While wandering around the East Village after another HOUSE interview, I chanced upon what looked like an intriguing storefront but was, in fact, the fabric design workshop of
Pintura Studio. I contacted the owners, Chris Isles and Ed Rollins and JH and I wound up paying a second, rather lengthy visit to the workshop, the factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn where the silk screening and printing takes place as well as doing the usual nosey visit to their separate apartments upstairs in the East Village building.
In the late eighties, both Chris and Ed were specializing in painted decorative finishes, but they started Pintura Studio in 1996 when MAC II asked them to stencil on to fabric for a client.
“I always loved historic designs and playing with stencils so the idea of creating hand printed designs on fabric opened up a whole new world for us,” says Ed, a native of Kentucky who moved to New York to study at Pratt and later Columbia University.
Chris, who grew up near Niagara Falls, studied fashion at Parsons. She had previously owned a clothing boutique on 1st Street and 1st Avenue and was ready to move back to working with textiles. “Fashion design was my first love, so returning to the world of fabrics was a perfect marriage for me.”
The special request turned into an independent business, taking custom orders and producing a stock line available through Holland & Sherry as well as showrooms throughout the world—it’s not often one can boast “handmade in New York” but these fabrics truly are.
The Pintura design studio.
Ed’s bike hangs from the ceiling in the ground floor studio; fabric stencils cover a wall in the design studio.
Pintura fabric samples hang from a wall in the design studio.
A corner of the studio is plastered with photographs of family and friends, better known as “The Doll Wall.”
Swatches, notes and inspiration cover more of the studio walls.
Stencils are being tested in a swath of fabric in the design studio before they are then turned into silk screens for production.
Binding a fabric sample to be sent out to a client.
Piles of fabric samples.
More inspiration on the studio wall with Ed’s bike hanging from the ceiling.
More stencils hang on the wall.
Clockwise from above: Chris and Ed in front of their East Village studio and apartment building; Chris and Ed in the studio; Chris with her chihuahua, Biggie Smalls.
Ed’s apartment …
Ed’s kitchen. Coral found in Tulum, Mexico surrounds a collage by Ed.
A custom window seat is covered in Pintura fabric.
A space saving bike rack hangs above the kitchen mantel.
Tray and bowls from Istanbul.
Vintage postcards and small works of art from friends fill a corner.
The cut crystal lamp belonged to Ed’s grandmother.
Seashells from Sandy Hook placed on a stone bowl from Ticino.
Unmatched chairs are tucked under the semi-circular kitchen table.
Artwork by friends around the kitchen sink and cabinets.
The middle room of Ed’s apartment is dominated by a table that originally belonged to Cornell University. The opposite wall is lined with storage stools from West Elm.
A wine cooler is tucked under Ed’s desk. Nearby is a quirky metal chair that Ed found on an Upper East Side street.
Ed’s bedroom. The walls are painted in a custom teal blue.
L. to r.: A Chinese chair was inherited from a family friend.; A butterfly angel purchased in Tulum, Mexico hangs above the bedroom fireplace, now used as a recess for the flat screen TV.
A screen made by Ed works as a handsome headboard. The bed pillows are from Jim Thompson.
The column lamps with bold red shades were purchased at designer Sheila Bridges’s store in upstate New York.
L. to r.: A painting by artist, Tony Pinotti hangs above an oval mirror in the front of Ed’s apartment. ; Plants thrive on the sunny window sill of Ed’s East Village apartment.
The oversized Asian chest was found at the 26th Street flea market.
Pintura fabric covers the bookcases in Ed’s bedroom. The Chinese chest and chair were inherited from a family friend.
Chris’s apartment …
Chris’s studio apt.
A bold Pintura fabric was used to cover this sofa pillow.
L. to r.: Built-in bookshelf behind the front door makes use of every inch of space. ; A mix of art and objects arranged atop the fireplace mantel, including a collage by Ed.
A petite-point done by Chris’s aunt of her three-pound chihuahua, Biggie Smalls.
Fresh flowers perk up the fireplace mantel.
Looking across the kitchen into the living room.
Stairs lead up to the bedroom loft.
Artwork and found objects surround the kitchen cabinets and sink in Chris’s apartment.
The backyard garden …
The factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn …
The outside of the Red Hook building which prints Pintura fabric.
L. to r.: The stairwell of the factory building. ; One of the heavy fire doors in the factory.
A view out one of the 100-year-old windows of the factory.
The view of Manhattan from the roof of the factory.
A view of the Gowanus Canal from the factory.
Bob Burns co-owner of E.F.S. Designs, Inc., where Pintura Studio has their fabrics hand printed, holding a swatch ring of his own fabrics, Prints Etc.
Looking down the 50-yard long printing tables. Buckets of printing inks are stored under the tables.
Printing tables & silk screens.
Silk screens stored in rakes along the ceiling.
Fans are used to heat the enormous space.
A view into the color mixing room where the inks are prepared for printing.
Fernando “Master Color Mixer” at E.F.S. Designs.
L. to r.: Fernando at work.
Artwork film is printed out to then be used to make a silk screen.
A silk screen being made on the light box. The image is “burned” onto the silk mesh using florescent light and light sensitive emulsion.
Jose Jr. and Carlos, two of the young talented hand printers at E.F.S. Designs.
Jose Jr. and Carlos printing Pintura Studio’s Lhasa.
One of the silk screens used to print Lhasa and the finished product.
Pintura Studio’s silk screens.
Artwork film used to create silk screens.
Rolls of ground fabric waiting to be printed.
Celeste from Asterisk Designs works on her gilded wall coverings at the factory.
Asterisk Designs wallcovering samples.
Gaby washes out a silk screen.
The “Vegetable Garden” at E.F.S. Designs.