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Pauline Boyd

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

Hi. My name is… Pauline Boyd

My company is… Counterpane

I’m the… Maker

I make... Quilts of my own design, all one-of-a-kind, with bits of things I find traveling or old clothes, vintage, or found fabrics.

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

Something you need to know about me is… When I made my first quilt, around 2004, I had never even used a sewing machine. I had no fabric so I just went around the apartment cutting up stuff - literally the sheets, curtains, clothes. I still try to emulate that spirit nowadays.

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

Here’s how this company came to be… I had been struggling to work as an actress in New York for over ten years and the idea of letting that go started brewing in me. I took off to join my boyfriend in Asia where he was working, and I just took the time to sew and develop my quilting style. He bought me a foot-pedal table sewing machine and we dragged it home in a tuk tuk. When I got back to the states I started to sell pieces, to supportive family and friends, making them on the kitchen floor.  I made a logo, did my tax registration stuff, did a gallery show in LA, and slowly started to get some press and some stores and I’ve been chugging away since then. I started without any kind of business plan, so that’s a big focus right now - media packets, market research. look book, etc - stuff I was too afraid of before but now its clear I owe it to myself in order to really play ball!

My absolute favorite thing we sell right now is… Well, I get sentimental about certain quilts sometimes - since each little bit of fabric in them has a story to me. Right now my favorite thing is a quilt (below) that’s in the wonderful store, Beautiful Dreamers, in Brooklyn. Its made from these old silk shirts of my dad’s from Paris and some worn out tribal jackets and indigo from Vietnam and Laos - stuff I foraged for.  It's a real roots piece for me and embodies that essential quilt philosophy on the re-use of things to make other new beautiful things for ourselves. I’m half a mind to call them and get it back everyday, but its in the right place there!

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

Here’s a sneak peek of something we’re working on now… A lot is happening right now!  I did my first design job with a big company - a quilt and some pillows for the home department at Anthropologie - available early winter. I’ve been recently cold-calling some of my favorite clothing and textile designers and saying hey, I want to make a quilt from your scraps and I am thrilled to have a few collaborations in the pipeline. I’m always playing around with talented friends - doing some pieced accents on clothes, bags and furniture - seeing what is fun and interesting and marketable.

I’m most proud of… My decision to make this a job. With this work, I get to look at what is in front of me everyday, work with my hands and make something. Its a new dream. Its feels like a second chance at creative fulfillment.

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

I detest… Planning! I have a ridiculous sense of the timing for this work! I guess no one ever said making quilts was quick and easy but I forget the creative time is important too. I think I can finish something a given day and then a month later I’m still arranging the puzzle pieces, stitching, tweaking... I’m learning to factor in the creative process, not just the construction time.

I could never have done it without this person… I had/have major wonderful support from my family - both financially and emotionally. In terms of the nuts and bolts of actually making a company happen, that would be my man, Chris. His practicality and clarity of thought and vision have been imperative to this process, as I can often get lost in future, the past, or just lose track of what the next action at hand is. He also holds the bar really high from a design perspective and I can bounce ideas off of him or he will challenge me with questions about composition or color. Having to be responsible for my decisions helps me really get behind my own work - it helps me feel proud. I’m not ashamed to say he has been a real backbone to this company!

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND

I consistently read these for inspiration… I love Pinterest of course, mouthwatering. Love Fibercopia and CLOTH & KIND for education.  I read some design/fashion blogs - Design Sponge, Design for Mankind, Remodelista, The Sartorialist - the usual suspects. I read them because they are so well curated but it's not really the world I exist in. I like Blondehaus, Weird Friends, Bleach Black - for a balance from the edgier side of the spectrum.  I’ve got piles of books full of quilt history which are fun to drool over. NYT crossword keeps me fresh - I’ll do that when I need to break my brain from a piece I’m working on. I also have some old school reference books which I need sometimes. Since I’m self taught, I have to learn little tricks wherever I can.

I would like to share the limelight with… Other quilters! There are a lot of young people making quilts - which is really inspiring and exciting to me. People like Meg Callahan, Ashley Thayer, Gina RockenWagner, Maura Grace Ambrose  - they are all doing interesting things with a really old practice.

Limelight: Pauline Boyd of Counterpane | CLOTH & KIND