Designers take inspiration from everything around them. Mother Nature provides endless recombinations, simple and complex, that stimulate the senses. Designers take these inspirations, and reinterpret them through a variety of media. The chosen media can also provide an added layer of intricacy.
Take textiles, for example. Threads have been spun from the silk of worms, the wool of sheep, cotton blossoms, bamboo, and man-made synthetic materials. These threads have been woven into bolts of fabric, as a single material or in combination.
The threads may have been dyed then woven, or the fabrics were woven, then dyed. Both provide textile designers unique opportunities to create patterns and images limited only by the subtractive options of color spectrum.
In addition to their visual appeal, textiles provide texture that can be soft or smooth or rough to the touch.
As you become comfortable with the texture of a fabric, you begin to visually associate woven pattern with a certain feel. Certain materials associated with luxury like cashmere and silk, or durability like tweed and wool. Burlap is rough to the touch while seersucker breathes in hot humid climates.
The fashion runways demonstrate a bold experimentation with patterns, colors, unusual fabric pairings, and the incorporation of accessories.
Curtains, tapestries, upholstered furniture bring the fabric realm from clothing into the home.
Like all design, textiles often inform other media including tile.
Historically, tiles have either been laid out to create a design, hand-painted, or manually printed with limited imagery or designs. Not only has tile been a formative decorative component among the building arts, it has also had a vital functional role.
With the rapid advancements of digital printing techniques, tile is now able to mimic the appearance of other materials while retaining its versatility and functionality.
Interior designers have often been inspired by the textile industry, but now they can now incorporate tile that actually mimics the luxurious textures and bold designs of fabrics.
The classic lines of a fine linen suit can now accentuate a modern living room.
Herringbone patterns within the individual tiles can add depth and texture.
Area rugs, with images or bold patterns, can now be mimicked in a much more realistic way down a hallway or across a foyer.
Uniquely painted tiles create focal points or break up busy designs. Taking cues from the sway of fabric, the tiles also soften a space and imply movement.