Finding Hygge: Danish Coziness, the Garnet Hill Way


By Shawn Anderson, Garnet Hill Copywriter

Hygge (pronounced hue-gah or hoo-gah) is the Danish concept of sublime coziness. It highlights simplicity, nature, quiet moments, and creature comforts as a path to happiness.
As I explored that sentiment for this post, I realized that hygge (though I’d never called it by that name) has always been an integral part of Garnet Hill. It’s not only in our designs; it’s part of our culture.

Today, I arrived at the office a little later than usual due to what meteorologists would call a wintery mix. By the time I pulled into the lot, blue skies and sunlight poked through the silvery storm clouds. It was quiet, still, and calm. Everything was encased and glimmering in ice. I took a couple of photos with my phone and listened to the Gale River as it flows by the lot. The ice on the shallow rapids made a chilly, clinking sound, serene yet haunting.

I walked into the office, the original gambrel barn that housed the company when it outgrew the sugar shack down the road. It’s been remodeled, refurbished, and expanded over the years, but its charm is well preserved. It made me stop and wonder how it was back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Who occupied my workspace at the front of the building back in the day?

In the reception area, tufted furniture, embroidered Nordic pillows, and a mix of soothing neutral hues — warm beiges, cool grays, and winter whites — greeted me.

I entered the Art Department and noticed a wonderful smell. Moira, one of our web designers, baked this morning, and had placed two ceramic dishes of scones on the meeting table. They were still warm, and their glaze resembled the latticework of icy branches outside the window. Golden scones with raisins and just a hint of orange, they were sunshine on this cold wintry day.

As people came in from the cold, they gathered at the table, savoring their morning coffee and scones. I observed their signature-Garnet-Hill garb: a coworker layered in a thick marled turtleneck sweater, another in sleek black yoga pants dressed up with a rosy cashmere wrap, and yet another in a simple yet chic black shift by Eileen Fisher.

Our spring catalog sat on each desktop, fresh off the press. The cover, simple yet striking, did not feature a product, which is another Garnet Hill signature. This issue was dressed with a cluster of verdigris succulents and fresh lemon to symbolize the coming of spring. The image was an artistic moment, a reflection of things to come, a hint of the tone we wish to set for the season with the new collection.

The office was a bit chilly, so I lifted the cotton-fleece throw draped over the back of my chair, the throw we have sold forever, and tossed it over my shoulders while my Mac booted up.

I thought about how much I like this throw: its deep shade of blue, its thickness, its softness, and its warmth. So cozy on cold winter mornings like today, and just as dependable in the summertime when the air conditioning is cranked up high.

Cozy. Happy. This is what hygge means to me. This is what it’s like at Garnet Hill.

Designer Judy Ross on India, Inspiration, and Collaboration with Artisans

In the early days of her career as a designer, Judy Ross commuted between her houseboat and her artisans’ homes in a shikara, a slender skiff with palm leaf paddles used in the lake region of Kashmir. Every element of her life in India was fresh, inspirational, a creative journey.

From her start back in the ‘80s in India with a team of artisans, designer Judy Ross continues to produce intricate work, and now brings those designs to Garnet Hill with a distinctive home collection.

The quality and originality of Ross’s textile and rug collections remain definitively out of the ordinary, and her graphic designs are unmistakably hers. She’s forever evolving her sensibilities, but there’s a constant thread that has run through her beautiful designs for decades.

We recently caught up with Judy Ross to discuss her creative vision and her connections to the artisans that she works with.

“My first trip to India in 1989, I remember walking into a little mud-brick production hut in Srinagar where an early collection was being prototyped. The artisans had put my full-size paper collages up on the walls to show placement and coloring. With all the motifs hanging on the walls, it looked like a gallery show. The artisans support me in what I do, and I support them. It takes a lot of loyalty and the wonderfully collaborative spirit of working together.”

“I have a fine-art degree and studied painting in school. My painting style was always decorative, so it was easy to move back and forth between painting and textiles. Working with artisans, they get to translate my brushstrokes into stitches. This creates a collaborative vision.”

“From hand-dying the color and hand-weaving the fabric to embroidering and embellishing pieces with print, it is a luxury to work with artisans since 1989. I love things that are made in this fashion. All the products I have done with Garnet Hill have that same care and attention to detail in the way they are made.”

“I love India and cherish the relationship I have with my artisans all these years. I really love the colors, the culture, and the spirit of the people. There’s a great sense of humor there and I love to laugh when I am working!”

“I love creating the pillows with artisans and seeing what they come up with and how they interpret the vision with their stitch work. I still to this day enjoy the surprise when I receive my first prototypes.”

“When I create, I usually use a sketch, a watercolor, or a pen-and-ink drawing. I choose the application: the type of embroidery, the colors, the stitch work. I primarily work with chain-stitching. I love the straight simplicity of it, the feel that it creates — the texture. That’s my medium of choice in terms of how I interpret my work. I approach all my designing in that manner, and hope to get the simplicity and texture in other mediums like printing and weaving.”

“I realized early on that I had an original design voice, and I followed this passion throughout my career, working with artisans in India and Nepal. From my sketches to their careful handwork, a collaborative vision is created.”

About Judy Ross

Judy Ross Textiles® is a NY-based design studio known for its distinctively clean and modern design of products ranging from pillows, rugs, throws, and curtains, to upholstery and bedcovers. Judy Ross brings together color, detail, and texture to create distinctive home textiles. Attracting a loyal clientele, Judy Ross has designed custom pieces for interior designers, architects and major hotels around the world, among them the Hyatt, Hilton and W Hotels. Her heirloom-quality hand-embroidered textiles are included in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Garnet Hill is thrilled to launch our exclusive design collaboration with Judy Ross. The collection includes bedding, rugs, towels, storage solutions, and more. It’s an ideal partnership, balancing Judy Ross’s fresh, modern aesthetic with Garnet Hill’s signature quality.

Sheets 101: Bedding Fabrics Explained

Garnet Hill Mums Hemstitched Supima Percale Bedding

There’s no question about it: better fibers and fabrics make a more beautiful bed.
Below is a guide to help you select the bed linens that are right for you.

The Fabrication 4-1-1


FLANNEL

Bed Sheet Types: Flannel. Garnet Hill Signature Flannel Bedding.
Warm, soft, exquisitely cozy — flannel bedding is a signature at Garnet Hill. Our flannel sheets offer comfort in soothing colors and distinctive patterns and prints. Woven from top-quality 100% cotton with a loose texture and a napped surface, our flannel is brushed for enhanced softness. This bedding is not only a great way to ward off winter’s chill; it provides warmth and a velvety touch all year long.


PERCALE

Bed Sheet Types: Percale. Garnet Hill Solid Hemstitched Supima Percale Bedding.
Our 100% cotton percale is a smooth plain weave, offering a cool, crisp finish that’s ideal for people who tend to get too warm when they sleep. This bedding is comfy any time of year, but especially in warmer weather. Quality percale sheets have 200-400 threads per square inch. They take color beautifully, making them the ideal background for our most original prints.


JERSEY KNIT

Bed Sheet Types: Jersey-Knit. Garnet Hill Solid Jersey-Knit Bedding.
Jersey sheets are knit, not woven from 100% cotton, making them highly breathable; they are more substantial than percale yet cooler than flannel. Their comfy T-shirt-like feel makes them a great choice for all seasons. Our jersey-knit bedding is designed not to torque or twist on the bed, it drapes beautifully wash after wash. Jersey is an ideal pick for every bedroom from kids’ beds and dorm rooms to inviting guest accommodations.


SATEEN

Bed Sheet Types: Sateen. Garnet Hill Sateen Sheets.
Luxurious and elegant down to the last detail, our 100% cotton sateen sheets are specially woven to create a silky, subtly lustrous finish. Whether it’s washed for softness, wrinkle resistant, or adorned with an intricate original print, this bedding tends to have a higher thread count than percale. It’s a sophisticated choice for a master suite or guest bedroom.


Cotton 101: Back to the Luxurious Basics

ORGANIC COTTON

Bed Sheet Types: Organic Cotton. Eileen Fisher Rippled Organic Cotton Coverlet and Shams.
This cotton is grown with fewer synthetic fertilizers and pesticides than conventional crops, making it a welcomed choice for clothing, home textiles, and bedding. Certified-organic cotton’s quality either matches or exceeds that of non-organic cottons, yet it supports biodiversity, and healthier ecosystems.


EGYPTIAN COTTON

Bed Sheet Types: Egyptian Cotton. Garnet Hill Washed Sateen Bedding.
Strong, lustrous, longer staple — Egyptian cotton is largely produced in the Nile Valley, although it is grown elsewhere in the world as well. Egyptian cotton staples tend to range from 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″ long, making them a preferred fiber for quality bedding.


PIMA COTTON

Bed Sheet Types: Pima Cotton. Garnet Hill Hemstitched Supima Flannel Bedding
A superior variety of cotton named after the Pima tribe of Native Americans, Pima is grown primarily in Peru and the southwestern United States. Pima cotton has a smooth, extra-long staple that has a sophisticated silky quality to its hand.


SUPIMA® COTTON

Bed Sheet Types: Supima Cotton. Garnet Hill Bittersweet Supima Flannel Bedding.
A trademark name used for American-grown pima cotton, Supima® is an acronym for “superior pima.”


The Rustic Elegance of Linen

Bed Sheet Types: Linen. Eileen Fisher Washed Linen Bedding.
Pure linen or blended with cotton, linen bedding is synonymous with all-season comfort. This soft, textural fabric is made from flax, a fiber of the Linum plant, and is treasured for its strength and breathability.

VIDEO: Introducing Judy Ross Textiles® by Garnet Hill


Thank you to Editor at Large for hosting the interview and shooting the video.

Judy Ross Textiles is a NY-based design studio known for its distinctively clean and modern design of products ranging from pillows, rugs, throws, and curtains, to upholstery and bedcovers. Attracting a loyal clientele, Judy Ross has designed custom pieces for interior designers, architects and major hotels around the world, among them the Hyatt, Hilton and W Hotels.

Garnet Hill was inspired by Judy’s use of centuries-old artisan chain-stitch techniques. We’re thrilled to launch our exclusive design collaboration with Judy Ross. The collection balances Judy’s fresh, modern aesthetic with Garnet Hill’s signature quality.

SHADES OF SPRING: Judy Ross Textiles Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win three Judy Ross home designs and a $100 Gift Card by choosing your favorite spring shade!

Ideas for a Simple and Cozy Valentine’s Day

Garnet Hill Cashmere Wrap

Photo Credit: Chuck Olu-Alabi

Valentine’s day is fast approaching, and if you’re looking for style tips or gifting inspiration, you’ve come to the right spot. We’ve asked Charlotte Betts, blogger at Milk n Honee to share two simple tips on making this Valentine’s Day one to remember. This year’s theme? Cashmere.
They say that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and I wholeheartedly agree. Here are some simple outfit and gifting ideas that could make all the difference this Valentine’s Day.

1. OUTFIT: Keep it stylishly simple.

This year, I dare you to step outside of that “conventional date night look” and try something simple yet stylish. We’ve all heard that less is more, and the same goes for personal style. The secret to upping the ante on basic pieces is to accessorize them the right way. A white button down blouse paired with a cashmere wrap, your favorite trousers, and a pair of heels provides effortless style.

Garnet Hill Cashmere Wrap

Photo Credit: Chuck Olu-Alabi

2. GIFTING: Thoughtful and cozy.

Valentine’s Day gifts are synonymous with jewelry. While there’s nothing wrong with another pair of earrings, I dare you to think outside the box this year!
My husband and I recently took an online quiz to help us discover our love language and I was surprised to find out that mine was receiving gifts. Everyone loves a thoughtful gift. I personally prefer intangible gifts – like an experience, a trip or an adventure – as they create special memories. Presents can be thoughtful as well, and simplicity is again the key.

Garnet Hill Mohair Throw

Photo Credit: Chuck Olu-Alabi

Who wouldn’t love to receive a soft, cozy blanket? Whether I’m working in my office, or on the couch catching up on my favorite shows, there’s always a throw somewhere nearby. This mohair throw in soft pink is my new favorite gift idea!

Hopefully these tips will spark a little inspiration this Valentine’s Day. Got any advice you’d like to share?

Garnet Hill Sponsors Local WREN Art Show

Garnet Hill Sponsors Local WREN Art Show - The Gallery at WREN

The gallery at WREN (Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network), located on Main Street in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, kicked off its 2017 season with a gala event to preview art from shows scheduled over the next year. Garnet Hill is proud to sponsor one of these shows and be among other community businesses and local patrons supporting shows in 2017.

The show we are sponsoring is entitled INTERWINED ROOTS: ART OF THE FOREST. It is scheduled for October, and features the sculpture of Daniela Snow, the artwork of Michele Motuzas, and the photography Ruth Ann Hacking.

WREN Art Show - The Gallery at WREN
The WREN gallery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show celebrating the gala event will be up through January 30, and was sponsored by the White Mountain School.

Our web and blog designer, Jason Tors, will have paintings in the September show, together with the artwork of Larry Golden and Ann Steuernagel. On the first Friday of every month, the Gallery at WREN hosts an open house to kick off the new monthly show and featured artists.

About WREN
WREN is a nationally recognized non-profit that provides and supports strategies for entrepreneurial development, access to markets, Main Street revitalization, and rural economic development. WREN inspires possibilities, creates opportunities, and builds connection through community and is dedicated to bringing rural people together to realize better lives and livelihoods by providing resources, education, and opportunity. For further information, visit www.wrenworks.org

How to Feng Shui Your Wardrobe

As we began the new year, we asked our friend Adri, blogger of Adri Lately, to share her advice on simplifying your wardrobe and learning to value the basics.

There’s something about a new year that makes me focus on simplifying for the better. Enter my closet – the source of a daily task that can either be overwhelming or effortless.

There’s nothing more reassuring than beginning your day with a happy closet. And that means it’s time to find balance. Here are some insights to help you get there…

LEARN TO LET GO

This is an art which, for this one-time trend-lover and emotional hoarder, was tough. Look at the things you constantly reach for, and set those aside. Ask yourself, why do I wear them so often? Now look at the items you haven’t worn in 6 months to a year. Ask yourself, why don’t I wear them? You could be holding onto unworn pieces of clothing for emotional reasons. Sometimes you have to dig deep and let it go.

GO BACK TO THE BASICS

Basics are staples that will make or break your wardrobe. Be sure you have enough of them to support it. Identify the items you love to wear – the cardigans, the t-shirts – and consider investing in similar styles with superior quality.
Adri, Blogger of Adri Lately, in the Garnet Hill Silk-Trimmed Knit Cardigan
Adri, Blogger of Adri Lately, in the Garnet Hill Silk-Trimmed Knit Cardigan
I’m a huge believer in owning jacket and cardigan styles as wardrobe staples. I found this Silk Trimmed Knit Cardigan to be an upgrade to my collection. The trim detail is that special touch that I look for before an item makes it into my closet. Remember, basics do not have to be boring.

Adri, Blogger of Adri Lately, in the Garnet Hill Silk-Trimmed Tunic
Adri, Blogger of Adri Lately, in the Garnet Hill Silk-Trimmed Tunic

HANG WITH LOVE

One of the quickest ways to give your closet a refresh is to change the hangers. It’s not only visually appealing, but your clothes will be better for it. Nobody likes those hanger bumps your shirts and sweaters get on the shoulders from cheap hangers.

With these three tips, you can make getting dressed easy again. Do you know of other ways to Feng Shui your closet?

ON LOCATION: Shooting Spring ‘17 with Garnet Hill, PART 2: TUSCANY

In September of 2016, our photography team spent three weeks shooting Spring ‘17 swimwear and clothing collections in two unforgettable settings: the Greek island of Naxos, and Tuscany.

You can work 12-hour days with nowhere to sit. You can endure steamy heat and bounce for hours along cobblestone roads in a rented van crammed with photography equipment. And still, friends and coworkers will not countenance your complaints …  because, after all, you are in Tuscany.

One of the most naturally beautiful places on earth.

Castello Di Argiano in Tuscany, one of two vineyards where the Spring ’17 Garnet Hill catalog was photographed.

Castello Di Argiano in Tuscany, one of two vineyards where the Spring ’17 Garnet Hill catalog was photographed.

Better still, you are a guest, as we were, at Castello Di Argiano, the estate of Giuseppe Maria Sesti – astronomer, author, winemaker – his daughter Elisa, co-director of the vineyard, and his wife Sarah, a fine gardener and cook.

Guiseppe takes us on tour.

Guiseppe takes us on tour.

tuscany3
Sesti is among a small but growing number of biodynamic wineries in Italy where constellations and the celestial calendar are factored into strategies for planting, growing, and harvesting grapes.

PHENOMENA commemorates a significant astronomical event that occurred on September 6, 2005 during harvest. After sunset, the conjunction of the planets venus and jupiter, the star spica (the ear of cohn) together with the sickle of the new moon. The event took place over the constellation Virgo.during the year of harvest.

PHENOMENA commemorates a significant astronomical event that occurred on September 6, 2005 during harvest. After sunset, the conjunction of the planets venus and jupiter, the star spica (the ear of cohn) together with the sickle of the new moon. The event took place over the constellation Virgo.during the year of harvest.

The elements of a Tuscany wine cellar: stone, glass, grapes, oak, time.

The elements of a Tuscany wine cellar: stone, glass, grapes, oak, time.

Giuseppe has written five books on ancient calendar systems. He analyzes the influence of the moon on vines and the making of wine, minimizing sulphites along the way. His tables of small and large moon cycles are employed in agriculture to reduce the use of chemicals on the land.

Good morning!

Good morning!

Cypress trees and border hedges at Castello Di Argiano

Cypress trees and border hedges at Castello Di Argiano

Serenity now.

Serenity now.

The Sesti estate is 254 acres, encompassing vineyards, olive groves and woodland. The vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of Montalcino, where some of the most notable Brunello wines originate.

An offering at harvest time.

An offering at harvest time.

The Glorious Constellations: History and Mythology by Giuseppe Maria Sesti

The Glorious Constellations: History and Mythology by Giuseppe Maria Sesti

The Tuscan countryside in September.

The Tuscan countryside in September.

After a long day, a fine dinner in a former chapel at the estate.

After a long day, a fine dinner in a former chapel at the estate.

Long legs in a tiny Italian car. The car is an Autobianchini.

Long legs in a tiny Italian car. The car is an Autobianchini.

The photo crew, on location.

The photo crew, on location.

Ancient stonework is everywhere, delighting photographers. In places, historic artifacts were long ago subsumed by homes built around them.

Ancient stonework is everywhere, delighting photographers. In places, historic artifacts were long ago subsumed by homes built around them.

While driving home one night, our crew caught sight of a herd of 20 wild boar in the headlights. They disappeared into the vineyards before we could get a photo.

While driving home one night, our crew caught sight of a herd of 20 wild boar in the headlights. They disappeared into the vineyards before we could get a photo.

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy,” said composer Giuseppe Verdi. We’ll take Tuscany, the embodiment of our mantra: Beautiful, Naturally.™ Watch for the photography in our spring ’17 catalog.

~~~

Epilogue

Returning from balmy Tuscany to New Hampshire in late September, we walked across the street from the parking lot to the Garnet Hill office and heard a clack-clack-clacking as cars drove past. It couldn’t be, yet there it was …

People had begun switching over to studded snow tires.

GREEN IN EVERY COLOR: 5 ways to add sustainability to your shopping list for clothing and décor

Green in Every Color - Living SustainablyYou’d like to minimize your ecological footprint when choosing a new piece for the wardrobe, or new furnishings for the home. But what do you look for?

Here are five places to start. (We could offer 10, but in the spirit of the thing, we’re conserving…)

  1. Consider owning fewer, better things. When they’re made better, they last longer. Ask anyone who drives a classic Volvo or Mercedes, cooks with a cast iron pan handed down through the generations, or reads in a vintage leather chair inherited from a grandparent. A generation or two back, closets were smaller, too.
  2. Choose seasonless style. When a top is versatile enough to be worn through multiple seasons, the closet need not be refreshed quite so often. Layer a polo in spring, wear it solo in summer, layer it again in fall.
  3. Shop for timeless design. Timeless design is the antithesis of short-trend, disposable, “fast fashion.” It’s the classics. The jacquard jacket, the merino sweater, the versatile cashmere wrap. Around the house, forgo the “color of the year” in favor of neutrals accented with black, navy, and dark green. Your goal for the long term is understatement, simplicity, elegance.
  4. Consider sustainable fibers from animal sources. Alpacas grazing the highlands of Peru are sheared just once annually, year after year; farming them helps to preserve open land, as well. Kashmir goats and Merino sheep, herded responsibly, produce wool each year with less impact on the environment than traditional petroleum-based, manmade fibers.
  5. … and seek sustainable fibers from plant sources. Tencel, also called lyocell, has an especially smooth hand – similar to that of rayon – yet is a product of trees that’s called wood cellulose. Look for it in blouses, comforters, and rugs. Organic cotton is grown with fewer synthetic fertilizers and pesticides than conventional crops, and is found in better clothing and home goods. Its quality is as good as or better than non-organic cottons, yet it supports biodiversity, and healthier ecosystems.

Reclaimed materials are ever more prevalent today, too.
A recent favorite of ours is an EILEEN FISHER basket made in part from recycled prayer rugs. Amen to that!

This is but a primer. We’ll continue to explore sustainability in all its forms, and hope you’ll join us.
The approach seems only natural.

ON LOCATION: Shooting Spring ‘17 with Garnet Hill, PART 1: NAXOS

In September of 2016, our photography team spent three weeks shooting Spring ‘17 swimwear and clothing collections in two unforgettable settings: the Greek island of Naxos, and Tuscany.

Situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea, Naxos is the largest of the Cycladic islands, and the stage upon which many events in Greek mythology are set.

Zeus – king of the Greek gods, and not one to be trifled with – was said to have been raised on Naxos; Zas, its tallest mountain, is named for him.

The wedding of Dionysus and Ariadne is said to have blessed the island with the fertility in its earth and the wine in its inhabitants.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. Morning energy, all smiles.

Morning energy, all smiles.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. In the Aegean Sea.

In the Aegean Sea

The island boasts mountains, fertile valleys, gorges, traditional villages, monasteries, castles, and, of particular interest to us for a swim shoot, seascapes.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. We constructed this set on the beach, to add dimension. You’ll see it in our catalog and online.

We constructed this set on the beach, to add dimension. You’ll see it in our catalog and online.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. Crew and model at work.

Crew and model at work.

Did you catch the Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown http://youtu.be/eLu3dUvHVvk episode on the Greek Islands? It was part of the reason we chose Naxos. Many Greek islands have been our backdrop over the years, including Crete, Paros, Mykonos, and Corfu.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. Filtering the light. Shoots typically pause for 90 minutes at noon, when the sun is directly overhead and less favorable.

Filtering the light. Shoots typically pause for 90 minutes at noon, when the sun is directly overhead and less favorable.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. Guess which one is the model.

Guess which one is the model.

The crew members we convened for this trip hail from Los Angeles, New York, Argentina, New Zealand, England, France, Greece, and Brazil. Two had birthdays during the shoot and were sung a birthday song in English, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. A memorable celebration, though one gets hungry for cake by the end.

We were always made to feel welcome on Naxos by the local folks, many of whom spoke English. But their hospitality came as no surprise. Zeus has always been a protector of strangers and guests.

Garnet Hill Photo Shoot on Naxos, Spring 2017. A long day done.

A long day done.