Mary Mulcahy’s designs, first developed for her block-printed textiles, now grace the wall with the Les Indiennes collection by IVM Prints. The 12 hand-screened wallpapers include Rayure, left, and Veronique, both in indigo; additional colors are offered, Seen in Elle Decor April 2011
The company Les Indiennes is known for their beautiful hand-blocked textiles. Founder, Mary Mulcahy had a desire to find naturally dyed cotton, with large scale single colored motifs, but was unable to locate fabrics close to what she had in mind, so she created her own. Her concept started to take form after running into a craftsman in southern India, who knew exactly what she was after. In fact, the craftsman was one of the very few artists who still practiced the ancient art of kalamkari, which was an extremely complex and rare method of printing on fabric.
The Kalamkari Process:
1. Fabric Preparation- Cotton fabric is initially softened and bleached. This process needs to be done before any printing takes place. The process involves bales of organic cotton which are repeatedly rinsed and beaten against large rocks, then laid out on the grass to bleach in the sun. These steps ensure that the fabric will feel soft and luxurious, and so that the color application remains bright and vibrant.
2. Block Printing- After the fabric has been softened and lightened, printing begins. Craftsmen dip hand-carved wood blocks in dyes and presses them into the cotton. The dyes are derived from plants, roots, earth, and rock. One can only imagine the great care, and measurements taken to ensure the patterns are straight and line up with one another. Today we take for granted large printing machinery, when at one time, much of this work was done by hand. At Les Indiennes, the fabric is printed by hand, and hours go into each fabric panel. After the patterns are applied, the printed fabric is air dried for at least two days.
3. Color Setting- When the fabric is dry, the next step is the fabric must be steamed over a fire of rice chaff to fix the color. Workers next haul the cloth to a stream and rinse the fabric to remove excess dye. The process is truly primitive! Colors sometimes emerge from different streams in different tones. Each piece is truly unique!
4. Finishing Touches- Finally the fabric undergoes another round of softening and color-brightening. The fabrics are boiled, laid in the sun once more, and dipped in a natural, color-intensifying solution which allows the fabrics to look their very best.
As you can see, Les Indiennes is truly a unique company preserving this ancient art of fabric printing. It is a luxury to have hand painted fabrics that have had such care and consideration and love in each panel. Consider Les Indiennes for your custom drapery.
The Kalamkari Process- Les Indiennes Fabrics
Interior designer Darryl Carter using Swedish chairs with a yellow print slipcovers
The home of Barbo Grandelius (Antiquarian and Decoratrice)
and her husband Göran Peterson.
See more of this home at How To Bring The Swedish Style Into Your Home
Les Indiennes Fabrics
Les Indiennes Fabrics #8 Lucie
Inspirational Photo- Featured on Lapouyette Blog
“The Swedish Room” by Lars and Ursula Sjöberg
Les Indiennes Fabrics #9 Rayure
Inspirational Photo- At Nora Sheehan’s, Sag Harbour, New York
Les Indiennes Fabrics -#37 Denise
Les Indiennes Fabrics #55 Veronique
Les Indiennes Fabrics Veranda June 2012 Cover
A Long Island Beach house, decorated by Manhattan designer Timothy Whealon
Court Dress of Louise of Mecklenburg–Strelitz- Queen Of Prussia
Check out that wall paper print behind the dress….
The Swedish Room By Lars Sjöberg, Ursula Sjöberg, Ingalill Snitt
Featured on Cupboards & Roses