16 March 2008

Not your grandmother's wallpaper

I have had a raft of wallpaper news and events drift across my desk in the last couple of weeks. I know that sounds odd and I share a lot of peoples' preconceptions of the stuff. I hear wallpaper and my mind leaps to horrible magnolia borders in doctor's offices or that country crap that burns my eyes. Yuck! Look at it if you can.

The kind of wallpaper news and events I've been seeing are as far removed for the pastiche of sunflowers and herb jars (not to mention bow-wearing geese) as it's possible to get. Perhaps there's an opportunity here to call this new stuff something else. The term "wall treatments" gets bandied about but I think it sounds too fussy. Hey, why not refer to what I'm about to illustrate as wallpaper and garbage above as schlock? Hmmmm.

Anyhow, my beloved St. Petersburg Times ran a feature story on a Tampa wallpaper designer yesterday. Her name is Given Campbell and she's been getting a lot of press lately. I am crazy for her work. Crazy for it. She does both hand and machine-printed designs and to call her work beautiful only shows how limited our language is. Her stuff goes beyond beauty and distinction. Check out her website! http://givencampbell.com/default.aspx

A lot of her work uses the motif of a repeated letter. This pattern, called "Angelfish" is a series of repeated Ys

This pattern, called "Bamboo" is an arrangement of Capital Ts.

This safari-inspired design is a horizontal repetition of a lower case K.

This nearly Byzantine-looking paper is based on a capital Z.

She leaves behind the letter motifs easily and brings a fresh eye to the pop aesthetic of the mid-20th Century. This pattern is my new favorite thing in the world. My idolization of the glass tile mosaic might be coming to an end after having seen this stuff. Well, maybe not but it's still really cool.

This reminds me of a Pucci fabric circa 1968. I can see it in my bathroom already.

And if you can't resist a botanical print, here's a thoroughly modern one that will never grace the pages of "Country Living" magazine and for that we need to be eternally grateful.

I love this floral too. I can see the Eero Saarinen dining set already.

So wallpaper seems to be staging a comeback after a pretty long hiatus. The charge is being led by someone in Tampa Florida of all places.

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