Image Above: Annie (on right) co owner and creative director, and Adriana (on left) photoshop wizard/graphic designer.
Introducing … Annie Bradbrook
When we began our design company, based on the love-at-first-sight-blind-inspiration that knocked us over when we were first shown micro-images of metal, Imagine Studios Inc. literally, was the perfect fit. Today our company has grown in many directions from these metal microstructure origins and their images. As it became more of a personal thumbprint, our brand name needed to reflect this. The story of how we arrived at the name, Annie Bradbrook, is a good one, as far as family lore (love, scandal, exile, against-all-odds happy endings) goes. In the paragraphs below I have done my best to try and capture the tale of my great-grandfather, William Bradbrook.
We are just over the moon in cartwheel town about the exciting things planned for our new chapter. We will be adding new designs and colorways in the months ahead. In March, we will be moving west with new representation: Wall Tawk in Denver, Colorado and online showroom, Bellvine, based in California. They will be joining our incredible east coast force: Owen Design Lines, Karen Saks Showroom, House of Whitney Studio, and Designer\’s Market of Richmond . What hasn’t changed is our love for, and commitment to sustainable design, and, of course, all things animal and planet-friendly. We are so grateful to all of you who have been a part of this journey with us, and excited to have you along for our creative adventures ahead.
The Story of:
Our new brand-name celebrates the heroism of Annie Laurie and Emma Bradbrook, two women in my family history.
Image Above: Annie Laurie and her child from her second family in New Zealand
Image Above (right): Emma Bradbrook
Image Above (left to right): Annie Laurie, Dorrie Bradbrok, William Bradbrook, and Augusta Lucy
This story of my great grandfather, William Bradbrook, begins in England in the Late 1800s. Not unlike many family histories, time has faded much of the tapestry, but a few beautiful threads remain, and will never fade. This is what we know: Annie Laurie, aged 17, fell in love with a young boy, well above her social station. The two lovers knew a marriage would not be approved, so they created a circumstance, hoping it would force a change in parent perspective. With a child on the way, they felt confident their union would be accepted. This backfired spectacularly: Annie was disowned by her family almost instantly. In an effort to preserve the family’s reputation, the baby was given up for adoption, and Annie was put on a wind-jammer, bound for New Zealand.
All evidence of the affair was finally eradicated with the help of Emma. Emma, a young woman close in age to Annie and employed as a nurse/nanny by Annie’s family, agreed to raise William as her own. She and her husband had just lost their first child at birth and were ecstatic to have this baby boy. William was then given Emma’s last name, Bradbrook. In his 20s, William Bradbrook learned the story of his adoption and the fate of his birth mother. He began a search to try and find her and sent an advertisement to a newspaper in New Zealand. By some small miracle, Annie saw the ad., replied, and with a passage prepaid by William, sailed back to England to be reunited with her son.
Image above: notes from my grandmother, Dorrie
Huge hugs and thank yous to Big Tree for creating this beautiful logo and to help get our story lifted off the ground, and to team Twenty2 for your partnership and as kindred spirits in sustainable design.
Metal micro structure images of titanium and copper were combined to create Maxine. Initially, the white crystal forms in titanium dominated the pattern (in all fairness, titanium is the stuff found in shooting stars). So we began the process of removing these cloudy white layers, giving way to interesting shapes of oranges, golds and blues.
When defined silhouettes appeared, we tuned in, because this is when the design will usually \’tell\’ us what it wants to be. (In any given pattern at least 60-100% is left as mother nature would have intended had she pursued a career in digital pattern making.)
In Maxine\’s case, elephants were beckoning. The constellation of orange chips was enough for us to \’Galleleo\’ a floppy ear, body and trunk (phase 2). Similarly, the cluster of orange nearby needed just a little nudge to become a lotus ( final edit).
Defining the diamond shape beneath the lotus, is a \’pearl\’ (created from a micro image of copper) we borrowed from our wall covering design of the same name (image left). This one in the blue and white color way, Abalone.
After clearing away (many) more layers of white and debris, a lattice pattern, \’temple,\’ \’eyes,\’ and butterflies were discovered (final edit). No artistry on our part can take credit for these things. This is simply nature under our noses, the magic we know is there but cannot see.
(final edit version)
Fabric: Linen Cotton Content: 55% Linen/45% Cotton Weight: 7.7/yd2 Repeat: 6.75″ h X 7.8″ v Width: 55”
Fabric: Linen Cotton Content: 55% Linen/45% Cotton Weight: 7.7/yd2 Repeat: 6.75″ h X 7.8″ v Width: 55”
Joining Maxine are two of Imagine Studios Inc.\’s favorites:
Glass (Lapis) and Rain (Clearwater) are now also available in linen-cotton blend.
Our wall coverings design, Glass, in the color way, Lapis makes it\’s debut on linen-cotton.
It is always fun finding the names for our designs and color ways, but this one was also easy.
\’Maxine\’ is the name of my cousin, who lived a remarkable life that ended before her 45th birthday. She was compassionate, synonymous with fun and “cheek,” creative, pure of heart and loved by all who knew her.
But beyond being a fabulous human, chef, and London Michelin Star restaurant manager. her indelible mark will forever be her laughter, love of togetherness, and passion for animal advocacy – in particular, elephants. Protecting this species was her passion.
It is with a joyful heart that I honor both her memory and legacy in naming our new jubilant design and first textile after her.
This age-old perennial favorite now has even more reasons to fall in love with it.
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons for the resurgence of grasscloth is that the \’high maintenance\’ perception synonymous with this material is slowly eroding. Advances in ventilation and climate control have cleared the way for grasscloth to brazenly show up in spaces once unheard of – This magical wall covering is now a viable option for most modern kitchens and bathrooms. The alchemy of grasscloth-meets-shiny never disappoints, and there are plenty of opportunities for this to happen in both of these spaces.
Monochrome no more, the possibilities for pattern on grasscloth are about limitless as you\’ll find most on demand wall covering companies can print their designs on this natural material. The combined effect of the grasscloth texture and repeating pattern can be substantial enough on a wall to eliminate the need for additional artwork. (In most cases the design scale will be adjusted to accommodate the added width of a grasscloth roll, typically 36″ vs. 24″- 30″ traditional wall paper.)
In newer homes and remodels, grasscloth provides instant patina and warmth not easily achieved through paint or traditional wallpaper alone. But what can never be communicated in even the best photographs of grasscloth installations, however, is beyond its natural visual opulence, is the appeal it has to the sense of smell.
Natural grasscloth not only has zero levels of VOC’s, but the organic fibers inherent to this product provide a pleasing scent to your space, adding a quality and dimension only nature can take credit for. In addition, many – if not most – natural grasscloth wall coverings are 100% biodegradable, making it an LEED dream.
Grasscloth from left to right: Glass/Citrine, Carousel/Nautilus, and Glass/Pale Mason
Imagine Studios Inc.’s Glass design in the colorway, Lapis, printed on grasscloth
Grasscloth. A celebration of imperfection.
You won’t find a picture of grasscloth in the dictionary next to the word, \’practical.\’
While grasscloth can transform any room into something special, it is worth reviewing the limitations inherent to a 100% natural, extremely absorbent (you cannot easily wipe it clean) substrate. Traditional grasscloth remains a strong but delicate product that commands respect.
For starters, it is unlikely your grasscloth wall will fully recover from splashes, bumps, dings and (warning: cats love it) scratches, so best to avoid placing it below a chair rail in the entryway, bathroom, or any other moderately trafficked place. Most natural grasscloth wallpaper can only be lightly dusted or vacuumed, so do not install grasscloth any place where you would normally employ a sponge to clean.
The epitome of ‘Organic Design.’
Slight, natural variations, uneven shade, and striations in grasscloth wallpaper are a given. It is not always subtle when it comes to visible seams which, you can expect to see every 30-36 inches. And like most textiles, it will fade if overexposed to sunlight.
It is also fair to say that grasscloth can be pretty bossy (downright unforgiving) to work with. As grasscloth is never the least expensive option, mistakes mean money. It is better to avoid this steep learning curve and leave the installation in the hands of a professional.
As with any natural material, or bespoke order, you’ll never regret adding additional yardage to account for potential grasscloth snafus or consistency with the dye lot.
Grasscloth wall covering from bottom to top: Glass/Lapis, Glass/Citrine, Glass/Pale Mason
Grasscloth is beautiful, warm, and a sensory gem. It is one of the few materials that is at once fresh, modern and timeless, and often plays a major part or supporting role in the spaces we find most memorable.
While it is true that grasscloth can be a challenge to maintain, 21st century improvements in ventilation, humidity control, and digital printing have opened up new worlds of possibilities for this material. Now, more spaces than ever are giving grasscloth its day in the sun.
It would seem that once you commit to grasscloth and are willing to respect its limitations, this fabulous wall covering will love you back tenfold.
Grasscloth wall covering in our design \’Glass\’ in the color \’Citrine\’
Did you know?
Annie holding up grasscloth of the design Glass, in the color way, Lapis
It was love at first sight when we saw the micro universe of metal. I knew what we were looking at deserved a stage. We started experimenting with pattern and fine art techniques and LO ! Our first wallpaper collection was born. View our grasscloth and wall covering collection here. For all of our six patterns, we let the image take the lead, and from there added shape and pattern to highlight the story the material wanted to tell.
We think of ourselves as excavators as much as artists when we work with micro images as our primary medium. One of our designs, Carousel, seemed to take this excavation exercise to the next level. This pattern, brought into existence through artistically cultivated micro shots of pearlitic steel, literally unfolded into our most jubilant design, hosting a menagerie of 27 creatures including a dragonfly, turtle, and seahorse.
Original Micro Image (left) “Carousel” after excavation (right)
The evolution of this pattern required some thinking – the way you look at clouds and make your best guess as to what they are. Some of the more nebulous shapes were encouraged into the animal likeness you see now, but others, like the dog required no further alterations at all.
We spent a lot of time pruning each of these 27 creatures into being, and became quite fond of them individually in the process. There were a few that were not included in the Carousel wallcovering design. We knew they were special enough to shine on their own. Instead, they became leading characters of our first animal print collection. Each animal is printed on fine art archival Hahnemule paper. View the entire animal print collection here.
Did you know?
(left) Annie Lacy, founder and artistic director of Imagine Studios Inc. (right) Adriana Rossi, designer at Imagine Studios Inc.