California Home & Design | April 2005


Portrait of an Artist

San Francisco Textile Designer Anne Kirk Emerges From Behind the Curtains with the Pending Launch of her own Line of Fabrics.


by Cloe Harris


The next time you ante up at Las Vegas' Bellagio Hotel casino, look up. The 2,000 yards of hand-painted muslin on the ceiling represent a six week labor of love by textile designer Anne Kirk. Though you may not see the San Franciscan's fabrics in design-center showrooms (yet), you've more than likely seen her work before: silkscreened bedding in a glamorous hotel suite; linen drapes at a local restaurant; the upholstered walls in San Francisco's Decorator Showcase house two years running. Kirk admits, with a laugh, to being "the woman behind the scenes," but don't expect her to stay there: The Mission District dweller has big plans for the future of her business.


After obtaining a bachelor of fine arts with a painting concentration at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Kirk came to California in 1985 and went to work color-matching and screen-printing fabric. "I've always had an attraction to fabric," Kirk says, splattered head-to-toe in paint and dye at her Lower Potrero studio. "It really is a canvas in a way, and I like that it's functional as well." Drawn to natural fibers like linen and hemp, Kirk brings interest and depth to flat materials with layers of hand-painted textures. While Kirk is still largely a manufacturer of handcrafted textiles--collaborating on custom orders with local interior designers (including Tracey Kessler, Louise Mann and Your Space's Charles de Lisle) still makes up the majority of her work--the designer is turning her focus torward creating new products and expanding her