Weaving New Rug Designs at A-Z West in Joshua Tree

In Early February, I traveled out to A-Z West in Joshua Tree, California for 10 days to work on one of the new rug designs in my Spring Collection. A-Z West is the private home, studio and center for investigative living of artist Andrea Zittel (AZ), located on 35 acres of land in the high desert right on the outskirts of Joshua Tree National Park. I was invited to come out and and have a personal weaving residency and be on hand in the weaving studio for questions and learning.

Home for a week

I stayed in AZ's guest house, a sweet and simple renovated ranch style cabin surrounded by Joshua Trees and cacti, bathed in sun during the day and blanketed by stars at night.

The guesthouse at A-Z West

The guesthouse at A-Z West

Front yard with Joshua Trees.

Front yard with Joshua Trees.

The Dreamy Studio

Directly next door to the guest house is AZ's beautiful, spacious, airy studio where I spent my days weaving on the 60" AVL loom. My week at A-Z West was needed in more ways than I had known, both emotionally and creatively. The uninterrupted studio time was a true gift. At home in my own studio, my days are punctuated by the demands of running my brand, which is to say I spend a great deal of time answering and sending emails, doing my marketing, budget and admin work and the general operations of running a small creative business. Such a small fraction of my day-to-day is spent on what I love; weaving and designing. At A-Z West, my self imposed residency was incredibly productive and also allowed me some space to slow down for a week, recharge and check in with myself. I got to spend some quality time hanging out with AZ and her family, and enjoyed getting to know her awesome staff and now my new friends Kelly, Dean, Nora and Vanessa. Also, some special visits with friends who came out from LA and Vegas to hang with me. I also, confronted my fear of rodents, when a particularly pesky mouse had taken up residence under the guest house kitchen stove.

Morning in the weaving studio at A-Z West

Morning in the weaving studio at A-Z West

In the studio, I made one of the new area rugs in my Spring Collection. The design is something I have been developing for months in my sketchbooks. It stretches beyond my usual soft palette toward a graphic design splashed with bold colors. I was inspired by the colors and prints of my own clothes as a child. Growing up in the 1980's my kid style was one part Cyndi Lauper, one part Punky Brewster. I loved bright primary colors, turquoise and anything neon. My garments of choice were culottes, sweater dresses over printed stretch pants and cotton shirts and shorts splattered with graphic prints. Nike sneakers, jelly bangles, a walkman and a bonne belle lip balm necklace were my favorite accessories. Lifting some of that joy and pop from my childhood wardrobe and making it into this rug, puts the best parts together in a playfully sophisticated hand woven piece of art for the floor or the wall.

Cut from the loom and ready to hand knot. 100% wool measures 4ft x 6ft.

Cut from the loom and ready to hand knot. 100% wool measures 4ft x 6ft.

Studio photo by Andrea Zittel

Studio photo by Andrea Zittel

Various sketches and notes in my sketchbook on the rug's overall design, look and feel.

Various sketches and notes in my sketchbook on the rug's overall design, look and feel.

Sincere and deep thanks to Andrea Zittel for generously inviting me to come out and spend this time in her studio. The weaving, conversations, sun and peaceful quiet were just what I needed to recharge my soul and my creative juices. I am really excited about the new design and think you will love it too!

My new Spring Collection of rugs and blankets will make it's soft debut to the public in late April and officially launch at The ICFF Luxury Home + Furniture Fair in New York, May 2016. My website will be undergoing new and wonderful changes in the next month and a half, keep checking in to see what exciting updates are happening!

XO,

Dee

Dee ClementsComment