Pauline Boyd is wearing the Mabel Crop Jacket in Small.
A few months back, Ilana had the brilliant idea to partner with her longtime pal, Pauline Boyd of Counterpane, to create some really special one-of-a-kind Ilana Kohn pieces. Known for their brilliant and unique quilting, Counterpane creates all sorts of home goods out of surprising & unexpected textiles. So what better a way to combine a love of all things fabrics and fashion than a collaborative project! We were even able to involve our friend, Michael J. Spear, who shot the beautiful photos of Pauline in her home while working on our jackets. We chatted with Pauline about her process, background, and travel stories below! You can shop the jackets here.
How did you begin quilting?
I started quilting just kind of furiously one day in my apartment in New York about 16 years ago. I had just returned from visiting some family friends who are quilters in Arkansas and suddenly had something to funnel a lifelong textile obsession into. I bought a sewing machine, never having used one, and started cutting up all my stuff-curtains, pillowcases, clothes. I worked many years at trying to make patterns and cut tiny pieces but I always sort of strayed from my plan. Finally, in 2010, I was living in Cambodia and had tons of floor space and started really trying to experiment with improvising.
What's the most exciting textile you've ever had the opportunity to work with?
This is a very hard question because everything I use pretty much has a story to it. There is a skirt though, or Longgyi actually, from Myanmar that I return to over and over and only use a teeny tiny bit of every time because it adds so much for me. We had arrived at night to a small town and were just walking following people and lights looking for some dinner. I saw this older woman wearing a really beautiful longgyi. I complimented it and she complimented mine (in the universal language of hand sign and laughs), and one thing led to another and we were switching clothes behind a booth at a night festival thing somewhere by a river...It was one of those insane moments in life where you have no common language, but a common thirst for excitement and connection (and a love of textiles!). The skirt is not patterned, it's woven a deep dark turquoise- maybe an indigo that had been washed a zillion times, I don't know- but it's like nothing I've ever seen. I literally relive that special, hilarious moment with her and my whole adventure living in Asia ever time I use a tiny piece.
How did you and IK connect?
I stalked her on Instagram, obviously. She was getting rid of some remnants may years ago, of her incredible printed and marbled silks, and I wanted to get them--but I checked in first as to whether she was okay with me selling the quilts that had her scraps in it. She not only said yes but sent me tons of incredible stuff and we came up with the idea to do Ilana Kohn scrap quilts. The first one is actually in Rebecca Atwood's beautiful book, Living with Pattern, as well as the first issue of KnitWit Magazine. We've done lots of quilts and pillows. We had never actually met in person (I live in LA now) until this year, and Ilana had the idea to send me a bunch of jackets to add to. I'm a huge fan of her whole vibe-the prints, the monochromatic stuff, the jumpsuits... so it's always fun to play around.