Textile designer embraces imperfection


Photo: Courtesy of Élan Byrd

Elan Byrd, artist and textile designer, says her aesthetic, which appears in all areas of her work and personal style, is a reflection of her journey to break free from building perfectionism. For her, it means doing raffia wall art and hand-woven rugs that celebrate organic, earthy texture and shapes in a modern way.

“As a designer, what inspires me the most is the genius of our ancestors and their use of nature’s resources,” she told Cut. “I am moved by what they built by hand, from the buildings they created to the textiles they made – themes that are found throughout my work.”

More recently she has designed a new collection of rugs and pillows exclusively for Lulu and Georgia focusing on rich textures and intentional construction. Everything is made from natural fibers like wool and cotton and then hand-woven, which Byrd says is an intentional meditative process that allows him to be sustainable in his practice of creating unique items.

We spoke with Byrd about his favorite artists, checkerboard prints and Birkenstocks.

What is the piece that you have created that is particularly meaningful to you?
the Virtues of the soul The Prints are a meaningful series that I created with the intention of serving as a reminder to prioritize the principles, beliefs, traits and ideals that we hold or aspire to achieve in our daily lives.

How to thank someone for a gift?
Depending on the person or the size of the gift, I usually thank someone with a handwritten note or send them something I made by hand as a thank you.

What would you never wear?
I firmly believe in never saying never. However, right now I just can’t see myself wearing bright neon colors.

What is your dream vacation?
My dream vacation would be a mix between an adventure trip to New Zealand or a month-long trip through Africa.

What’s a good book on your coffee table right now?
I currently have an extra-large copy of some of my favorite artists, Christo and Jeanne-Claude.

The last show you watched in a row?
I saw and caught up Succession in anticipation of season three which begins this fall.

What is your guilty pleasure?
A slice of vanilla cake is something I never feel guilty about. However, I try to limit eating it to random days of celebrating life or whenever I have a small career victory.

The secret to throwing a good party?
Tasty food is of the utmost importance as well as creating a space that has a great atmosphere, with mood lighting, music and great company. It all makes for a good party and a wonderful experience.

What is the trend that you like right now?
I still haven’t gotten past the checkerboard trend, and I particularly like its monochrome version.

The one you don’t understand?
Low waist jeans. I can’t believe they are making a comeback. I refuse to line up behind that one.

What is your favorite restaurant in New York?
When I was living in Brooklyn, one of my favorite local places was Colonia Verde in Fort Greene.

What’s the one thing you could eat everyday for the rest of your life?
Homemade banana bread or zucchini bread.

What shoes do you wear most often?
My most comfortable and worn sandals are my Birkenstocks and Avarcas Pons. They both had independent lives and will certainly be redeemed when the time comes.

What are the three inanimate objects that bring you joy?
I like an item that is practical and beautifully designed. Whether it’s an inspiration book for my work, a pair of earrings to adorn myself with, or just a flat folder to help me organize my studio life, each item adds joy in different areas of my life.


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