Sandy Chilewich is the founder and creative director of Chilewich Sultan LLC, a New York based company owned with her partner and husband Joe Sultan. Chilewich, the brand, is renowned worldwide for their modern reinterpretation of underutilized materials and manufacturing processes. Their textiles have transformed how people dress their tables at home and in restaurants around the globe, while their floor and wall coverings provide a clean contemporary alternative in the design community.
See what five things Sandy has on her mind:
Photo: Victor Schrager
1. The stuff that gets thrown away
I am always fascinated with the process and technique of how something is made – often more than with the finished product that is produced. The process does not need to be complex to inspire me. Walking through a manufacturing plant that is low tech so you can really see the insides and detail of how something is made is thrilling. The residue…the parts and pieces that are cut off…considered waste and thrown away are often very inspiring.
For example with our spun vinyl table runner (shown below), the selvedge from the edges and hardened pellets of color which are remnants of the production process are simply gorgeous.
Photo: Ippodo Gallery
2. Maeda Masahiro
I discovered this Japanese ceramacist at a show at the New York Amory. I have learned that he uses ancient glazing and decorative techniques. I am a novice about the technical challenges and skills of achieving this effect. What attracted me were the textile like surfaces and his juxtipositions of very slight variations of texture and color were exquisite. I bought the smallest least expensive piece and will cherish it.
Photo from the “Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting” show book
3. Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting
This was the name of a show at the Museum of Arts and Design in 2007. I would give a lot to walk that show again. However I do have the book from the show and I look through it often. As with so much of craft for me… the techniques are often more interesting than the finished products. There is always so much creativity and originality which is admirable but often I am disappointed in the aesthetic. Of course this is so subjective. This exhibition for me unlike other craft oriented shows had so much work where it just all came together.
This picture is the work of Anne Wilson, one of the exhibitors at the show.
Photo: Victor Schrager
I have rocks and shells from beaches all over the world. I know that these particular ones came from Maine…. they are unlike any I have seen before. It sounds obvious and trite perhaps but the colors in nature astound me. It is the endless shades of colors within a palette that thrills me. I can play with rocks and shells… reconfiguring them in different combinations… looking at the effects of the proximity of one shade next to another for hours…
Photo: The World of Interiors (October 2011)/the Paris apartment of Florence Lopez
5. The World of Interiors
I love looking at residential interiors and my absolute favorite pictures are always in this British magazine. While I respect a wide range of styles and periods, often the choices are formulaic and while tasteful and soothing they lack artistry and personal expression. This magazine always shows at least some interiors that I have never even imagined before. This room reflects an individual and unique aesthetic which can never be duplicated… kind of that persons design DNA.
Sandy Chilewich portrait by Victor Schrager.