Perfectly Imperfect Applications of Artisans’ Hands

Sarah Schwartz and Ruby Geisler won’t let a little thing like geography get in the way of excellence in wallpaper design.

Though they attended school together in Berkeley, they’re now separated by most of California: Geisler’s in San Diego and Schwartz is in the Bay Area.

And their artisans are in Mumbai.

“They’ve been trained in it for centuries – block printing has been around for hundreds of years, so those artisans have patience and skills,” Schwartz says. “It’s traditional there in Mumbai.”

The Californians send the artisans a drawing, and they carve it onto blocks that are six to seven inches square. Then they print it in patterns onto acrylic-coated paper.

The size of the blocks offers limitations, to be sure, but the designers use that to their advantage. “You can’t design large patters, so they’re simple, but that’s part of our style anyway,” she says. “We’re into handmade nuances, with the artisans’ style imperfections.”

Now, the Sarah and Ruby Design Studio has introduced new blue colorways for its Hand Block Printed line of residential wallpaper, for modern motifs in a rich, confident color palette. They cover the waterfront (and the heavens) with a deep azure blue and soft sky blue, offered in four patterns.

So why blue? “We’re in California and this reflects the energy of California,” she says. “We’ve done wave patterns and sunshine rays and surfboards, because we spend a lot of time outdoors and the blues with most people – the sky and water – gives them a sense of tranquility.”

Originally, the pair thought of the patterns as most appropriate for a modern look in living rooms and bedrooms – and for a feature wall. Then they realized how good it can look when paired with the more traditional. “It’s amazing – it’s really exceptional when paired with wood furniture,” she says.

So what’s different about it? “It’s a bold, simple pattern with a rich color palette,” she says. “It’s completely handmade and a way to emphasize perfectly imperfect applications of the artisan’s hand.”

And it’s a global product – from San Francisco, San Diego and India.

For more, go here.

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