What does Leigh Forsstrom love most about designing hospitality fabrics? “Textiles are a great way to brighten up a space that weary travelers, nursing home residents, or hospital patients might be using.” Leigh’s prints certainly cheer us up every time we see them! Meet Leigh in this installment of our Featured Artist series!

Where do you live?

I’ve lived in Brooklyn since 2008, but I currently have a bit of a wandering eye…

When did you begin designing textiles? What inspired you to get started?

Although I loved knitting, quilting and embroidery, when I got to art school a textiles degree wasn’t even on my radar. I was doing a lot of heavily patterned drawings, and one of my teachers suggested that I consider going into the textiles program. Now it seems so obviously a part of who I am, I can’t believe I almost missed it.

Where do you seek inspiration for new designs?

I like to look at other craft mediums for inspiration for my textile designs. Ceramics, metals, and traditional printmaking techniques all have genius ways to solve design problems. I see an idea about layering, texture or color that I like, apply it to a more traditional textiles pattern, say a damask or a floral, and then I render it in my own hand. I feel like the mix makes something that’s truly mine while still being rooted in tradition.


Where do you like to imagine your fabrics being used?

The patterns I’ve been designing for WeaveUp have a strong hospitality or contract bent. I love the idea of creating patterns that lots of people can relate to, while still being different than what you’d expect. I also think textiles are a great way to brighten up a space that weary travelers, nursing home residents, or hospital patients might be using.

Tell us about your creative process. 

After I have an idea for a pattern, I do a lot of gouache drawings and collages, but for more geometric patterns, I head straight to the computer. Either way, I’ll do a rough layout of a pattern, repeat it out over a larger canvas, and then draw over it with a Wacom tablet so there’s variation among all the motifs.

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How do you incorporate textiles into your home?

My portfolio is my living room. I’m always taking home cast-off samples and turning them into pillows or curtains. I can’t sit still in the evening, so I make a lot of quilts and afghans, some as gifts, but a lot of them are scattered around my apartment.

Do you have a favorite textile treasure?

I have a beautiful sea foam to hunter green ombre blanket that my grandmother knitted for me.

Favorite color combination?

Impossible to say. I love color.


What other artists and designers have inspired you and your work?

Some heroes that I’ve been looking to recently are Polly Apfelbaum, Sam Francis, Richard Tuttle.

Thanks for chatting with us, Leigh!  Be sure to follow Leigh here on WeaveUp, and shop her designs here.  You can shop her ceramic creations and other work here.

Shop Leigh Forsstrom