ARTIST INTERVIEW: Stephanie Cleary and Michelle Toney of Morrow Soft Goods
Morrow Soft Goods is Los Angeles based textile company new to the Echo Park Craft Fair this holiday season. Their soft alpaca throws, luxurious linen bed sets, and woven throw pillows are must-haves for a cozy winter home. Morrow is passionate about design, feel and durability, drawing design inspiration from around the world, and working with multiple suppliers to find the softest materials.We spoke with co-founders Stephanie Cleary and Michelle Toney about their creative journey and the philosophy behind their work.
Steph has worked in fashion since the age of 19 with a specialty as a denim designer. She has always had a passion for design and loves being given any sort of “impossible” task, so it’s no surprise she can balance a full time job, start a new company (Morrow) and recently welcome a sweet baby boy into the world!
Michelle worked as an architect before founding Morrow, including a time teaching architecture at Yale. She loves incorporating her knowledge and expertise into what the Morrow team does with color, composition, aesthetics, etc. Michelle’s and Stephanie’s husbands are also partners in Morrow Soft Goods.
How is your work inspired by or influenced by nature and your surroundings?
Everything is intended to look and feel effortless – casual in it’s own elevated way. We tend to look to nature for color direction. Sometimes our colors are influenced by a specific encounter – Other times, nature sets a mood or tone for a color story. In nature, we get to see soft elements of color with subtle pops that perfectly blend together. This is the main inspiration for our line, especially in the coming months. We’ll be launching products with pops of clay, rust, and navy emerged into the line. All inspired from the past summer – hot summer clay vs. a cooling ocean. (Stephanie Cleary)
Do you have a favorite creation, artwork, or design of your own?
I’m really excited about launching a new raw cotton collection this fall/holiday. It’s a range of pillows and oversized blankets that can also be displayed as wall hangings. Each one is one-of-a-kind and hand woven in Mexico by a small group of artisans. We chose to do these designs in Mexico due to the region’s expertise with raw cotton. I personally love raw cotton since the yarns are less refined and hold a unkempt beauty. Each piece has its own beautiful flaws. (Stephanie Cleary)
Do you feel like you’re part of a greater community of artists? If so, describe why?
Community is so important and really one of the most special things about working in Los Angeles. The collaboration, shared knowledge, creative support, and friendship of our artistic community is really something fundamental to us being able to start this company. Our whole team (which also includes our husbands Scott Cleary and James Toney) come from different creative fields and we count ourselves lucky to have such a talented and diverse community. Amongst our fellow creatives are film makers, musicians, composers, photographers, designers (in graphics, fashion, interiors, etc.) architects, actors, entrepreneurs, furniture makers, writers, ceramicists, painters … the list really goes on and on. It’s a remarkable time to be living here and chasing the dream. We are all better together. (Michelle Toney)
What is so special about making art NOW, in our hectic digital age?
Making our high quality, durable, premium soft goods is really something we see as part of the movement towards buying fewer things, buying higher quality things and taking care to keep your things for a long time. It’s the opposite of buying cheap disposable goods. It doesn’t surprise me that in this hectic digital age many people desire to value and connect with the physical objects they surround themselves with. We are definitely for that picky customer that considers their purchases and wants to buy something that will really feel good to own and keep for years and years to come. (Michelle Toney)