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INSPIRATION | February 21, 2023 | By Saxon Henry
Winterthur House of Style
We have an exciting event to announce on the blog today. We’re a proud sponsor of the Winterthur House of Style event that will take place throughout March. We’re sharing the news early in case you want to make plans to travel to Delaware for one or all of the fun and informative experiences. We present each of the events below, and they are also described on Winterthur’s events page where you can sign up. As the organizers so aptly put it, “March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb, but at Winterthur, it will do so in style!”
Winterthur House of Style
The Zara Medium Lantern is one of our designs in the Winterthur Collection that has been in our product line up for decades.
Be sure to read to the end of the post because once we tell you about the programming that will be taking place, we asked the museum’s Kris DeMesse to tell our readers about the inspiration behind the House of Style. We also invite you to visit our Winterthur Collection, which includes the products we’ve created that were inspired by historical designs in the museum’s holdings.
Margot Show, editor of Flower and author of Living Floral, will present during the Winterthur House of Style event. Photo by Becky Luigart-Stayner.
On March 4, Margot Shaw, the Editor-in-Chief of Flower Magazine and author of Living Floral, will speak about the magic of flowers from her point of view. Her talk will feature a seasonal glimpse into the worlds of floral, garden, architectural, and interior designers, highlighting their styles when it comes to including arrangements in their spaces or their gardens when entertaining and decorating. This will be followed by floral demonstrations and a botanicals workshop; and she will be signing copies of her book, Living Floral, in the Museum store afterwards.
Erika Kurtz, COO and designer for New Moon Rugs, will present during Winterthur’s House of Style. Photo courtesy New Moon.
On March 11, Erika Kurtz, COO and designer for New Moon Rugs, will discuss Art Under Foot. Kurtz will illustrate how remaining "radically old-school" in the way fine rugs are made is actually pushing the envelope in design and interiors. Design philosophies and aesthetics are ever-changing, though fine craftsmanship is never out of style. She will walk attendees through the history and process of designing and creating these true works of art that grace our floors and enliven our spaces. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion about the ancient art of handmade rug weaving for a modern world and a pop-up centered around “Fashioning Yuletide.”
Marie Coleman-Johns, owner of Maiden September Calligraphy, will lead attendees through an introduction to calligraphy. Photo courtesy Maiden September.
On March 18, attendees will glean an introduction to calligraphy with Delaware-based wedding and brand calligrapher Marie Coleman-Johns, owner of Maiden September Calligraphy. During the two-hour, in-person workshop, those present will learn the basic strokes, how to form letters, how to use a brush pen and an ink dip pen, and will receive worksheets to use after the workshop to continue practicing this beautiful artform.
Scott Kravet, the Executive Creative Director of Kravet, Inc., will present during the Winterthur House of Style event. Photo courtesy Kravet.
And on March 23, Scott Kravet, the Executive Creative Director of Kravet, Inc., will head up a series of presentations that include talks on Toile, Handblocks, and Art Deco. As he explores these different styles and eras, he will highlight how the Kravet archive contains so many beautiful documents and how they are used to create textiles for current-day interiors. He will also be presenting some of the company’s latest acquisitions. During his talk on Handblocks, he will explain how they endure as rare treasures in the design world, as special textiles are works of art in their own right and date back centuries. Attendees will see this from the artisan prints and the blocks themselves, which are also contained in the Kravet archives. Following these, a meet and mingle will take place in the Museum store.
An Interview with Kris DeMesse
Henry Francis du Pont and his wife Ruth in 1916. Image courtesy of Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library.
C&C: What inspired Winterthur to produce the House of Style?
KD: This is what we hope will be our first annual Winterthur House of Style Design Month. Winterthur as long been renowned for its extraordinary collection of home decor, it’s brilliant naturalistic garden, and its storied agricultural excellence but Henry Francis du Pont is also widely recognized as one of the 20th-century’s most important interior designers. As recently as 2014 House Beautiful included him on their family tree of American Design as one of its founders.
C&C: Tell us about the choice of Shaw, Kurtz, and Kravet: that’s a nice spectrum of talent in different aspects of design.
KD: H.F. du Pont loved flowers and considered himself Winterthur’s head gardener. His interior design style relied heavily on the use of fresh flowers, floral patterned textiles, and interior color schemes that reflected exterior color. Margot Shaw’s lovely book Living Floral exemplifies and illustrates these tenets used in interiors today. What a perfect fit!
New Moon Rugs is a nationally known brand located right in our city. New Moon is celebrating 30 years in the rug business this year, and Erika Kurtz’s fresh and brilliant rug designs celebrate the best of traditional design brought forward for today’s interiors. Mr. du Pont was doing exactly that in the design of Winterthur in the early 20th century using traditional furniture, rugs, accessories, and textiles in new and modern ways.
Brunschwig & Fils/Kravet is Winterthur’s oldest licensed partnership and arguably one of our most successful. Henry du Pont amassed a vast collection of rare and beautiful fabrics, many of which he masterfully used in decorating his home, Winterthur. We have reproduction Brunschwig fabric used in certain rooms of the mansion in lieu of original fabrics that have been deemed too fragile. Scott Kravet has visited Winterthur many times and is passionate about our textiles. How perfect to have him share his encyclopedic knowledge with our visitors!
One of the shady paths banked by the Azalea Woods, which the Harvard Arboretum describes as an enduring masterpiece designed by du Pont. Image by Carter Wilkie courtesy of Harvard.
C&C: Does the House of Style reflect Winterthur’s mission in some way? If so, can you explain?
KD: The month of workshops, lectures, and activities centered on great design and style rooted in tradition will be very much a reflection of our mission and Mr. du Pont’s wishes, which he describes in this statement: “I sincerely hope that the Museum will be a continuing source of inspiration and education for all time, and that the gardens and grounds will of themselves be a country place museum where visitors may enjoy as I have, not only the flowers, trees and shrubs, but also the sunlit meadows, shady wood paths, and the peace and great calm of a country place which has been loved and taken care of for three generations.”
A Beautiful Legacy
The care and love continue as Winterthur’s staff not only maintains every aspect of the museum, as well as its collection and grounds, its members create programming like the House of Style to share Mr. du Pont’s vision for the future with those who love fine design. We’re so thrilled to be a small part of this beautiful legacy!