The on­go­ing quest for pe­riod tex­tiles.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - BRINGING IT BACK - PAUL FREE­MAN KARL EUL­BERG by Mary Ellen Pol­son

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 archiveed­i­ 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’.

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