I attended Otis Art Institute in the days when the great, classical teachers were there. Mike Kanemitzu made a huge impression on me with his statement: "If there is a crack in the pot, fill it with gold." I fill everything with gold.
My hand-painted fabric designs came from ideas in my paintings. I used different viscosities and types of paint and pigment that do not mix. I learned how to stop the flow exactly where I wanted it, and therefore could copy myself, creating a repeat in the fabric every so many feet.
The 1980's and early 1990's were heady years. Now, most of this type of painting is done by computers. But in those days, it was all personal, and showed the touch and brushwork of the artist. I can look at a piece of fabric that came out of Susan Weinberg and Associates, and remember exactly who painted it, what it was painted for, and when it was painted. We had at least 35 orders sitting on the table at all times, and employed l3 artists.
During the 1980's when "indulgence" was the by-word in Interior Design , a company was created to showcase and market my fabrics. I was known as the "Mariano Fortuny" of contemporary fabrics. We had a beautiful, national company, that did work for corporate clients, designers, celebrities, institutions, ships and airplanes, hotels, and even royalty. We hired many artists who were trained specifically by me, to be able to copy exactly the fabrics that we created. They were created with reproduction in mind, so every formula, timing, and fabric were annotated in a large book - the bible of hand-painted fabric. We became so good at this that we could add a piece to an existing installation, such as a wall covering, many years after the first production. We could paint on fabric pieces so large that we could cover large expanses in banks, lobbies of buildings, and large furniture. Our studio was large, and we were bound only by the width of the fabric which was sometimes ten feet or more.
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This furniture is covered in a product called ultrasuede, a faux suede. Although it may look and feel fragile it is especially durable, and is washable with soap and water.
This is a marbleized fabric on cotton canvas. It can be custom colored. It is painted in such a way that stains blend in to the design and so do not show.
The stripes may be custom colored. Custom metallics and spacing are available. The marbleized portion can be matched to the stripes.
Many products have been made from my hand-painted fabric. All sizes and shapes are available to meet current market needs.
The orchids were produced from a hand-cut stencil, with a 54" repeat. It is suitable for wall hangings, pillows, paintings, etc.
This silk velvet has been stenciled with a design I created using a l5th century Italian tapestry as my inspiration. The metallic paint is soft to the touch. This fabric has been made into draperies in the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas, and also was put on a sofa in Ian Phillips showroom in Westlake Village.
Billy Al Bengston, a local Venice artist , used the iris as his symbol. I decided to use his imagery, so that my fabric could go with his work.
The Italian Renaissance stencil is quite versatile. First the stencil was used to produce a black silk dupion, then it is used as a border, and portions of the stencil were picked out to make a random design on the body of the fabric.
Because we had a hard time keeping stripes even this pattern was developed to take advantage of a woven striped fabric. the coloring was sand and blue like the ocean and sand, and the gold "squiggles" became one of my hallmarks.
A client in Miami wanted an abstract shell pattern in green for his patio chairs, something we had never produced before. I had just bought a new 8" wide brush and I developed multiple ways of working with it to produce this lovely pattern.
This pattern was designed to go with a William Morris wallpaper. we took one image from the paper, and started manipulating it and voile.
I wanted to use an interestingly woven fabric and simply colored in some of the area to make a pattern. The silk itself was so beautiful that I realized that we did not have to start from scratch to make a wonderful fabric.
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