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American Made Design: Galbraith & Paul

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Galbraith & Paul
A trio of design studios forms a distinctly American picture of modern design: Despite their regional differences, all three produce forward-thinking products and furniture made using time-tested craft and fabrication methods. Here, we take a look at Galbraith & Paul from the Northeast. Head over to the Southeast to check out Charleston, South Carolina-based Moran Woodworked Furniture.
Galbraith and Paul at woodmill.

Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul update the ancient art of woodblock printing in their studio in a 19th-century mill building in Philadelphia.

For a full century, starting in the 1820s, Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood was a thrumming mill town, with factories along the Schuylkill River spinning and dying yarns and weaving textiles. After the Great Depression, industry dried up; today, little manufacturing happens in the neighborhood, and many mill buildings are gone.

Lotus wallpaper by Galbraith & Paul

The Lotus wallpaper pattern by Galbraith and Paul is produced in-studio with the help of a digital printer.

One survivor is the high-ceilinged stone building at 116 Shurs Lane, where Liz Galbraith and Ephraim Paul, along with a crew of 14 artisans, create boldly patterned, woodblock-printed textiles, pillows, and pendant lamps. Their company, Galbraith & Paul, which they founded in 1986 while participating in American Craft Council shows, remains firmly rooted in hands-on making: Galbraith handles all the designs, blends her own paints, and mixes her own colors—and her staff works at eight-yard-long printing tables, pressing woodblocks into fabric and hand-printing to order.

Lattice textiles.

Textiles, including the Lattice pattern, are produced by staff that work at eight-yard-long printing tables, pressing woodblocks into fabric and hand-printing to order.

Recently they have started producing wallpaper in their studio using a digital printer. “Digital was a way we could expand but still keep control over our process,” says Galbraith, who has developed proprietary, high-tech tricks for making the wallpaper look “as hand-printed as possible.” Whether reviving an ancient craft or tinkering with technology, “we’re always looking for new technical challenges in making things,” says Galbraith. is your online home in the modern world. Join us as we follow our team around the globe on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Want more? Never miss another word of Dwell with our free iTunes app.


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