WRITTEN BY Delia McMullen
Read the full post on artist spotlight featuring Wesley Mancini, Twine and Twig, and Richard Stone!
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Wesley Mancini
World-renowned textile designer Wesley Mancini is known for his home textile fabrics and partnerships with many retailers. Mancini’s creative inspirations are varied: “foreign travel, looking at the forest floor or observing the night sky. Each season features some designs inspired by nature, whether seaweed and coral from the sea or blossoming cherry trees.”
Flocks of birds are a favorite inspiration for Mancini: “I love to watch birds move through the sky undulating in and around without colliding. These moments of beauty rarely happen; the fleeting aspect only enhances the preciousness of what is being witnessed. I’ve captured this in an allover design on a linen ground.”
Once he has his inspiration, Mancini looks to the marketplace which governs demand and price point. “From there,” he continues, “we design artwork, which is either painted or drawn. The next step is to create the weave structures and choose yarn types. Computer editing work follows and combines the art with the technical requirements to make the end product.”
Early on, Mancini was drawn to the field of textile design: “In art school, I found an affinity towards the fiber department. Due to the refined aesthetics of textiles, the process requires that you combine color, texture, pattern, structure and hand, all working together to design and fabricate a beautiful product. It also uses both sides of the brain, mixing creativity with math skills.” The National Endowment of the Arts grant he received in 1980 for his hand woven fabric designs remains the only one ever awarded for fabric design.
Favorite tools include his boxes of color poms (“I’m like a kid with a crayon box!”) and EAT, a fabric design software which replaces designing weaves on point paper. Regarding color palettes, Mancini notes that, “Color is a moving target. In a particular fabric season, the colors selected at the beginning slowly evolve into different shades by the end of the season. That’s how the next season becomes new, a constant flow of evolution.”
Mancini loves many fabric types, especially “anything with interesting and unusual weaves, whether a jacquard, dobby, velvet or frise.” Mancini indulges his passion for gardening in his backyard greenhouse in Charlotte, where he nurtures plants and exotic trees. The greenhouse also houses finches, a guinea pig and a pair of rabbits. “It’s a utopic world where all coexist happily. This environment calms and refreshes me,” he explains.
Mancini also is interested in humanitarian concerns. He recently partnered with Due Process Stable Trading
Company and ARZU STUDIO HOPE to produce a collection of handmade rugs crafted by highly skilled Afghan women weavers. ARZU STUDIO HOPE is a not-for-profit organization which supports women in rural villages of Afghanistan by providing social benefits and fair wages for the production of high quality rugs known as the Bakshayesh Collection. According to ARZU, “Bakshayesh rugs were regarded as the height of artistic achievement and luxury during the 19th century.”
The rugs include a limited number of designs by Mancini. His ARZU designs take elements from traditional Afghan carpets and update them with scale and color to align them with today’s transitional market trends. Mancini notes, “I am proud to be associated with a company that strives for equality among women and seeks to provide education and medical needs for our female artisans and their families in Afghanistan.” Mancini’s ARZU designs are currently available at Capel Rugs, both online and in stores throughout North and South Carolina.
Mancini looks forward to more creative collaborations and is happily adapting to changes in the industry. As he explains, “Being a designer means that I create products for the consumer. As the world changes, so must my designs. Thirty years ago, the interior world was very traditional. It is currently very transitional and leaning toward contemporary. My line has changed dramatically due to this. As far as the process, I continue to strive to keep the ‘Craft & Art’ in design today. While the world has advanced with computer technology, we are one of the last places that still paint and draw on paper. Inspiration does not come from an online image but from us. Being creative is crucial in all aspects of design, whether it’s in the art, the weave structures, yarn or color. This will never change.”
Recently, Peachy sat down with the amazingly creative sisters of Twine and Twig to hear the inspiration behind their incredibly cool and popular necklaces. Elizabeth Stafford White and Jacquelyn Stafford Buckner were inspired by their chic aunt Jill Sharp Brinson, a stylist in Atlanta. “She was always ahead of the trend and has a very cool elegant bohemian look. They have been visiting her and collecting African trade beads for the last couple of years. The sisters were wearing layers of beads as necklaces before it was hot.
After Jacquelyn’s daughter’s brain surgery last year the sisters became closer than ever. Elizabeth decided to restring some necklaces to create different patterns. They stock-piled their favorite beads and Twine and Twig was born. They wanted to create something that you can wear with anything—a statement piece—but not something bright, shiny or plastic. It has evolved in the last year by adding the suede strap, branding and expanding their beads to being sourced from all over the world. They were also inspired by an ancient African medicine man and love that Twine & Twigs designs are a nod to the origins of early jewelry making with all handcrafted and completely natural, raw elements from the earth. The materials are naturally sourced and eco friendly.
Their organic designs start with a horn, shell or agate. Then they hand cut strips of leather, brand the logo on and sew the edges. Each piece is unique with incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each hand tied necklace is one of a kind. They recently have added in turquoise and for the summer they will be launching their Tones collection that includes coral. They all have a Twine & Twig turtles coming out soon. All in all, they wanted to create something with an earthly elegance.
Richard Stone, a photography stylist and online antiques dealer, is brilliant. He was the mastermind behind our gorgeous floral headdresses for the style shoot. The Peachy team instantly fell in love with his style, wit and charisma. Richard has 17 years of experience in visual merchandising and has been featured in many high profile advertising campaigns and editoral features. On set at our fashion shoot, Richard showed up with buckets of flowers and created each unique look as the models came out in their beautiful clothing from boutiques around Charlotte. His incredible understanding of color and detail is seen in the floral headdresses. As we made changes, he was able to reinvent and redesign.