Soft focus: Slowdown Studio adds to its collection of art-inspired textiles

Harrison Throw

Collectible art and design comes in all forms these days. Making a solid case for works of the textile variety is the Los Angeles-based label, Slowdown Studio, who’s limited edition, woven cotton blankets feature the creative talents of artists from around the world.

Conceived by graphic designer Marc Hendrick, the label’s curatorial approach is refreshingly simple. ‘I like to find artists who are doing work that feels different and fresh. It doesn’t matter what field they’re in,’ he says, adding, ‘When we first talk to the artists, we select a few of our favourite works of theirs and ask them to channel that style. Most artists we work with have a specific style that’s unique to them, so the brief really is just to be our favourite version of themselves.’

Slowdown Studio launches its fifth collection this week with colourful creations by Byzance Design Studio in Paris, the Texas-based painter Jonathan Ryan Storm, Hungarian textile designer Dora Szentmihalyi who’s based in Barcelona and Marleigh Culver, an artist / designer residing in Virginia.

Slowdown Studio’s limited edition, woven cotton blankets feature the creative talents of artists from around the world

‘This collection has a painter, a digital artist, a textile designer and a graphic design studio [involved],’ says Hendrick. ‘It’s probably our most abstract collection to date. There’s a real focus on form and pattern that works both from a distance and up close. We’ve also fully embraced our love of pink in all of them, except the one black and white design.’

While there aren’t specific themes to each collection per se, Hendricks has ensured that shared elements tie the designs together. ‘I think it’s really a style that resonates throughout all of our blankets. Organic shapes, unique hand drawn lines and patterns, and a soft color palette of pinks, yellows, greens and blues. All of the art has quite an imperfect feel about it, and using that style of art in textiles, which are also a little imperfect, is a perfect match.’

The 100% cotton throws are carefully woven in North Carolina, under the supervision of both label and artist to ensure that its realization is up to par. Hendrick says, ‘I go back and forth with the artist at our weavers to make sure she has encapsulated everything about the original art in the textile version, which due to the nature of jacquard weaving, can be quite an art in getting the colours right.’

The collaborative nature of the project can often lead in other unexpected directions as well. ‘Jonathan Ryan Storm originally produced a crazy colorful piece for us that we were going to use,’ recalls Hendrick. ‘We weren’t able to find colours so bright that it had the energy of his original art, so we ended up making life a lot easier for ourselves and going with the black and white! In hindsight though, I think the collection works better with the black and white Collins throw, so it was a happy mistake.’

With its range of offerings set to expand to ceramics, accessories and stationery in the coming future, Slowdown Studio’s creative efforts show no signs of actually slowing.