I’ve been a fan of textile designer Lori Weitzner for a long time now. Her designs feel personal, and more interesting than many other textiles I often see. Her work is inspired, and inspiring when designing spaces. I was thrilled when I was invited to her Weitzner Limited, along with Sarah Sarna, to meet Lori and hear her story. We got a first hand look at her latest collection and were able to look through her creative space. We got along famously, I even feel like we became friends! Lori is one of the sweetest people I’ve met in a long time, and her charming personality shines through her work. Today, Lori is answering a few questions for us, so you can get to know her like I did.
When we met you told us a wonderful story about your career journey and how it’s lead you to Weitzner Studio. Can you share this with the readers?
My professor asked what I was going to do to make a living and I said “paint”. While he didn’t want to discourage my passion, he suggested that textile design might help me embrace the things I love and offer a way to truly make a living. I never looked back! He was right, it was perfect for me because of my interest in color and composition. Early in my career, I lived in Italy and Switzerland and designed for the European editors and mills. After several years, getting homesick and not falling in love with the Italian, I came home and set up my studio to design an array of things including packaging, dinnerware, rugs, and of course textiles. The first big break was with Jack Lenor Larsen which lasted 6 years. Then I spent 12 years with Sahco, where I learned so much about the international market. I started my wallcovering company, Weitzner 8 years ago and now have my own textile line. Slowly but surely it has grown over the years. I am grateful for it all.
Your textiles, and now trims, are so whimsical and artistic. How do you translate your creative thoughts into products you can install into homes?
We work in a variety of ways. We create patterns based on concepts inspired by various themes. Everyone draws and paints in the studio and we work with many techniques–from photography to potato prints! We also are constantly looking at new and innovative materials or ways to use existing materials in new ways. And we are constantly looking at the kind of structure or weave or dimension of various processes– on how to best create the product. These three steps along with color, for the most part, construct what we do.
Many of your textiles are made from natural fibers found all over the world, like the Philippines. Do you design with those fibers in mind, or do you see the fibers and then create a pattern around the fibers?
It is sometimes the material that drives the design, and other times it is the design driving the material. It goes both ways.
When we visited your studio I was inspired by your space. It feels like your studio is set up to maximize creativity, and your designs are not dictated by the business of selling. Can you walk us through a day in your studio and your creative process?
We created what we like to call “the white box sanctuary”. The craziness of life, the city and daily challenges all diffuse once we enter the space. Steady north light and the white back drop offer a resting place for our eyes as we go through our day working with color and pattern.
How do you stay inspired if you’re having a bad day?
Being creative actually heals me from the bad day. It works like medicine for me. If I am tired or cranky, depressed or sad…immersing myself in my colorwork or design challenges takes me to a place inside me where the negative things just fade away. I am very lucky to have this, but I suppose it is similar to meditation or sports.
What’s next for you and Weitzner Studio?
We are continuing to grow Weitzner textiles and wallcoverings as well as passementerie for Samuel and Sons. I also want to design some other products again like rugs, dinnerware, bedding, accessories, perhaps lighting. But at the top of my list is a book I have begun to work on that helps readers tap into their own creativity.