The ongoing quest for period textiles.
he had been buying and selling antique textiles for more than 15 years when Paul Freeman began toying with the idea of reproducing Arts & Crafts textiles. A regular attendee at the Arts & Crafts Conference at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, Paul explains that “people used to come in looking for textiles suitable for old Stickley pieces and so on.” Antique upholstery-weight textiles were hard to come by and usually fell short in other ways. So Freeman went on a quest for an American Archive Edition Textiles mill he could persuade Hawthorne, CA (310) 676-2424 to produce Arts & Crafts textiles—no archiveedition.com luck. Then he decided to approach a few mills with a proposal to re-create fabrics from his own archives. Freeman found a faded version of what is now a best seller, ‘Celtic Knot’, at the Pier Antiques Show in New York. “It was very expensive,” he says, “but the design was just killer.” The Archibald Knox pattern was also recognizably Arts & Crafts. “I decided then and there it would be my first [reproduction] design.”
Freeman struck a deal with a now-defunct mill in Pennsylvania to produce ‘Celtic Knot’ and a handful of other patterns he had collected over the years, most of them by anonymous period designers. The mill owner offered to weave Freeman’s first Arts & Crafts collection in exchange for the right to produce a few other fabrics that came from Freeman’s personal archive. And Archive Edition was born.
He attributes the success of the business to those years spent collecting, While other texiles collectors were buying embroidery, Freeman preferred upholstery fabrics, both hand- and machine-woven, which he pursued voraciously.
“An archive is a library of a period that defines color and design,” Freeman says. “Because of the entirety of my collection, it’s easy for me to define the Arts & Crafts designs that were produced during that period of time.”
For the first dozen years, Archive Edition produced Arts & Crafts designs exclusively. That’s changed, with Art Deco and other styles now offered. “The market has broadened, and we’re dealing with a lot of designers who appreciate that we know what we’re doing.” a
Shown with the “Forest Maiden” tapestry, Paul Freeman once kept a 19th-century New England farmhouse warm during a cold winter by ironing his way through a large lot of vintage napkins and table linens.
BELOW A variety of handmade pillows includes (clockwise from top left): ‘Field Lily’, ‘Durango’, ‘Celtic Knot’, ‘Isabella’, ‘Geode’, and ‘Cloud 9’.