Textile Talk with Three Rhode Island Designers

Erin Hazlett, Grace Napoleon and Susan Troy create extraordinary solutions to home and kitchen dilemmas.
Clockwise from upper left. Pillow
 and fabric by Susan Troy Cloth. Aprons by Taskwear. Napkins and bag by the Violet Orange. Photography courtesy of the artists.

The Violet Orange

While home in Rumford with her young children, Erin Hazlett established the Violet Orange after demand grew for items she made and gave away. Now a Barrington resident, she makes napkins — dinner size and cocktail-sized sets — placemats, kitchen towels, table runners, coasters, headbands, scarves and assorted bags. Hazlett’s reversible items pop with brilliantly vivid designs. “My napkin sets [depict] things that fly and animals,” she says, adding that each print is like a limited edition. “The small-batch designs keep them intriguing.” Hazlett varies fabric choices: “I like picking patterns and colors that might look disparate but go well together,” she says. thevioletorange.com


Already a seasoned dressmaker, Grace Napoleon founded Taskwear to make “functional fashion for people who do: gardeners, cooks, artists, shopkeepers,” she says, with women representing 85 percent of her customers. The comfortable half-aprons, wrap aprons (the most popular), tunics and pocket dresses (Taskwear’s first product and Napoleon’s favorite) are one-size-fits-most. Taskwear sources fabrics from Lorraine Fabrics in Pawtucket, though Napoleon, of North Providence, is always on the hunt for her next find. Customer engagement is the most fun for her. “There’s nothing better than people telling me they love what I do and handing me money.” facebook.com/taskwear

Susan Troy Cloth

A graduate of the University of Massachusetts in textile design/fiber arts, Susan Troy married her textile design background and her love of painting to establish Susan Troy Cloth. Both architecture and nature inspire Troy’s use of colors and designs in her soothing-to-the-eye hand-painted fabrics in either linen/cotton or bamboo/cotton. She makes wall hangings, pillows, baby quilts, coasters, sachets and yardage, as well as table runners and kitchen towels that can also be ordered wholesale. “I love the idea of hand-painting on linen; it’s unpredictable and one-of-a-kind,” says the Pawtucket resident, who also creates yardage with digitally repeated designs. susantroy.com