Bold, fresh, adventurous and brilliant. These are just a few words that come to mind when we think about the fabulous designs by our friend, Mary Catherine Folmar and her Cotton+Quill textile and wallpaper collections.
Both Mary Catherine and her designs are a breath of fresh air. We’ve so enjoyed getting to know her better as of late and are looking forward to sharing her beautiful collections with you in the steve mckenzie’s showroom!
Mary Catherine and her designs are such a wonderful addition to our showroom, we thought you’d enjoy getting to know her a bit more. We can guarantee you’ll be hearing a lot about Mary Catherine and Cotton+Quill here in the near future!
sm’s: Can you please share a bit about your background/how you started Cotton+Quill and how you gained the courage to break out on your own?
MC: I attended Auburn University to study pre-med…..but my love for design got the best of me. I have always loved fashion, graphics & interior design, but I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into any particular field. That is why I chose to study Industrial Design; it gave me a good base for just about anything design related.
Cotton + Quill came about as a way to continue my design after leaving my design job in Atlanta to move to Birmingham to marry my college sweetheart. I have been extremely fortunate to have a supportive husband and family to make Cotton + Quill a reality. I have always been interested in textiles and interior design and have always had a passion for art, so starting a textile company was a natural fit.
sm’s: What inspires you/your designs?
MC: I would have to say Taiwan and Hong Kong have been my biggest influences for my designs. There is just such an abundant amount of inspiration and history found in the Asian culture from architectural details and murals to koi fish and fashion. I love photography as well as sketching, so I often look back to photos I took while studying abroad and traveling for inspiration for my designs. The coast has also influenced my design style – more so for color rather than actual designs. And travel isn’t the only thing that influences my work – often an exciting time period in history influences my designs, like the Roaring 20’s & the Great Gatsby for the Deco Collection, as well as certain design styles, like old Hollywood Regency & Palm Beach for the Regency Collection.
sm’s: What your vision is, not only for Cotton+Quill, but also the individual pieces you craft?
MC: My vision for Cotton + Quill is that the person receiving our products is as much in love with our designs as we are – I really want our designs to speak and mean something to the person receiving them…..like a piece of art.
sm’s: What do you see as mainstays in your textile/wallpaper collections?
MC: If you are referring to our textile/wallpaper collections in general, I would say the mainstay for my designs is that they are all 100% completely original and that you cannot find anything else in the marketplace like them. If you are referring to a particular design, I think the Shishi (foo dogs) and Koi (chinoiserie) are here to stay…I think both of these include classic design elements that will never go out of style – they can always be modernized with color.
sm’s: What are the differences in your collections – i.e. how do you create such unique designs that still work together under the Cotton+Quill brand?
MC: My collections really depend on the mood I am in or the particular thing(s) that are inspiring me at that time. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to travel a lot, so that is where most of my inspiration comes from, but I also love different periods of time and the designs that came out of those periods – a good example is the Roaring Twenties with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, The Great Gatsby, and a little bit prior, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his celebrated Art Nouveau work including his inspirational tea rooms in Scotland. I think because pretty much all of my designs are hand illustrated, they all work together because they are all comprised in the same style – also color has a lot to do with making different patterns work together.
sm’s: What do people need to consider when looking to purchase a design by Cotton & Quill?
MC: I think the people who purchase a Cotton + Quill product need to first and foremost know that all of our designs are unique and custom and cannot just be found at any fabric store down the road. When purchasing a Cotton + Quill product, in a sense, you are purchasing a piece of art. And with all of our customizable options, you can really make that piece of art or design your own and unique to your home and lifestyle. Another important fact to note is that all of our textiles and wallpapers are made right here in the USA.
sm’s: What’s on the horizon for Cotton+Quill?
MC: Well, our mind never stops thinking. Currently we are working on a collaboration with a home accessories company which has everything from catchalls to trays and ice buckets. Also on the bucket list is offering a couture clothing line featuring our bold textiles on clean, fresh silhouettes. We just introduced a line of trimmings which will be available in late July and also hope to soon introduce a collaboration featuring our designs in rugs and possibly even furniture….the options are limitless!
sm’s: As an artist/business person how do you recharge?
MC: Just coming home at night and turning off the phone or shutting down the computer while spending a few hours with my husband, our three dogs and a glass of wine is my day to day recharge. Ideally, a long weekend at the beach is the best way to recharge. And actually, I just spent a few days in Charleston, one day was for business, and I had a wonderful visit and met many wonderful people as well…it was only a couple of days but during those days I was able to catch my breath. 🙂
If those vibrant colors and brilliant patterns from Mary Catherine’s Cotton+Quill collections don’t inspire you to go bold in your home, we don’t know what will!
If you’d love to introduce a bit of the Cotton+Quill style into your home, but aren’t entirely sure how to accomplish that, the team here at steve mckenzie’s is here for you! We now carry the full range of Cotton+Quill textile and wallpaper collections and would love to create a space unique to you and your family/lifestyle, incorporating some of Mary Catherine’s fabulous designs!