Textile designer and artist Alicia Chimento is an active member of our Textile Design Lab community and it is our great honor to share her work with you today. Don’t her brightly colored textures just bring a smile to your face? Read on to learn more about Alicia’s fascinating design background, from her start as a textile designer in the pre-digital era, to her current project–launching a line of colorful pillows.
“If there is one thing that I am passionate about in designing textile prints and patterns, it’s color. As an abstract painter, color is the thing that always set me free to explore shape and pattern best. I’m finding now that the same technique/process applies to the way my patterns develop. I love going back to my paintings, pulling parts of them into Photoshop, then playing around with the shapes and textures to create a new design! The possibilities are endless.
Born in Hoboken and raised in northern New Jersey my love affair with color began as a child. . . playing with Colorforms was an obsession! After college and while working in design showrooms as an assistant buyer, I decided to study fabric design and enrolled in evening classes at Parsons School of Design. Working freelance while studying, I had the opportunity to create prints for Scalamandre at Three Worlds Design, a NY Home Furnishings Design Studio. As a young freelance textile designer in the city in the late 70’s, (at a time when everything was still only done by hand) working on smooth rice paper, applying dye with a french quill, and seeing how one shape affected another helped me to develop a process of letting a design unfold in a spontaneous way. Fast forward 30 years, (and a wonderfully creative period of raising 3 daughters in between), learning how to use digital media to create was an whole new challenge and experience. . . . I’m still learning so much about that! But life is truly a circle, and going back to hand painting in my sketchbook as a basis for design is still also a very important part of my process.
The line of pillows I’m developing just seemed like a very natural extension of my love for comfort and beauty in the home. Sewing and quilting was a way I could use all the fabulous fabrics in my own way to create beautiful things for myself and my family. I remember watercoloring sheets of tulle in fabulous colors, cutting out random shapes of those colors and hand sewing a landscape on a large square of muslin. Hawaiian quilting was exciting because the designs were so fresh, stylized and botanical.
I love it when my designs can reflect the colors and textures of the things I see in the natural world, especially the elements of the sea and sky, and the organic shapes of the garden/earth. Bringing those elements into the home through paintings or fabrics keeps the connection between inside and outside alive. That I can use my own designs now on fabric is something I would have never thought possible!
My paintings have been exhibited in regional, national and museum juried shows and galleries in New England, New Jersey and New York, and are in private collections throughout the country. I live in NJ and paint and design from my studio there, and on Cape Cod, MA, overlooking the bay.”