Local Creative: Caroline Z. Hurley
Caroline Hurley is a gal of many talents. Through honest exploration of herself and her interests she found herself designing and producing one of the most coveted home textile collections in Brooklyn, Caroline Z Hurley. You might recognize Caroline's playful neutrals where she experiments with shapes, lines, draws ideas from her favorite artist and translates them to home. Hugely inspired by travel, Caroline shoots each collection in an exotic location around the world, partly to give her line a global feel but also to satisfy her own personal need to explore (smart to mix business and pleasure!)
Not only is Caroline a talented designer but she blew us away with her series of new paintings she had been adding to her repertoire. Unable to resist the the call of canvas and paints, Caroline was moved by the subtly beauty of everyday home occurrences. Often times she can pull colors and shapes out of something as simple as the piling of laundry, and transform the thought into unrecognizable art
Caroline has just settled into a gorgeous new gallery storefront in Greenpoint where she plans to organize community events and sell her works. We could hardly wait to welcome Caroline's passionate and free flowing creativity to our hood.
if you wanna see the new space/paintings/textiles in the flesh, visit Caroline's studio on November 19th from 6-9pm for a little opening party! She will be opening her studio as a shop with fun designers and events through the holidays! Keep updated via her Instagram.
Read on for more from our inspiring morning with the artist and designer.
155 freeman, Brooklyn, NY 11222
First of all, tell us about your gorgeous new gallery space.
My old studio in bushwick changed over to a different kind of space so all of the artists in that building had to move. I loved that studio and the neighborhood so much, I wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. When things like that happen I have to believe it’s the universe telling you to do something different - so I did. I wanted either a larger space or a place on street level where I could create more brand awareness and host fun things that help create a feeling around my brand. I looked for 3 months and nothing really felt right until I walked in to the studio I ended up taking. It was definitely not within my studio budget (!!) but everything about it felt right so right then and there I basically just signed the papers and put a deposit down. when my body tells me something feels right I always listen.
How did you find yourself surrounded by textiles?
I have always been attracted to textiles. When I was at RISD I spent a year in rome and outside my studio window was this laundry line that changed every week and there was something about that cycle that really inspired me. I painted that laundry line every week both abstractly and realistically. still to this day the idea of the cycle of making things clean and then dirty again is a huge part of my paintings.
But my CZH textile company started sort of out of the blue - several years ago after a trip to bali, my paintings took the form of block printed textiles. I was working on large abstract paintings (on linen) and the block printing just sort of happened on the side as I was painting. Also I was teaching preschool at the time - teaching the kids about these super basic shapes which obviously filtered through to my work because its now the theme of my brand! Those kids really inspired me. they had this ability to be so present and bold about everything they made because it was the first time (for most of them) that they created art at all! I love that curiosity and openness and I try to bring that into everything I make, both paintings and textiles. I was in my studio a lot during that time. I started making blankets for my home and my friends homes and then it all just sort of happened as I got more requests for throws and pillows.
What is the best part of the creative process for you.
The collecting of things. I am a scavenger. I travel to find interesting textures and I always bring back things and use them in my collages, paintings, and textiles. I explore to find new colors, cultures, and little shapes or motifs. Travel really opens me up, I see things more vividly, I absorb things from a new perspective and I understand myself and the world more fully. Oh! my other favorite part is the sample making for my textiles! Its so exciting making a spec sheet and then seeing it in the flesh. Every time a new sample comes its like Christmas.
Your paintings are just what we want to see hanging around our apartments. Where do you draw your inspiration for these things of beauty and how do they live with your other collections?
My paintings are inspired by color and the cycle of laundry. I have been collecting fabric for as long as I can remember. I have literally 7 bins in studio, just pounds and pounds of fabric I have collected over the years and I use that in most of my work by collaging layers and layers together. But inspiration comes in all forms sometimes it’s a conversation, sometimes it’s a feeling, sometimes it’s a physical thing.
Travel plays a huge role in your designs, tell us about the next adventure you have planned.
I am currently headed home from a trip I took to Italy! that’s the country I chose to base my spring summer collection on (each season at CZH is based on a city). Super excited to pull everything together when I get back. The next trip I have on the docket is mexico. I am working to develop a system of production there for all of my woven goods – super excited about that! I will be working with several different families there and the goal is to have a system in mexico for all the rugs and wovens that is similar to the system we created in New Bedford, MA which is where all of my block-printed textiles are made.
What is the most memorable trip you've taken.
Probably to Antigua Guatemala. I love that country. I based my collection on that city two seasons ago. I went there to meet the weavers we work with for my lightweight rugs. I loved the feeling and the people there. Oh! and the food - they hand make all of their corn tortillas SO delish and in these little cobble stone streets you hear them clapping the corn meal together to make them into thin little patties.
After talking with you we learned you have a serious fine arts background, who are some artists that move you in your search for inspiration.
Anges Martin, Dana Schultz, Sheila Hicks, Richard Diebenkorn, Ty Twombly, Richard Tuttle, Picasso, Yoko Ono, Landon Metz, Shara Hughes, Megan Petras, Ivin Ballen, DeKooning, John Chamberlain, Sol Lewitt. I could go on and on..
Describe a perfect day off.
Wake up, do yoga, walk around the city, get brunch with pals, and obviously go to the beach (when that is an option!)