BEAUTY AND ELEGANCE : HANDWOVEN SILK FABRICS FROM CAROL CASSIDY

I love the discovery of fabulous design source that nobody else  knows about …some source that is so far off the beaten path that you have to know somebody who knows somebody who is in touch with somebody , etc….I think you get the picture. Quite accidentally, while meeting with a potential client in Los Angeles, who had a project for me in New York City, I got introduced to the elegant handwoven silk fabrics designed and produced in Laos by Carol Cassidy. When I saw them I knew that I had to find a way to start including them in my design work…they were really precious silk jewels executed in brilliant colors and patterns that immediately appealed to my dezign sense.

These are the real McCoy….AND Cassidy is an incomparable weaver of luxurious textiles. Cassidy came to Vientiane, Laos in 1989 as an American UN worker.  At that time, she saw an opportunity to start a business using her talents as a weaver in a country with a great tradition in weaving. Her company operates out of old French villa…France, you might remember, created Laos  when it created Indochina in 1893…and Lao Textiles, the name of her company, is one of the  success stories coming out of that country today.

Cassidy, who studied weaving at the University of Michigan and the University of Helsinki in Finland, has 32 weavers operating hand looms and produces “one of a kind” pieces for the the high end foreign interior design market. Her scarves, curtains, pillows, wall hangings, and much more are sold in upscale stores and museums and commissioned not only by designers from Hollywood to New York City, but by royalty as well. Her choices of colors are luxurious, and the patterns exquisite, and the hand craftsmanship exceptional by today’s standards.

The history behind the weaving industry in Laos, is that intricately woven silk fabrics were status symbols for the dead.  A woman would often weave a skirt in preparation for her own funeral. Parents believed clothing acted like ” lucky charms” and had significant power over newborns, often  wrapping their babies in fabrics that took several weeks to create and weave. Cassidy’s reinvention of this industry has served to rescue a cultural heritage that would have long ago been forgotten.

One of my favorite ways to incorporate Cassidy’s silk woven fabrics into my interiors is to use them as table top.  The runners are simply beautiful by themselves as finishing touches for dining room tables. When serving dinner to company simply add the coordinating napkins and  place mats  from Cassidy’s fabrics and your own dinnerware and  voila you have created an elegant and inviting table for your guests.  The choices in patterns are unlimited.

Or you can do what I did last time I met with Cassidy in my office. Select a few different patterns and create your own original silk pillows and throws.  Here are some of the patterns I looked at…one is more attractive than the next:

Chose two of them for gorgeous pillows I wanted to make for a client’s living room sofa. Truth be told, I had trouble parting with them as they also made unbelievable stunning shawls, and the temptation to keep them for myself was big time!

Want to leave you with Cassidy’s contact person here in the USA.  Her name is Mary Herne and she is  a bevy of knowledge about Cassidy and her work, and is totally passionate about the fabrics., as I assure you will be after your first purchase!

CIAO CIAO ‘TIL NEXT TIME!