An artist with a background in fashion styling and merchandising, it was almost inevitable that Kate Miller would one day transition into the role of designer. Launched this year, Kate’s first textile venture, elworthy studio, is an eco-conscious fabric and wallpaper company that highlights the beauty of urban decay. We love how the Kate’s debut Decay Collection draws inspiration from the raw energy of the urban world and explores patterns made with impressions of rusted objects. We’ve sat down with Kate to discuss her inspirations, favorite Instagram tastemakers, and what to expect next from elworthy studio.
CC: Tell us a little bit more about the story behind your company’s name.
KM: When I was growing up, my great grandmother, Ruth Florence Elworthy, was definitely the great female figure of my family. She had an incredibly loving presence and up until she passed away at age 95, she was so filled with energy and vitality. She always emphasized the importance of being connected to family, friends, and her community and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. I try to remember and follow her example every day. When I realized I wanted to start my own business, I knew that no matter what industry it was in that it would be named after her.
CC: Imagine a dream home that features wallpapers from your collection. Do you have any suggestions for room and pattern pairings?
KM: Wow, that’s a good question. I envision Blackish Magic in a minimalist bathroom with a clawfoot tub, lots of white, and brushed brass fixtures. Cascade would look great in a luxurious bedroom with an original wood floor, fireplace, and cozy seating area with a soft textured area rug. I personally prefer more open concept living, but for the sake of the question, Kaleido would work well in a dining room with The Future Perfect’s oiled walnut and brushed brass Overton dining table and a line of pendant lights. In the kitchen, Half Moon would pair well with a polished cement floor, and open reclaimed wood shelving displaying a collection of beautiful ceramics in earthy shades. Both Desert Alchemy and Sepia add nice warmth and would look fantastic in a living room with a teal velvet upholstered sofa, a couple of mismatched chairs, and a carved wood Moroccan side table. I’d add a couple throw pillows or perhaps an upholstered ottoman or floor cushion in another print from the collection.
CC: If you could see your collection featured anywhere, where would it be?
KM: I would love to work with a boutique hotel, using my wallpapers and fabrics for the lobby, lounge, restaurant and guest rooms.
CC: Favorite color?
KM: Earthy colors in general, but I seem to always gravitate towards blues. Teal and indigo are constants. Actually, I am currently working on second color ways of a few of the patterns from the Decay Collection in moody blue and grey tones!
CC: If you weren’t a textile designer, what would you be?
KM: I would still be in a creative role, such as an Art or Creative Director. I worked closely with the Creative Director in my previous job and enjoyed how the position enabled me to be involved in different creative aspects of the company.
CC: Who are some artists and tastemakers you admire?
KM: I’m so inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings and will actually be going to an art retreat at Ghost Ranch this spring. I love Joan Mitchell’s freedom and emotional expression, and Mark Rothko’s use of layering and color, but I especially admire and feel a connection with women like O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo and Anaïs Nin who are thought provoking and ahead of their time in their artistic practice.
CC: I know you’ve had the opportunity to travel pretty extensively. Where is next on your list?
KM: India and Morocco! Both have been on my list for a while, but after traveling so much (for work and leisure) while living in Shanghai, I was actually a bit burnt out on traveling. Never thought that would happen!
CC: Favorite people you’re following on Instagram right now?
KM: Local artist Heather Day (@heatherdayart), local artist/woodworker Aleksandra Zee (@aleksandrazee), Portland Macrame artist Emily Katz (@emily_katz), Los Angeles Interior Designer Amber Lewis (@amberinteriors), Homepolish (@homepolish), woven artist Mr. and Mrs. Charlie (@mrandmrscharlie) and blogger/photographer Emma Harris (@aquietstyle).
CC: What is on your nightstand?
KM: My bedside table always has a pile of books and I can’t seem to break the habit of reading more than one simultaneously! The stack currently includes Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves (which I’m re-reading), Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art, EM Forster’s A Room with a View, Rebecca Solnit’s The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness, and the latest issue of Kinfolk Magazine.
CC: Can you tell us a little about your next collection?
KM: Well, I am currently inspired by an exhibit I saw at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles called Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography that featured experimental photography created without a camera. I have played with cyanotypes in the past, and definitely want to look into incorporating this and other photographic processes into the next collection in conjunction with rust dyeing and hand-drawn elements.
CC: Any other design plans for the future?
KM: I would love to do a handbag collaboration featuring styles that are tailored specifically to the urban woman’s lifestyle, such as crossbody bags and backpacks. I think Sepia, Totem, and possibly Kaleido and Desert Alchemy could translate really well to handbags.