It's hard to spend 15 minutes on Pinterest nowadays without stumbling upon a beautiful pillow or wallpaper by Rhode Island School of Design graduate Rebecca Atwood -- and for good reason. This Brooklyn-based creative has built up a following with her "luxurious yet simple" textile lines influenced by her New England childhood and recent years in the Big Apple. She draws much inspiration for her intriguing patterns from nature as well as prints she comes across on furniture at flea markets. Read on to learn about the path she took to get here, recent developments for her business and insight into her favorite artists and products at the moment.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a painter like Van Gogh and Monet. I had these books about famous artists that had photographs of their paintings as well as kid friendly illustrations of the artists. My parents really encouraged my interests from a young age and I have always loved to paint.
Can you share a bit about the path you took to get to where you are now?
I studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design and then became interested in textiles. As I graduated I realized textiles was a path where I could create artwork on a daily basis and get a paycheck. Looking back now though I see that I was always interested in creating environments, and I love that I make pieces people use in their daily lives. I ended up beginning my career at Anthropologie. That was my training ground. I was allowed to work on designs for everything from dishtowels, aprons, and bowls, to duvets, curtains, and even candle packaging. I learned to design product, brief it for production overseas, and a general understanding of how a bigger retailer worked. From there I moved to New York and worked primarily for a small design consultancy company where I created private label programs for all levels of the market. I also consulted on trends for WGSN and additional retailers. It was a great experience as I learned so much about the market, how different retailers worked, and I traveled overseas to work on sampling and ensuring production was being completed as it should. When I left my job to start my own line, I was driven by a desire to do things differently. I wanted to create product that I truly believed in, but also to control how and where that product was being made. I started with just sixty pillows that I hand painted, printed, and dyed myself and had sewn in the garment district and that’s where it all started! It’s been quite a ride since then.
Where do you find inspiration and how do you stay inspired?
I find inspiration everywhere! I find inspiration in the daily moments of how we live and thinking about how my customers live. I find it in my daily life walking around the city, the shadows on the sidewalk, a beautiful blush color against a rusted metal, or a woman’s floral dress reflected in a glass building. I also draw a lot from my childhood growing up on Cape Cod as well. The shifting light and calm coastal palette, as well as the natural textures.
I stay inspired by allowing myself time to recuperate and stay fresh. It’s so important to allow time to relax as otherwise you just can’t be inspired in the same way. I also make time to just play and experiment in my sketchbook without pressure. That’s when my best ideas come out.
What do you aspire to for your business (short and/or long term)? What goals do you have for your business?
I aspire to keep growing and keep inspiring our customers. Short term you'll see the release of my book in August called Living with Pattern, which is all about how to use pattern in your home. I'm very excited about this. Next year we'll be getting into wovens, expanding our wallpaper collection and so much more.