Last fall The Lawns launched their first collection of woven fabrics. When our sample and display package arrived in the showroom, I noticed our office buzzing in adoration of the fresh color palette. An immediate favorite amongst the Temple team was the conveniently reversible Snag Stripe fabric! We recently had a quick chat with Jess Murphy, the creative mastermind behind The Lawns, to learn a bit more about what drives her inspiration, color direction, and pattern naming process. Here's a look into the colorful and creative world of The Lawns.
Jess Murphy of The Lawns in her studio.
One of Jess' favorite Greenpoint spots is Fin Du Monde for dinner.
Your studio is in Greenpoint. I've always loved that neighborhood because it still feels like a hidden gem. Do you have any favorite local spots?
Hard to pick favorites but I love Fin Du Monde for dinner and a glass of wine, Edy's Grocer, a Lebanese market / deli is my lunch spot while I'm at the studio. Twins Lounge is a go-to for our Martini Club, The Lot is the quintessential sunny day meet up spot, Cafe Alula for the best tuna melt, bar none. Bernie's is where I'll take all my out-of-town guests, and Achilles Heel is a cozy date spot. Greenpoint has the best vintage shopping as well – Proprietors, Seven Wonders, and Dobbin St. are all great.
How does your neighborhood figure into your work or your daily routine?
I live in Williamsburg and work in Greenpoint, so I’m a bit of a north Brooklyn house cat. I spend a lot of time with my dog, Olive, seeking open spaces around the neighborhood for her to rip around. She keeps me outside a good amount, and the outdoors has always fueled my work. I'm most inspired by the impressions left by natural elements. You'll find the effects of water in Desi or Tenbay, the haze of a late summer sun in Moonray, nature's camouflage in Ōme or Lush, or the wild, kinetic energy of fauna dancing across La Poursuite or Uroboros.
Swatches of Moonray Fabric
We love your performance fabrics! Can you tell us more about the process of creating the reversible Snag Stripe?
Oh man...Snag...This was a challenging process. I put a lot of demands on this fabric. The concept for the design came from this idea someone planted in my head about stripes being "too hard to upholster." I have no idea if that's true, but it got me thinking about inherent flaws, and wear and tear. It made me want to make a fool proof stripe that built those accidents right into the structure. A wobbly stripe, with the illusion of single yarns pulling horizontally across the fabric, or, "snags."
Truly my Goldilocks moment. Three layers – not too heavy! Reversible – bold color combinations on both face and reverse, contract grade and PFAS free – non-toxic performance / engineered sturdy enough on both sides, and last but not least, woven with recycled materials – but nothing stiff or scratchy.
Being reversible, this fabric allows eight unique colorways between four fabrics. I'm a big believer that more product is not better. But a product that offers more usually is.
Painting the Snag Stripe fabric stripes (above) and a look at the color development process (below).
Your fabrics and wallpapers all have such fun names. What is the naming process like for you?
I'm mostly drawn to names that carry double meanings. My Hounds Way fabric is both a nod to the traditional houndstooth design, but also Jacqueline Novak's show, Get On Your Knees, which I had recently seen. I won't spoil, but, is one of the endless LOL moments of the show.
The Lush collection colors are all named after cocktails - Dirty Martini, Whiskey Sour, and Negroni. How did you land on those names and what is your drink of choice?
Lush could describe the design's rich vegetation, but the fabric also reminded me of something I'd see in a chic, sunken living room in Mad Men. They were always drinking in that show so, Lush just clicked. Of course, then the colorways had to be drinks! It was a happy accident that the three lent themselves to my favorite cocktails. As for my favorite cocktail, it’s a toss up between a Dirty Martini and Mezcal Negroni.
You have such a strong sense of color, how do you decide which direction to go with color?
Mostly, I let the artwork dictate the palette. It's that discovery process that ultimately shapes the final colorways. I have become obsessed with color relationships. I anthropomorphize color. If I'm going to do a Blue, it has to be enigmatic. That blue's going to like, recite poetry and have weird friends and make you look really close and realize, wait! That blue is a green! If a colorway surprises me, I'll likely go for it.
A whimsical vignette Jess created, showing the process of design from inspiration to final product.
I love this photo (above). It's so playful but it also shows the different components that go into your work. What is the story behind it??
A real "how it started / how it's going" situation! This was taken at Shoppe Object last year where I set up a replica of my studio. I wanted to show the process of a design from inspiration to final product. Yes, most people will probably opt to upholster, say, a chair, but I didn't want to rule out a cup of coffee ;)
This collection is all about unconventional twists on classic motifs. When I launched it, it was featured alongside my Prospect Park Mural which has lots of humorous moments throughout. I thought upholstering things-not-traditionally-upholstered would complement those whimsical vignettes, make people smile, and be a reminder that these are not just products, but an art form.
An install view of the Prospect Park Sunset Mural Wallpaper.
Shop The Lawns