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Dream Weavers: Introducing Makaua Woven Baskets

 

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Beautiful things happen in the hands of artisans. Now imagine what’s possible when more than 500 artisan families are empowered to use their talents for the betterment of their community.

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That’s the story behind Makaua Baskets, a new addition to our Spring collection. The aesthetic of the baskets was what first grabbed our attention; they’re made from rustic natural palm leaves but manage to look so perfectly modern. Then we discovered their story and knew we had to share them with you.

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Makaua Baskets are made by in-need families in Mexico, who use traditional hand-braiding technique passed down through generations. These artisans have been making the baskets since 2002 and have been able to improve their quality of life with their income. It’s true — more than 500 families have been involved and positively impacted.

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The palm used is a sustainable natural fiber that’s abundant in the south of Mexico. Its gorgeous neutral color goes well with any living space. Also, those leather handles – they add refinement and make the baskets easily tote-able.

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We hope you love them as much as we do. Shop Woven Natural Baskets here

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Unison In Process: Inside The Humboldt Collection

Historic Inspiration for a Reimagined Bedding Collection

On the near-west side of Chicago lies a community that represents the very fabric of America—interwoven cultures marked by dynamic social change and overlapping styles, all evolving and thriving amidst a backdrop that’s notable as much for its historic landmarks as its decidedly urban charm.

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Centered around a sprawling, 207-acre park, the Humboldt Park neighborhood is one part fast-paced cultural hub, one part serene oasis in the midst of the modern bustle. It’s simultaneously classic and modern, diverse and determined, everlasting and yet always somehow new.

What could be better inspiration than that?

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Named for this historic community in our own beloved hometown, our Humboldt bedding collection is designed to reflect the area’s longevity and beautiful wear.

Inspired by the hand-woven look, unique texture, and 2-sided pattern of classic madras plaids, this bedding is as casually chic as a fresh-air picnic. Unison co-founder Robert Segal parlayed this inspiration into his original drawing for the pattern, and production designer Erica Lubetsky then translated that drawing into an engineered plaid.

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The result was a simpler, sleeker pattern—more modern in tone. Then, we scaled it up for a strong, graphic punch and got ready to convert the carefully considered design into a textile.

First, material: we selected yarn-dyed cotton in an oxford weave, to showcase the delicate blending of colors.

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The linens have a basket weave construction, which creates a checkerboard effect with white, producing a softer tone that is perfectly suited to a mellow-cool bedroom. To get the contrast just where we wanted it, we selected darker, more saturated yarns that would blend into the perfect finished hue.

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As a final detail, we engineered each side of the duvet with a lighter blue, asymmetrical stripe on one side, so that when the bed is made with covers turned back, a stripe appears on each end.

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Looks like you might actually start to enjoy making your bed in the morning.

Shop Humboldt Bedding 20% Off now thru 02/26, shop the White Sale here.

 

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Inn Style: Unison + Longman & Eagle

Our latest bedding is custom-made for a Chicago destination that’s anything but ordinary.

We’ve been told our bedding is perfect for guest rooms, and Chicago’s iconic Inn at Longman & Eagle agrees. It now features Unison special-edition bedding that was created as a collaboration between Cody Hudson (partner at Land and Sea Department, which owns and operates the Inn at Longman & Eagle) and Unison co-founder Robert Segal.

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You can purchase the bedding, a quilt that reverses from navy blue to light grey, online or in or store. But we hope you’ll visit the Inn, too, to see it in its native environment. The Inn features six small eclectic rooms and sits above a whiskey bar serving Michelin-star-rated food. Inside each room: a mix of furniture designed and built by Land and Sea partners Mode Carpentry, plus curated artwork by Stephen Eichhorn, Ryan Duggan and other noteworthy creatives.

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We caught up with Cody, who shared more about this unique Chicago destination and what makes its new Unison bedding such a special touch.

Unison: You’ve had a longstanding collaborative relationship with Unison. What made the bedding the natural next step?

Cody: We’ve been using Unison bedding at the Inn since we opened. We like to support local companies so Unison was a perfect fit. After a few years of using the bedding we thought it could be interesting to do more of a custom comforter for the rooms.

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Unison: What were some key things you kept in mind when creating the design?

Cody: [We wanted] something simple, clean and a little utilitarian that would hold up in an inn setting. Also, there’s a lot going on in the rooms already so we wanted something with some color and pattern but not too much.

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Unison: These aren’t your typical hotel rooms. What’s the vibe?

Cody: It’s a pretty casual experience, almost like staying at a friend’s house who has a really cool guest room and has great taste in music, art and whiskey.

Unison: Another one of your collaborations with Unison, the Anchors bedding, was based on your hand-drawn illustrations. Tell us about your process for the Longman & Eagle bedding.

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Cody: I had a few meetings with [Unison co-founders] Robert and Alicia and talked about what fabrics would work best and what would go with the sheets and pillowcases we were going to use. We landed on this clean combination.

Unison: All beds at the Inn will also have the Sailor pillowcases. Why go with these?

Cody: We wanted the colors on the comforter to work nicely with everything else on the bed — it was a good fit.

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Unison: Tell us a bit more about your own studio practice. What’s your main focus and any new evolutions as of late?

Cody: I split my time between Land and Sea Department projects, traditional graphic design work and working on my personal art in the studio. In my personal work I’ve been focusing on more abstracted paintings on linen as well as steel and wood sculptures. I spent the last two months painting quite a bit getting ready for a few shows but now I’m back pretty heavily focusing on a few new LSD projects in the works.

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Unison: Where else can people see your work?

Cody: I had a show at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago last month, I’m doing a small show of sculptures in Amsterdam in December at Mini Gallerie. I’m slowly working towards a few other painting shows later next year as well as wrapping up details on a few mural projects for later in the year. That and raising two young kids is keeping me pretty busy right now.

Want to learn more? Click here for a peek inside The Inn at Longman & Eagle. Or, get immediate gratification and shop the new L&E Reversible Quilt here.

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We Got Down – And You Should, Too

An Insider’s Guide to Extra-Special Pillows From Down Inc.

We’ve been doing a lot of pillow talk lately. Can’t resist – we’ve been really excited about the down pillows made by our Michigan partner, Down Inc. These softies, made with down sourced from their parent company Maple Leaf Farms, sit at the corner of comfort, modern design and sustainability. And that’s a winning combo for us.

If you didn’t make our “Let’s Get Down” store event that we had with Down Inc. last month then it’s time to get caught up on what makes the company special. You’ll easily see why these pillows are must-haves.

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What do the pillows feel like?
Have you ever sunk into a fluffy cloud? You will during a night with these. Seriously plush, never stiff, they softly mold to fit your head and neck just so. The quality cotton casing protects the real treasure inside, down: the fine, soft undercoating found under the feathers of local Indiana ducks.

Where do the down feathers come from?
Most goose and duck feathers are a byproduct of the meat industry. That’s also the case with Down, Inc., which is part of parent company Maple Leaf Farms. The Indiana family only grows animals for food and has been creating down products for 50 years. Important to note is that there’s a great traceability factor with this particular down, because it travels only 116 miles between the farms and the pillow manufacturing facility, located in Michigan. Once the down is removed from the meat source, it’s washed once on the Indiana farm and then again in Michigan, where it’s then processed using a 50-year-old patented washing method that turns it into FDA-approved, hypo-allergenic down.

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What about those that are allergic to down?
Allergies aren’t typically provoked from the feathers but the skin or dander [unless you have a true feather allergy]. The washing method that Down Inc. uses removes the skin and dander from the feathers, leaving the pillows hypoallergenic.

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How do you take care of down?
Wash down pillows every six months (they usually have a life span of two years). It is recommended to take the pillow to a professional dry cleaner and have it laundered. If you are machine-washing it at home, do it in a large capacity machine with no center agitator. Also, cut your detergent in half, set your machine to a medium water temperature, and add an extra rinse cycle. Drying down is more of a process; a down insert usually takes at least 4-6 cycles to dry, and you’ll want to re-fluff between cycles. They key to telling if your down is dry is checking for odor – if there is a smell, our down isn’t dry.

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What about down duvets – don’t they tend to feel heavy?
Contrary to popular belief, no! Down duvets can actually help regulate your temperature while you sleep, keeping you dry and warm without overheating. Unison carries the medium density down duvets, which are encased in a 200-plus thread count cotton cover, with double-stitch edges to ensure durability.

Where are Down Inc. pillows and duvets available?
At the Unison store in Chicago and online at unisonhome.com – of course! We’ve been partnering with Down Inc. since 2006 and couldn’t be more thrilled to join up with such a responsible, resourceful company.

Here’s to countless great nights of sleep!

To shop our selection of Down Inc. pillows and duvets, click here.

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Can’t Live Without: Corelle Dinnerware

We love dinnerware that suits any mood and every whim. Fancy dinner party? Spontaneous Sunday brunch with friends? Crashing on the couch with leftovers? For all of these moments, we turn to Corelle.

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Sophisticated but unfussy, timeless yet modern looking, Corelle was created in the 1970s by Pyrex. It’s made in the Midwest in Rosemont, Illinois, and is known for its supreme durability. Chalk it up to the revolutionary material from which its made — a special three-layer glass laminate called Vitrelle glass, which was originally fabricated for first-generation TV screens in the 1940s. No surprise, this glass is virtually break and chip resistant.

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Corelle is a true workhorse in the kitchen, being stackable and ideal for buffet-style setups. So its thinness and lightness often comes as a surprise.

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Style and designs are ever-changing — there have been more than 2,000 patterns since the 1970s — and all of them are great everyday basics. At Unison, we carry small and large plates, curved just so, as well as bowls that are great for salads or pastas. You can’t beat the price point — these pieces are just $5 or $6 each. Stock up and we know Corelle will become your mealtime go-to as quickly as it became ours.

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Shop all of our Corelle dinnerware here.

 

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How to Accessorize Your Couch

What’s something big that most of us have in common? Couches. We all have them. We all use them. We all love them – albeit for different reasons.

And many of us also share the silly habit of letting our couches fade into the neutral background of our homes after a while. But there’s no excuse for this, thanks to one of the most simple, versatile, and striking home accessories known to man: the throw pillow.

We at Unison happen to be obsessed with these sofa-top essentials. And this time of year, we’re particularly apt to break out a new set of pillows to dress up a room, celebrate a holiday, or freshen familiar spaces for the cold months ahead.

Take a look at how our 3 new interchangeable pillow collections – classic black & white, natural tones & linens, and holiday – bring new personality to a neutral gray couch:

A great collection of throw pillows can do more than make a couch inviting. It can liven up an entire home.

We recommend that you start your browsing here:

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Aerial Black $48 – $65, Dots Black $40 – $65, Aerial White $48 – $65

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Dots White Linen $62 – $88, Color Block Burgundy $62 – $70, Sailor Black Linen $70 – $80

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Tiles Gray $40 – $65, Grid Red Knit $65, Gingham Royal $48

 

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Unison Staff Picks: What We’re Loving This Fall

It’s hard to play favorites when there are so many awesome home products. In fact, picking our top loves can actually be pretty mind-boggling. (Trust us, it’s not a bad problem to have!) But given the task, Unison employees each chose two fall products from our catalog that they are really crushing on.

Discover their favorites here — and get to know a little more about the people in our office that love sharing modern home designs with you!

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Terra.Cotto Cookware
This line up is very exciting for me. I picked it out from the huge range of cookware shown at the Housewares Show and I’m so glad I did. I love the clean shapes and natural colors. The design reminds me of ancient cookware to Scandinavian simplistic forms. Their functions are exceptional: stovetop, oven to table and are exceptionally lightweight for ‘casserole’ standards due to their pure clay material. Also the interior is a beautifully glazed dark brown which contrasts well with the matte exterior. We use the littlest one, the Zafferno at home for cous cous dishes. Bonus, they all come with their own mini recipe book from the manufacturer.

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Epicurean Slate Kitchen Tools

These have been on my wish list for a while! I have a thing for black – even though I love bold colors too. Black tools in the kitchen just make sense to me – along with my Epicuran slate boards too. These are super flat which makes them store nicely and they go in the dishwasher too even though they are wood and resin, and will never warp or crack. They are made in Minnesota at Epicurean factory – from the scrap of their cutting board production. I can really appreciate this being in fabric manufacturing – we use the scrap from our table linen production to make oven mitts and pot holders.

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Fonte Canisters

I love the simple design of these canisters.  They not only keep food items fresh with the silicone seal, they are a great design to display on and accessorize your kitchen counter.  I love the warm color varieties they come in as well!

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Sonia Graphite Knit Blanket

This is a great blanket to display on a couch and cozy up with on a cooler fall night.  I love the modern design and the feel!

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Falcon Black Enamel Mug

Owning two of the Falcon White mugs with the blue rim, I know that I like Falcon enamelware for more than its looks. The durability of the stainless steel is ideal for a mug because it makes it practically unbreakable, yet with the porcelain coating the mug has less of an industrial look. Also, these mugs are great for both hot and cold drinks because of its insulating material. Falcon mugs are also perfect for camping! I really like our new all-black mugs because the coating on the outside contrasts with the inside. I would really love to see them with my white mugs as a variable set!

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Tango Knit Throw Pillow

My living room futon has a natural canvas cover so when I’m searching for throw pillows I look for a jazzy pattern that will stand out. The Tango knit pillow is exactly that! I also love seeing a geometric pattern in knit instead of print because it alters the shapes to become more organic and slightly jagged which contrasts with the pattern itself.

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Cabin Charcoal Blanket

I am a big fan of using blankets as an alternative to a duvet.  It is a wonderful way to transition between the cool to cooler nights.  The colors of this blanket provide a great neutral that works with so many colors and patterns too!

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Color Block Graphite Pillow

The color block pillow in graphite is a great addition to the Unison pillow collection.  It mixes in beautifully with our Harvest Denim pillows, Sailor Black or Sailor Charcoal pillows…the possibilities are endless!

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Agra Pitcher

I love this sleek pitcher because it has a clean design & is super lightweight so you can fill it to the brim with your favorite beverage.  And since it is made from the same quality glass as chemistry labs (borosilicate glass) you can use it for both hot and color beverages.  I can’t wait to serve up some warm apple cider with it this Fall!

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Heller Black Mugs

Maybe I am biased since I grew up using Hellerware but to me nothing beats Massimo Vignelli’s  classic no frills design.  I think the design aesthetic still feels modern and relevant even 50 years later!

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Trapper Wool Blanket
I just love this blanket! Its timeless design and wooly texture lends a rustic elegance to any space, which I like in the cooler months.

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Biobu Kids Dinnerware
Well, since I have a baby on the way, I’m partial to designs that are petite and whimsical these days!  But it’s not just the peppy colors and smooth, organic shapes of this dinnerware that attracts me – I love that the plates, cups, and flatware are all made from bamboo fiber and natural plant materials.

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4 Fall Trends to Introduce to Your Home Now

Fall means beautiful change outside. It’s also a great time to switch things up indoors. When we put together our Fall collection, we noticed some distinctive home decor trends and got so excited by the possibilities. Read on to discover them and don’t forget to check out the NEW section of unisonhome.com to to shop it all.

Trend #1: Monochromatic Black & White
All black. All white. All alluring. Stark blacks and whites make a strong graphic statement. At the same time, they can also be demure as a backdrop. Why? The reduced palette lets form and pattern reign as focal points.

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Shop the trend: Grid black tablecloth, Kubus black candleholder, Ana black tapers, Galvin black flatware.

Trend #2: Handmade Accents

What is thought of as routine is now being instantly elevated by handmade touches. Think of a breakfast table, adorned with a classic gingham placemats. You can bump it up with gold flatware, and add artisan-crafted ceramic cheese stones and hand-crocheted potholders for a fresh, inspiring mix.

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Shop the trend: Gold flatware, cheese stone, hand-crocheted potholders.

Trend #3: Perfect Pleats
What may seem simple — a small pleat or ribbed detail — really makes a design. The column-like structure is clean and adds textural interest. Pleats are emerging as a new home decor must, and we imagine in the fashion world they won’t be far behind.

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Shop the trend: Fonte Canisters, Dew glassware, iconic Lyngby vase.

Trend #4: Earthy Delights

Natural materials like linen, copper, brass, marble and terracotta are being applied in new forms that have remarkable simplicity and integrity. For example, the familiar casserole dish is made from terra cotta — the ultimate in rustic — yet has clean lines and geometric details that make it a modern standout.

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Shop the trend: Noce Moscata casserole, Zafferano saucepot, Salvia casserole, Pepe casserole.

What do you think of these Fall trends? Let us know in the Comments!

 

 

 

 

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Watch Our Fall Video (& Think Cozy Thoughts!)

We know you’re not quite ready for sweater weather. But our fall video, just shot by John Sturdy in rural Indiana, may just change your mind.

In it, we set the scene (and table) for a very warm and festive season. It’s a hint at what’s to come from our fall collection, which will soon be up on our site and in our new catalog.

Our video softly salutes the time of year made for savoring the crisp outdoors and coming home to inspirational and oh-so livable modern design. Of course you’ll get a look at some of our latest products — from tall, sculptural candles to shimmering brushed-gold flatware.

So put on your wool slippers, reach for a cozy blanket and watch this short but memorable slice of modern life.

Want to receive future Unison catalog? Sign up here!

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From an Artist’s Studio to Your Table: Floral Burst Tablecloth

A Q&A With Designer Stephen Eichhorn

Previously, we together dreamed up Aerial, a mesmerizing, earthy graphic based on a collage of canyons. For this summer, we’re going full bloom with Floral Burst, a fresh, bright tablecloth based on one of Stephen’s botanically inspired pieces.

The original Floral Burst collage is actually many colors on a black background, but by inverting all colors it developed into a beautiful range of blues, giving the appearance of flowers floating on water. Producing the tablecloth has been a year in the making to find just the right printer that could retain all colors and textures. Turns out, digital printing was the way to go and finally one of our Portuguese vendors had perfected it on quality fabric that withstood many wash tests.

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Floral Burst Tablecloths, $85.00 – 105.00

It’s the perfect time to get to know this talented artist and discover this project, which has us completely excited. Read our Q&A with Stephen below!

Unison: We loved working with you on Floral Burst. While it took a year to get the printing solidified, the creative process seemed to come about rather organically.

Stephen: Yes, this collaboration was an extension of our previous Aerial work. The floral burst pattern was taken from a relatively small collage that {Unison founders} Robert and Alicia further mediated. That’s been one of the joys of working with Unison – – the re-contextualization of existing work and the fact that we are typically, if not always, on the same page. In fact, the design process is pretty hands off on my end and is more about bouncing product ideas back and forth.

Unison: You often explore nature and organic shapes in your work. Why are you drawn to that theme and forms?

Stephen: I’ve been working on and slowly expanding my use of nature and organic shapes since I started making collage 7-8 years ago. I was initially drawn to the imagery because of its form and structure. Using found imagery and tracking down different collage components has led to other endeavors. For example, I came across orchids (that I’ve used in my studio practice) while hunting for floral imagery.

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Unison: This project is different than Aerial (which looked almost like a photo) because it’s more punchy and graphic in nature. How do you think these works differ and what in your creative process made each unique?

Stephen: They are both born from the same formal exploration of manipulating photographic material, but the imagery and the rules I assign to making them drives unique outcomes. Each piece is the result of making simple gestures with collage — the Floral Burst coming from a mirroring of form in response to the kind of cosmic strata of flowers. The Aerial piece came from a more simplistic stacking of pattern, therefore making a new pattern.

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Unison: What do you imagine as the ideal setting for the Floral Burst tablecloth?

Stephen: I like the idea of the tablecloth being used in a more informal context — outside at a cookout or in a mellow picnic setting.

Unison: How do you keep busy creatively beyond your collaborations with Unison?

Stephen: I am a working, self-employed artist so I am in the studio most days. Right now my time there is split between commissions (for private collections as well as work for several upcoming magazine features), developing new work and starting to make sculpture again.

Thanks, Stephen! We can’t wait to see what’s next from you. And, heads up to all you Unison shoppers: You can snap up the Floral Burst tablecloth online or in the Unison store.

 

Don’t forget to follow Stephen here:
Online:
http://www.stepheneichhorn.com

Blog:
http://stepheneichhorn.tumblr.com

Instagram:
https://instagram.com/stepheneichhorn