What do a heritage Venetian fabric house and a modern-day artist in Brooklyn have in common? A lot more than you may think. Both love fabrics. Both love things handmade with time and souls woven into them. Both have a foot in a pass and one in the future – the latter whimsical but in perfect harmony with its sophisticated, history loving counterpart.
That was the reason why Mickey Riad, the creative director of Fortuny, tapped on artist Ann Wood to create a line of miniature “creatures” with Fortuny fabrics. He stumbled upon her works in a design blog and liked them so much that he decided to reach out. It was perhaps a not-surprising coincidence that Ann has been collecting and making objects with Fortuny fabrics since she could remember.
In her book The New Artisans, Olivier Dupon, gave us a glimpse into the world of Ann Wood – a “craft wizard” whose imagination and skills of the hands turned humble scraps into a magical world of miniature creatures. Working with salvaged materials including cardboard and vintage textiles, Ann gave them a new life beyond their previous forms of existence. The eyes of her owls, made from buttons, emit a look of contemplation and melancholy; the way her birds cock their head and broaden their chest is playfully bird-y. Last year, she made a fleet of pirate birds exclusively for Fortuny – the birds are hanging out at the showroom in New York while their stylishly ragged boat has sailed to Fortuny’s showroom Venice.
In her latest collaboration with Fortuny, Ann created a family of Ants – The Beaumonts, Fifth Avenue’s most stylist arthropods – where all members of the family have their own personality. Ann spent hours to give Elise the mother ant a womanly profile; her husband Roger a more sturdy frame like that of a father. Even the rag doll, made out of Fortuny’s Scirocco linen, has a personality (and a name) of her own. The ants project carry the concept of micro-world which is the cornerstone of Fortuny’s W/S2016 collection. With Ann’s creatures, we walk, crawl, fly, and sail into a world of wonder, colors, old stuff reborn and fragments made whole through the imagination and the hands.