Quilts Are Remade to Be Modern by Louise Gray
Alexandra Gray Bennett gives back to her local community through this centuries-old technique.
Quilts used to be a thing of the past, so if the idea of them still conjures up an image of homespun patchwork, it's time to look elsewhere. Over the last few years, a new generation of artisans have been updating the centuries-old craft for the modern home. One that's caught our eye: Louise Gray, a company owned by Alexandra Gray Bennett and Jocelin Johnson. The duo, who met in a previous job working in sales and creative direction respectively, noticed that quilts weren't catching up to present-day aesthetics, so they set out to redefine the market by using refined color palettes and clean patterns.
"Traditional quilts tend to be busy—they demand attention and their own space as opposed to complementing a room," says Bennett, who named the company after her mother to honor her creative inspiration. "Now, the idea is serenity in the graphics and colors, something balanced." Based in Minneapolis, their quilts are fresh and modern, featuring strong geometric lines and color-blocking in neutral colors. The quilts are 100-percent cotton and made in the United States of America. Now, the brand's collection of modern homewares—quilts, throw pillows, wall hangings, and more—have been sold through West Elm Local, CB2, Anthropologie, and Burke Decor.
Bennett's love for the art form came from a long, familial heritage of traditional quilting. "Our studio is located in the heart of the Uptown neighborhood in Minneapolis. The innovative energy of the area was enough to capture our attention, but the logistics were what truly won us over," she describes. "We are just steps away from our local FedEx, around the corner from our favorite local lunch spot, and a couple blocks from the lakes and trail system. It encourages us to achieve of the work/life balance we all aspire to have," Bennett says.
Pieced, patchwork, appliqué—each item is carefully handcrafted by local artisans in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Any unused scraps are donated to local artists who repurpose the materials into new products, and any batting waste is donated to Andas Mer, Ethel Studio, and Minnesota Quilters, Inc. "I think there is definitely that work ethic here in Minneapolis," she says, "full of incredible makers and artisans. The community here has brought us a lot closer together and everybody kind of knows each other, which is really inspiring."