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What To Do With Fabric Samples?

12 Jun

Who doesn't love colorful squares of fabric you'll probably never use?!

At some point early on in a young designer’s training, he or she will have the opportunity to start collecting product samples.  At first the collection will be small:  some fabric swatches, a fan deck, a tiny granite slab, and a few pieces of wood flooring in a variety of stains.  An older, more experienced designer will tell the young designer-in-training, “Someday, you’ll have too many samples and you’ll just want to get rid of them.  They junk-up your office and take up too much space.  Trust me.”  The younger designer won’t trust this, and will proceed to go on collecting as many life-changing 4” x 4” squares of design porn that will never be used in a project but will make stunning content for organizational boxes.

I got my first *real* opportunity to start building a massive arsenal of fabric samples at Knoll.  About a half dozen of us were escorted through the showroom on a class visit, and after getting our fill of Platner and Saarinen tables we were deposited in a back room with gleaming white lacquer walls and handed black fabric totes displaying the Knoll logo.  Then…the walls opened up and about sixty-eight billionfinity squares of commercial grade fabric were in front of us. “Take as many as you want. No, really, as many as you want,” said the product rep.  I took about 200.  Ok, I took about 300.

That was years ago, and now, as a designer with a HOME office in a condo that fits me, my husband, our toddler, and a large cat comfortably, it’s becoming a challenge to house my office in a way that is manageable.  I’ve taken to hauling some samples in when I teach my continuing education classes and practically begging students to take them from me; they’re always too polite and take two, maybe three things.  I’ve come up with some creative ways to re-purpose recycled glass counter top squares and 3-Form pieces, but a girl needs to save some writing material for later so that’s for another blog post.  I just can’t figure out what to do with this box of hundreds of tiny fabric samples, and the hoarder in me won’t allow me to donate them to a design library just yet.

Beckett Wins. He always does.

Then, this past week, it seems my son solved this problem all on his own by commandeering the box, my first ever box of *real* fabric samples, and ripping them apart for his own toddler-esque pleasure.  Anything to give me 15 minutes of peace these days is a blessing, so this seems like a satisfactory solution to me.  Into the toy box they go; most of them are probably out of production now anyway.


Design consultations for all styles and budgets: JGB Interiors.

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