Lis Carpenter, when I think of a significant mentor for me this year, I think of Lis. Lis is an American living in Milan and has done so for 10 years
I was an intern for Lis for six months this year in Milan in her " bottega " where she sources fabrics and creates.....all things beautiful for the home.
Lis for me was a rock, but most certainly a colourful one. Entering into her bottega everyday day for six months was more than a pleasure, but a creative, fulfilling, challenging, growing and significant experience in my "career life".
The environment in the studio is warm, much like Lis, I think you just have to look around and what you see around you very much expresses Lis...colourful, patterned, original, organic, real, raw, bold, quality, well thought about and creative.
I asked Lis if she could answer a few questions for me and send me a few photo's of some of her work...here's what she wrote.
Give me a breif low down on your career.....
Bio-non-dégradable: Lis Carpenter “Cucire è sempre stata la mia passione ed ora è anche il mio lavoro. Dopo una carriera nella moda e nell'arredamento con Ralph Lauren a New York e Giorgio Armani a Milano, ho voluto tornare alle cose più semplici fatte con le mie mani. Così, nel 2009 ho aperto il mio Atelier nel cuore di Milano in un quartiere pieno di attività artigianali. I riferimenti e le ispirazioni che mi guidano provengono dai luoghi dove ho vissuto e soprattutto l'America rurale e Venezia, la Serenissima. Amo moltissimo la pittura rinascimentale del XIV e XV secolo, i quilt di Gee's Bend in Alabama, i motivi delle stoffe di Fortuny, i patchwork del Kentucky, la semplicità del design Shaker e i blocchi storici della Zucchi Collection of Antique Handblocks.”
Sewing has always been my passion and is now my work. After a career in fashion and home furnishings with Ralph Lauren in New York and Giorgio Armani in Milano I wanted to get back to the pure and simple pleasure of creating with my hands. Così, in 2009 I opened my Atelier in the heart of Milan in a very funky neighborhood filled with artisans, craftspersons, vintage shops and authentic "characters". My inspiration and references come from the places where I've lived, especially rural America and Venice the Most Serene. I love 15th century Renaissance paintings, the Quilts from Gee's Bend in Alabama, Fortuny fabrics patterns, Kentucky patchworks, the simplicity of Shaker design and the fabulous historical printing blocks from the Zucchi Collection of Antique Handblocks.
What inspries you? see above
Favourite food? any green vegetable, preferably bitter, with lots of fresh garlic, good olive oil and hot red pepper
What are you reading right now? just started "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
Three best cafe's in Milan? The very best is "Paolo's Ponky Bar" on the corner of Marco D'Oggiono and Cicco Simonetta. Completely authentic! Spritz and live music, good espresso and above all 100% humanity with humor and heart. "Cioccolati Italiani" is great for a good coffee and ice cream on the corner of Via dei Amicis and Conca del Naviglio. Then "Bar Magenta" on the corner of Via Carducci and Corso Magenta - good beer and sandwiches, good in the daytime, evening and late night.
What could America learn from Italy? Definitely how to cook, loosen up, be less competitive
and how to dress. Americans on holiday in Italy are such sore thumbs. Flip flops, t-shirts and shorts just doesn't cut it!
A curtain created from old family linens..
A bed head board cover created with a patch-work American flag
Swiss table centre pieces
September on Cresita Drive 250 x 250 cm
You can find her on http://www.liscarpenter-milano.com or visit her bottega in Milan, all details can be found on her site, or check her out on facebook search "Les patchworks de Lis".