I am often asked which new design is my favorite–of course, they all are! How can I pick a favorite, especially with a spring collection full of so many great introductions? But maybe another way to answer that question is to talk about how I find working on our fabric designs particularly new, challenging, and very exciting.

This May, we will be presenting our second collection of pillows. Lea, Shannon, and I started by looking at old botanical prints and antique floral fabrics for inspiration. Flora and Fauna is the constant muse at Jay Strongwater. Lea started by rendering large magnolia blossoms fully bloomed at the center of the pillow design, and then a framed border of smaller mille fiori flowers.

We selected lush velvet fabrics woven in America, Swarovski stones, and aurora-coated crystal beads to send to our embroiderer in India. Several weeks later, we were all very excited when the first samples came back looking pretty good. Everything is a learning experience, and we continued to fine-tune the techniques, colors, and materials to get the look we were after.

After thirty years, I have a good understanding of how to work with our metal materials, but I am fascinated to watch our drawings come to life with embroidered silk threads and hundreds of crystals hand-stitched one at a time. Interesting that just like in our New York workshops, only select artisans can work on these most intricate of embroidered designs.

Five wonderful pillows–including the poppy design, depicted as if looking at a field of blossoms–will be introduced. Of course, like every Jay picture frame, the back of each pillow is a compelling pattern of a metallic trellis embroidered on contrasting velvet.

Here in the NY studio, we have piled our lavender couch full of all the pillows from our first two collections. Quite dramatic and luxurious!

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