Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers: InStyle Magazine

For the July issue of InStyle magazine I was asked, “What’s your favorite hostess gift?” I’m quoted, “So evocative of summer in New England, these block-printed place mats can be given as a set. Or you can frame one to hang on the wall.” I adore Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers! Her studio is one of my favorite local treasures. I have a whole box of placements I picked up on my last visit to Sarah Elizabeth’s studio in Rockport, Massachusetts. I send them to friends as little reminders of New England. The linen lobster placemat is adorable and perfect paired with simple tabletop accessories. My sister and I both had the placemats framed too!

Linen lobster placemat, $18.

Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers in Rockport, Massachusetts thirty year old shop is a living museum honoring the work of Folly Cove artist Sarah Elizabeth. Established in Gloucester in 1938, the Folly Cove Designers were a guild of designer-craftsmen that grew out of a design course taught by Virginia Lee Burton Demetrio. After the designers disbanded in 1969, Sarah Elizabeth continued block printing and in 1974 opened the Sarah Elizabeth Shop.

Isabel Natti started block printing as a weekend job, and now, after thirty years continues to print the linoleum blocks she has designed and carved. The prints include scenes of nature and marine life on the coast of Cape Ann. The prints are available as placemats, runners, cards, and wall hangings. My favorite in addition to the lobster placement is, “Oceanside” a multi-block wall hanging depicting a fish company in Gloucester.

Update: I received a note from Rockport resident, Sarah Kelly, informing me Isabel Natti passed away over the winter. She was a lovely, talented artist and will be missed. Isabel had the foresight to pass on her studio to a young block printer, Julia Garrison. I look forward to visiting the studio this summer to meet Julia!

Above and below a photos from inside the studio back in the summer of 2010. Isabel is shown sitting in front of her 150-year old Acorn Press—a press she inherited from her Aunt Lee Natti. To find out more about Sarah Elizabeth including shop hours and purchasing info visit: sarah-elizabeth-shop.com.

Sarah Elizabeth Block Printers
5 Whistlestop Mall
Rockport, MA
(978) 546-6541
sarah-elizabeth-shop.com
etsy.com/shop/SarahElizabethShop

Isabel Natti





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Framing Antique Wallpaper Samples

Reproduction wallpaper samples by John Derain for One Kings Lane.

Spotted on One Kings Lane framed reproduction wallpaper samples from John Derian. Derian purchased a collection of antique antique wallpaper fragments from a Paris flea market. The collection dates from the 1800s through the early 20th century. Care was taken to recreate characteristics of the originals from saturated colors to raw edges. “They’re wallpaper specimens, and that’s how I wanted to present them, floating in the frame,” says Derian.

While renovating my home we’ve discovered beautiful old wallpaper under layers of paint. Below my favorite discovery a pretty floral found in an odd little room that I hope to turn into a library. I’ve tried to remove large pieces of the wallpaper to hopefully frame. I thought it would be a sweet a reminder of the history of the room. We’ve also talked about including objects found in the walls and ceiling to display in shadow boxes. On a side note: Historic New England has created an extensive database of individual samples of historic wallpapers and photographs of wallpaper in situ. View the collection on their website: historicnewengland.com.

Don’t have any old wallpaper to peel off your walls but love this idea? Adelphi Wallpaper Hangings specializes in reproduction historic wallpapers from 1750-1930. The wallpaper is quite expensive but a 12 X 23 inch sample can be purchased for $10. Carnation & Shells is one of my favorites—framed ala Derian it would be quite striking on a gallery wall.

Wallpaper sources that offer original antique wallpaper are tough to find. Second Hand Rose in New York carries rolls from the 1880’s to the 1970’s. 5QM in Germany offers an impressive online gallery showcasing prints from the 50s, 60s,70s. I’ve gathered a few favorites from their site here.

And then their always ebay, Brimfield and French flea markets. If John Derain can come across a collection of antique samples so can’t we, right?

The little room where we found the wallpaper.

Reproduction wallpaper samples by John Derain for One Kings Lane.

A piece of wallpaper found on the walls of my library.

Wallpaper during renovation.

Floral wallpaper found on the wall under layers of paint in library.

Two layers of blue wallpaper found on the walls in the den.

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