while many textile designers look at archival pieces, photographs and items in museum collections for inspiration, David Parrett simply goes for a walk—usually with his wife and three young children. It is during their excursions that he and his wife, Judi Coté, come up with ideas for their new line of traditional fabrics geared toward the youth market.
The Parretts have only been designing fabrics for a few years now, and their first collection of children's textiles, called Cranberry Hill, came about quite by chance. "We were at a barn sale in Vermont, and we found an old sketchbook of children's figures," recounts Parrett. That gave them the idea for a few patterns, including Up on Cranberry Hill (above), a toile featuring frogs, pigs and cats in Victorian dress doing gardening, flying kites and visiting, and Life on the Hill (below left), a naif design of families with a Puritanical flavor. Then, at a cookout at the family's Vermont vacation home, the discovery of frogs at a nearby pond spawned yet another design, Petite Bunis Frogs (bottom right).
Life on the Hill, a linen-and-cotton print
Cranberry Hill Stripe
Winhall produces a great many weaves, and the children's collection includes a few, such as Poupette (below left), a Victorian-style pattern of silhouettes of children being children that is woven in France, and Daisey (above right), a hand-embroidered cotton with a wool face. The Parretts are conscious of making fabrics that have coordinates, so there are a great many stripes, plaids and diamond-patterned prints to round out the mix.
The new collection is intended to round out Winhall's library of more than 200 patterns, ranging from sporting-themed prints and florals to stripes and plaids targeting what Parrett calls the "traditional interior designer." There's even a cut velvet with a satin ground called Manza, named after an Italian race course with a banked track. "Every pattern in our collection tells a story," he notes.
While the Cranberry Hill Collection looks like it's for kids, the Parretts already have gotten orders from interior designers for other rooms in the house, including a master bedroom. "We wanted to create a line that would work for babies and would carry through to young adulthood," says Coté. "We like to think of it as sweet and sophisticated."