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Publication Date: 2012-07-09

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The Fabulous Fabrics of Suzanne Tucker

Suzanne Tucker, one-half of the San Francisco-based design firm Tucker & Marks and the founder of a line of decorative textiles that bears her name, sat down recently with Dering Hall to discuss her new fabrics, her inspiration and what’s next. Her fabric line, Suzanne Tucker Home, is available through her Dering Hall storefront.

Q. Texture is an important part of fabrics. What textures do you think are the best, and which ones do you stay away from?

A. Besides the design aesthetic, I’m an absolute perfectionist (ok, extremely fussy!) when it comes to the hand and quality of fabrics. I work with mills all over the world to offer the best possible quality and craftsmanship, and I am specifically drawn to truly handcrafted fabrics. For example, the ikat effect in Jakarta is achieved by the traditional process of hand-tying the yarns, carefully dying them, and then weaving with great precision and care. It takes one day to weave four meters of this special fabric! I tend to stay away from fabrics with a high content of manmade fiber, although they do have their place when there’s a commercial need for durability and cost issues.

Q. You have a broad array of fabrics. Where do you find inspiration?
A. My textile passion is constantly fed by my global travels (hint: I came back from Turkey last year with a head full of ideas, and from Marrakech last month with even more ideas…. and I am heading off to France this summer which will undoubtedly offer up even more inspiration!). But I can also find inspiration in the simplest of things: when hiking the other day, the bark on one of the beautiful California oak trees inspired a pattern and color palette, which I am in the process of exploring for development.

Q. What color palettes are you drawn to lately?
A. I am working on the perfect pink right now, but I am always drawn to warm golden hues, dark chocolates, fresh greens, saturated and clear blues and all shades of spice: cinnamon, curry, paprika, saffron… I love working and experimenting with color. It is a tremendously important aspect in my work both for textiles and interiors. I believe color is going to make a big comeback in home furnishings and textiles, as the consumer is asking for more and more color these days.

Q. What importance do fabrics play when designing a room. How can they add to it?
A. Textiles are absolutely crucial in interior design, as they add the tactile quality of a room, an element of texture, color and craftsmanship, and are therefore the perfect way to express the client’s personality. Textiles allow a designer to inject intriguing visual details, surprise elements, dressmaker’s details and complex layering of color and pattern – these are the nuanced subtleties and sophisticated ingredients of the design recipe that make a room and a house unique and individual. It certainly separates high-end designers from do-it-yourselfers.

Q. When you approach designing a room, where and when do fabrics come in?
A. From the very beginning, I give my clients what I call the textile “Rorschach test.” Their responses tell me volumes about their taste in color, light, texture, levels of formality and direction for a room.

Q. What’s the most unusual or unexpected way that you’ve seen fabric used?
A. I just designed a custom-made slipcover for a home office printer….made of Fortuny no less! But one must coordinate with the rest of the room after all.

Q. You’re based in such a vibrant and unique city. What are some of your favorite local places?
A. The farmers’ market at the beautiful Ferry Building, the Legion of Honor for the most staggeringly beautiful location of any museum in the world, hiking in the Marin headlands, and the daily drive across the Golden Gate bridge which never ceases to take my breath away…

Q. What’s on the horizon of Suzanne Tucker home?
A. Some very exciting projects lay ahead of us: we launched my first table top collection – the San Marco collection – for Royal Limoges. I am off to Limoges this summer to work on further designs. We are embarking on a collaboration with Val St Lambert, the Belgian manufacturer of fine crystal since 1826. We have expanded our network of showrooms and representatives for the Suzanne Tucker Home textiles to now also include San Diego, Hawaii, Denver and Seattle. Finally, I am working on a second book, scheduled for publication in the fall of 2013. All are projects I am very excited about!

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