garage studio and with such positive attitudes, I believe we are launching the greatest collection of work so far. 

With this month’s mentality of embracing the heat and allowing my hands to work without expectations, I saw the art create itself. I literally could not force anything in this collection. Due to the extreme temperatures, I needed to relax, allow the summer heat to invade my mind and then freestyle without restrictions. I had to trust creative instincts and let the process take over without dictating or controlling the art. This month, the art came alive without me forcing any pre-planned designs. 

The theme I saw on “Photo Shoot Day” after photographing the collection was that by allowing the process to be the inspiration and enjoying that more than the product, I was able to allow each Canvas With Movement® piece come alive on its own. This art in this month’s collection is full of freedom, exploration and positivity. Without force or control, the pieces in my July Collection have come together among the heat of the summer and I cannot wait for you take a look and see how I embraced the elements and allowed my creative instincts to take over.

Shop the July collection
Click here

Introducing the June Collection!

Each month I release new Canvas With Movement® artwork and this month is an exciting collection of pieces that I cannot wait for you to view! I have developed a new design of tapestries called the “Long Circle” built with my signature Canvas With Movement® yarn in a gray color palette. A blend of wool from both black and white sheep, the gray strands are not dyed, but carefully spun in a perfected proportion, resulting in naturally created gray fibers. The gray strands are suspended from a circular frame in a “perfectly imperfect” form of round fiber art.

Almost 5 years ago when I created my first tapestry, I had the vision of building a canvas but with movement. Although a self-taught painter, I wanted to create a design on my Canvas With Movement® tapestry, and dye seemed to be the best medium. I temporarily abandoned my paints and have spent many years perfecting my dye techniques. I love the fluidity of dye paired with the movement from hundreds of wool strands. My art has taught me to “go with the flow” and release control of my intended design allowing each piece to come alive with the freedom to move.  

As a new style of tapestry formed in the “Long Circle” design, I had the urge to come back to my roots as a painter and push the boundaries of fiber art by actually addressing my tapestry as a canvas and painting it.

You will see in the Long Circle pieces my approach to painting a Canvas With Movement® tapestry. The first Long Circle design expresses my passion for movement and motion in my artwork. Although the painted strands are held in place by two metallic lines, I wanted to convey movement through the painted layers in the design. I incorporated a Jackson Pollock style on the last two of the pieces, which felt very appropriate as Pollock’s works, which came to be known as “drip paintings,” present less a picture than a record of the fluid properties of paint itself.

“Movement” is my inspiration in all my works, and my “Canvas With Movement” fiber art was born because I wanted to create art that had physical movement.   Everything that I create includes some expression of movement and I became fixated on how Jackson Pollock’s art was referred to as “action painting” because of the way he created his pieces. This felt very personal as each of my pieces require massive amounts of physicality to create. From cutting the individual strands, to the building of the 6 foot, often times larger, fiber canvases, there is much labor that goes into creating the base of my pieces before I even approach dyeing or painting my designs.

Beyond the Long Circle designs, there are many pieces that range in style, color and shape. I hope you can feel the movement and passion that goes in to each Canvas With Movement® tapestry. This month offers a collection that I am proud to share with you! Thank you for your interest and support!

Sincerely,
Lauren

'Throw'llaboration! Q&A with Molly Fitzpatrick of DittoHouse

In my recent cotton knit collaboration Molly Fitzpatrick, creative director of DittoHouse and I  saw this as a fun opportunity to blend our seemingly different styles into one. The result is a design that I think captures the richness of my tapestries and achieves visual depth and interest as an expertly knit, American made DittoHouse throw blanket that i'm so excited to share with you for a limited time on the shop!

I had such a fun time working with Molly on this project and was excited to host a little Q&A with her about the collab! 

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So how was this idea born?
Lauren approached me after finding me on Instagram. She proposed collaborating on a throw blanket design and I was eager to learn more about her and her business. After chatting on the phone we decided it would be really interesting to find a middle ground between our art styles.

What did you first fall in love with about Lauren's work?
I love that Lauren's work is organic and not only has actual movement in the fibers, but also visual movement in the intensity of dyes.

How did both of your unique styles/expertise fit together on this project? 
Lauren's unique dyed fibers have a distinct look and feel, I enjoyed the challenge of capturing the loose style of her work with the rigid and geometric nature of knit textile; I  was excited to capture Lauren's larger than life tapestries in an approachable, everyday textile. 

How do you describe your own design aesthetic?
Modern, bold and engaging.

Both you and Lauren have beautiful homes filled with wonderful families-- how does your idea of 'home' fit into the motivation behind your art/products?
I love the idea of filling my noisy, busy home that my husband and I share with our 2 small children with textiles, art and inspiring spots to think and play. I am inspired to create textiles that are not only works of art but functional pieces to warm our home and the homes of my customers.

Textiles are such a unique medium with the added sense of touch involved. What role does material choice play in each of your creative processes? 
Material is very important to me. My choice to use a recycled fiber is intentional, knowing that responsibility in textile manufacturing is incredibly important to the future of our earth. I am able to create lasting, timeless products freely knowing that small batch production with sustainable fibers can be enjoyed for generations.

What's one of your favorite things about this new knit throw?
I love that this throw can transition from modern to eclectic to traditional depending on how it is styled.


I hope you love the new piece as much as we did! They'll only be available for a limited amount of time so be sure and grab yours below! 

Cotton Knit Throw
180.00

In a collaboration between DittoHouse and Lauren Williams®, this limited edition recycled cotton knit throw blanket is inspired by Lauren’s one-of-a-kind Canvas With Movement® fiber art. The design is composed of parallel vertical stripes in black, gray and white with two horizontal stripes of a champagne colored yarn.

Molly Fitzpatrick, creative director of DittoHouse and artist, Lauren Williams saw this opportunity to blend their seemingly different styles into one. The result is a design that captures the richness of Lauren’s tapestries and achieves visual depth and interest as an expertly knit, American made DittoHouse throw blanket. 

The recycled cotton yarn used in this blanket utilizes pre- and post- consumer textile waste. The waste cotton materials are sorted by color and de-fiberized to be spun into new yarns. Since this ingenious process uses materials which have already been dyed, no new dying is needed to create these yarns!

DIMENSIONS- 50" x 60"

CONTENTS- 80%Recycled Cotton, 20% Polyester

Made in the USA

Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.

Quantity:
Add To Cart
 
How it all started: discovering Canvas with Movement

Canvas With Movement is how I described my first fiber art creation once it was dry and hanging on the wall of our rental home, in September of 2014. After making a wall hanging specifically for the large wall in my dining room, I was hooked. But there is so much more to this story. The first piece eventually lead to a new form of fiber art that is finding its way into homes, restaurants and hotels all around the world and it all started with a blank wall.

In 2014, our family of four moved into a cute rental house in Dallas, Texas. Big windows let in the best natural light and I knew the original wood floors were going to look stunning once I repainted the pale green walls white. The mature hydrangea bushes and tall trees that filled the lot, provided a very charming place that we would call home, at least the term of our 12-month lease. 

My husband and I are entrepreneurs, and growing a small business while also growing our family, has had its financial struggles. We moved several times since getting married and I was no stranger to rearranging our hand-me-down furniture and thrifted couches to fit in various apartments and rental homes to create a space that I was proud of. From a Los Angeles apartment to a Dallas rental house, we found ourselves with more space to work with, however two boys under the age of 4 made every square foot of our home very valuable.  

My visions of decorating each new rental always faded quickly among the piles of dinosaurs, Legos, balls and toy trucks, but the one thing I couldn’t ignore were the empty walls. Because my taste for art and my budget for art didn't really align, I took it upon myself to paint small canvases, incorporate thrift store art and frame photos of our boys to fill any voids. The wide open living room that joined the dining room in our newest rental however, had a wall that was begging for a statement piece. 

There was a day in September when I walked past the wall and the windows were allowing the best natural light to fill the room and it hit me- I knew exactly what the wall needed. It needed texture. Dimension. Substance. Movement. And it needed to be big. Immediately I had this idea of suspending individual strands of something (Fabric? Strips of material? A Textile?) to a wooden dowel to create a sort of canvas, but with texture, movement and dimension. I spent the next day wandering the aisles of a craft store and then a hardware store for supplies. I came up with something that I couldn’t wait to work on. 

That Friday, after putting the boys to bed, I stayed up late cutting yarn and attaching each piece to a long wooden dowel. My husband gave me a curious side-eye during the movie we watched as I worked to bring my vision to life. The next morning was warm and the kids played outside while I rested my new “canvas” between two Ikea storage shelves so that I could add color to the hanging strands of yarn. I was familiar with paint, but had never used liquid dyes to create a design. I started simple and added a layer of gray dye, then navy in the center and an aqua green color for the sides. 

It was windy and the strands were flying everywhere splattering me with dye but once the sun dried the hanging fibers, I brought the piece inside and used thumb tacks to hang it on our dining room wall. I stood back and eyed my creation. 

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It was interesting. It added texture and a unique look to my basic dining room. It felt warm and inviting. I couldn’t stop looking at the way the dye layers faded into each other so effortlessly, creating a peaceful and organic feel. From the wooden dowel at the top, the fibers hung down at various lengths and the line that the strands created at the bottom of the piece was unstructured and so natural. With an overall dimension of 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall, this was a large statement piece that was unlike anything I had ever seen. 

My husband, an art lover himself, came to see my work and he was intrigued. He was immediately drawn to the movement of the strands as I "combed” my fingers through to untwist groups of strands to lay them flat on the wall. Individually James and I are very particular about our taste and styles, and I knew that if we could agree on a single piece of art, I was on to something. 

His complements began and he wanted to me to make another one for our bedroom. I was flattered and excited that he appreciated my vision. I felt that this addition to our plain dining room had suddenly opened a door of creativity that was just waiting to be explored. I decided to build another “canvas with movement” piece and thousands of tapestries later I am so grateful for that big, white, plain wall and often find myself searching for more blank walls to be inspired by.  

Check out my most recent collection of tapestries here

Apartment Therapy: My Artwork Appeared on an Episode of Fixer Upper!

You may have read in my last post about my tapestry being featured in a re-model on HGTV's Fixer Upper! I sat down with Apartment Therapy to talk about how it all happened and what it was like having Jo on my website! Check out their full article below:

Seeing your face on TV can be an exciting and surreal experience — but if you're an artist, seeing your work on TV might possibly be even more exciting. Apartment Therapy reader Lauren Williams is a textile designer and artist, and she recently had the honor of seeing her artwork featured on HGTV's most popular show, Fixer Upper.

Here's how it all happened: Back in August 2017, Lauren was doing a little networking. She contacted a set designer who was a friend of a friend, saying she'd love to meet and find a way to work together. "I'm always looking to meet designers, photographers, stylists, and editors as a way to expand my network of creatives. I sent an email to make the connection and to introduce myself and my art," says Lauren.

It paid off when, a couple weeks later, Lauren received a reply, asking if she had any pieces available for a project the designer was working on, which was described as a "fixer upper house." Turns out Lauren's new contact had just accepted a job as the lead staging coordinator for THE Fixer Upper, of HGTV fame, and her job was to help style the newly renovated houses before their big television reveals. Says Lauren:

"She explained that she and Jo were on my site that morning looking through my previous works. Jo chose a piece that she thought would work perfectly, and the designer said she would text me a photo of the chosen tapestry."

"Knowing that Joanna Gaines was on my website looking through my art was a really rad feeling."

There was just one problem — the tapestry that Joanna chose was no longer available.

"I sent a quick reply explaining that I just launched my largest collection of work on Saturday and all 21 pieces had sold within minutes! I explained that each piece is tedious to create, so I only offer a collection once a month and the next collection wouldn't be available for another four weeks."

But the designer didn't have four weeks — the install was already happening so the timeline was ASAP. But Lauren was hesitant to pass up the opportunity.

"I was excited about the potential of being included in one of Joanna Gaines' designs so I asked if we could chat quickly to figure out a way to make it work."

The piece Joanna liked was titled "Miss Popular," and it includes shades of vintage pink and light brown with two horizontal gold stripes through the center.

"To be honest, I was a bit surprised that this was the piece they picked. I'm not necessarily a "pink person" myself, but after a few minutes on the phone, I knew I wanted to create the tapestry that they both thought would be perfect in this "Fixer Upper." She also informed me that this would be for the house they were doing for Joanna's sister, so I was even more excited to create a piece of art that was would be a gift for someone so special to Joanna.

Fortunately, my Studio Manager, Haley, is a rock star and took over the packaging and shipping of all the tapestries from our collection release so I could be completely focused on creating the Fixer Upper piece. The tapestry was scheduled to be installed in only a few days, so I had to start working on it immediately. There wasn't even enough time to ship the piece to Waco and because we only live a couple hours away, my husband and I were able to drive it there to make it in time for the install.

We arrived at the Fixer Upper house location, and its huge front yard with a giant tree hosted a landscape crew and various contractors. The home seemed nearly finished, with some exterior details being completed, but I was already in love with the project. Everything was buzzing with progress as we walked inside and were greeted by a prop stylist who was steaming curtains. A contractor working on the front entry stones cautioned us as we carefully navigated our way inside. We met my new friend, the staging coordinator, and toured the house as she shared stories of the project and her new job. I loved the tile in the master bathroom and the incredible design of the kitchen. The room off the living room was a garage conversion that was now the perfect place for the kids to do homework and play. Every detail was so good and I couldn't stop my eyes from darting around and making notes for my own house!

The staging coordinator explained that the tapestry would hang in the front entryway and we headed to take a look at the wall. The tapestry fit perfectly with the design and was a great addition to the space. Joanna knew exactly what needed to be there and my doubts on using pink dissolved. I hung the tapestry, made sure it was level, and snapped a few iPhone photos before heading back to Dallas. The staging coordinator was beyond friendly and paid me for my art right away. I appreciated the experience so much.

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After that, I didn't really know what to expect. I knew it was a possibility that it wouldn't make the episode. There's not time to show every detail of Joanna's designs, and there is always a chance that she could change her mind about the piece.

I was asked not to share any details on social media regarding the project before the episode aired, so when I received an email from the staging coordinator five months later I was excited all over again. On New Year's day she emailed me that the episode would air on Tuesday, January 2nd at 8pm on HGTV.

My husband and I love the show, so we poured a glass of wine and enjoyed watching the 6th episode of the last season. At the end of the show, during the reveal, Chip and Joanna stood in the entryway with her sister and brother-in-law right next to my tapestry and the art got some quality air time! We were giddy!

At the end of the show, during the reveal, Chip and Joanna stood in the entryway with her sister and brother-in-law right next to my tapestry and the art got some quality air time.

I love being part of the design process with designers who truly have an artistic eye. The fact that I got to be part of Joanna's vision for her own sister's home was truly special. There's nothing in the world like using art to do something special for someone. I was honored to be a part of it.

My art wasn't mentioned by name on the show, but after the episode aired I had tons of messages and comments from my followers who saw the show and recognized my art right away! There was lots of excitement surrounding that episode for my business, and I feel that the attention was a really great boost for my art and home products.

The feature on Fixer Upper has really furthered my initiative to create more relationships directly with interior designers, art directors and staging firms. In fact we have launched a designer program where we offer a trade discount for interior design firms and professionals. I absolutely love seeing how other creatives use my art in different designs. It's a very exciting time and I can't wait to see what comes next!"

Click here to view the original article on Apartment Therapy!