Ilana Saraf, owner and founder of Ilana and Co., grew up with a love of nature, with parents who encouraged creativity. She loved running, climbing trees, and never coloring in the lines– always testing the limits. She is a painter, printer, sewer, baker, and a chef.
Dreamt up and drawn in the summer in Saraf’s backyard and in public gardens, her designs hold a bright, enveloping warmth. The imagery in this collaboration features pods and lotus flowers in a range of blues, deep olive green, maroon, and vibrant red on Merchant and Mills linen, cotton hemp, and cotton terry. Saraf works from sketches, photographs, and her own memory to create the drawings she then transfers to silkscreens for printing. She transfers them by painting directly on the screens, her hand gracefully present in each line and curve. These particular designs were printed at the Shepherd & Maudsleigh print studio. Her designs dance beautifully across the yardage, the cloth coming alive as it carries the spontaneous, joyful energy of her drawings.
Drawn to color, texture, and layering, Saraf’s love for exploration of the natural world shines in her printed designs. Her use of color in her work is intuitive, and in part inspired by the seasons, paying attention to cycles and changes in color and growth over time. Saraf’s approach to cooking carries a similar sensitivity and thoughtfulness. She looks to seasonal ingredients, taking cues from the world around her and its changing state for direction.
Thinking to her influences, Saraf remembers the way her grandmother would establish grace, aesthetic, and warmth around the table in her home–a site of togetherness and offering and all that went into it, from the dishes to the linens. She sees cloth and food as forces of connection. They warm us, they teach us, they remind us, they heal us. They carry history and tradition within them through tastes, uses, and processes shared over time.
The stories of cloth present opportunities for connection, things to honor and learn from. Through making, we further the story of the cloth through touch, use, and technique, each piece or project ever personalized through the hand of the maker. Saraf sees the unknown of where this cloth will travel to, whose hands it will end up in, as a source of great excitement. We are so inspired imagining all the ways in which this offering might move and all the forms this choth will become, gaining new life and creating new stories as they go.
SHOP THE CLOTH
I am Ilana Saraf, the owner and founder of Ilana and Co., based in the South End of Boston.
I make things by hand: I mix and stitch. From granola to placemats, my love of working with my hands in the act of creation infuses all that I produce.
Ilana and Co. is an organic transition in a career that has included being a restauranteur, caterer, artist, and owner of a prepared meal business. My professional food journey has taken me from my San Francisco origins to North Carolina and now back to my urban roots here in Boston.