I've followed Filling Spaces for years. In fact, my mom used to live a few blocks from their first store in NW Portland. I'm constantly inspired by what they are creating. Their patterns have so much depth to them.
Last fall when we had our Portland book signing at Schoolhouse Electric - Deepali and her daughter popped by to see us. It was such a treat getting to know her more and we've since stayed connected. This brand is killing it right now!
When I went up to Portland I reached out about popping by for samples for a few projects. Deepali and her team welcomed me into their new re-designed studio/showroom. Let's just say that I left inspired. I needed a dose of inspiration after so many months of being at home.
I'm excited to share a little more about Filling Spaces today. Please pop over to their site - I guarantee you'll be in heaven with their pieces!
Tell us about the history of Filling Spaces. How did you get started?
I will have to take you twenty-two years back to answer that one. I worked in India, surrounded by textiles, creating product lines for buyers from various fashion and home brands. I then had an arranged marriage, moved to the US, and started looking for a job in textile or fashion-related studios. My first job was working in a fabric store as a sales associate because that was all I could find. I also decided to go back to school for an interior design degree. After I finished school, I decided to reach out to my textile contacts in India and begin designing textiles again—that was the start of Filling Spaces. I visited with my friends, designed some textiles, and approached the interior design community in Portland to introduce them to the custom options and availability in my fabric designs.
I'd love to know more about your creative process. You have such beautiful patterns. Where do you start? How do you decide which patterns and colors to go with each season?
My creative process is the "best of both worlds." India is full of textures; it's an absolute feast for senses and spirit. Living in the US for 18 years has influenced me in so many ways, especially with my love for travel and exploring other regions and cultures; all that plays an important part when I am doodling my ideas. It all starts with a simple sketch, then working on pattern repeat and then planning the right fabric for the design. Most every pattern, either hand-blocked or handwoven, is hand-drawn just like old fashioned way by me. And then finally collaborating printing or weaving techniques with the artisans. I try to stay on trend with color choices yet stay true to our story.
It's amazing that you work together - in Portland and India. How is it working so far apart from one another?
Working with a family member, especially my sister, was the best decision I made. I am the design and marketing part of the company, she is the manufacturing side, and we bring the best of both worlds. She takes care of the day to day handling of fabric manufacturing, production, and logistics. I plan the designs, collection, and working one on one with the Designers and Retailers. We try to plan our day around the time difference between India and USA -12hrs (what's app- not sure if people are familiar here. It' s texting app commonly used in India )helps a lot! with photo exchange and day to day updates, of course, face time at least twice a day when she's at the studio so I can see all the live-action:)
Your pillows are stunning - love the details of each pattern and the ability to customize. You also have a line of quilts, bags, etc. Tell us about how you've expanded into different products.
It was an organic process; one thing leads to another after designing the line of pillows. Our customers, especially Interior designers, desired to use the fabric for other applications like draperies and upholstery, so we introduced "fabric by yard" to trade only- which is doing very well. Some smaller boutiques approached us to make bags in our fabric, staying true to our story; we created products that fit our ensemble well.
You recently re-designed your studio space. I had the pleasure of going - it's beautiful! Tell us a little bit about this decision.
My main goal with the office space was to create a space that would be ideal for working from home. My dream of having an in-house creative studio started when I decided to close my brick and mortar shop in Portland and focus more on product creation and wholesale. I wanted to have a home-based business to spend time with my two growing kids. Designing the new office was really about creating the ideal live workspace.
I had dreamed about renovating our space for years, so to see an area that truly fit our needs coming to life was so gratifying. Now it's more of an open and airy studio space where we can display our products and create mood boards and style photos.
Do you have a favorite print, pillow, piece right now?
Yes, Kochin Noir on saffron is my favorite print, and Nisa Lush pillows I can't have enough-- I want that in every room!
A HUGE thank you to Deepali and her team for letting me come visit their showroom and studio while I was in Portland.
Photography by me