How We Design: Coffee Berry

coffee image
As a Seattle native with 100% Swedish heritage, I have always enjoyed a strong cup of coffee. For years I wanted to design a collection inspired by America's (and my) favorite drink, and when I found a mill's yarn bank with textured yarns in a rich palette of browns, I was able to begin the project. House Blend was inspired by the burlap sacks used to hold the freshly picked beans. Origins is reminiscent of the equatorial countries' handcrafted textiles. I needed a third pattern to complete the story.

coffee image

I was searching through old college sketchbooks and came across an image I had made in Art/Design 101 at the University of Washington in 1966. Our assignment had been to create an image that could be used in many different applications (bookbinding paper, lithography, oil painting, metal bracelet etc.). I created this seedpod cutout using black construction paper.

When I found the artwork forty years later, it was exactly what I was looking for. Like my pattern, coffee berries grow directly out of the branches, and the split seedpod imagery matched the true shape of a real coffee berry.

I gave the single cutout to our mill and asked that it be put into repeat. We checked and rechecked for repeat marks and after a few tries, the pattern was approved. coffee image

coffee image coffee image
As with every fabric development, we made a blanket to find the color line. Subtle differences in colorways were examined to find the right balance of colors and light to dark.

I wanted a color palette that complemented the earthy browns of House Blend and Origins, and one that had a strong modern graphic quality. We added Crypton technology to give it high performance cleanability. How appropriate for a fabric named Coffee Berry!

The moral of the story: Like your mother always said, Never throw anything (especially your artwork) away! coffee image