Weston, Connecticut – June 10, 2015 – Weston based interior designer, Elizabeth Brosnan Hourihan, is a staunch advocate of Virginia Lee Burton and the Folly Cove Designers. “The history of the Folly Cove Designers is remarkable and I wanted the students to understand the concepts of this exceedingly creative, handmade art form. It is a true juxtaposition from the technology-based influences that surround our young people. Even much of today’s art has a technology foundation and this is a digression from that,” notes Hourihan.
The Folly Cove Designers were started in 1941 by Virginia Lee Burton (1909-1968), acclaimed author and illustrator of such classic children’s books as “Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel.” The Folly Cove Guild grew out of a design course taught by Virginia Lee (Burton) Demetrios, in the Folly Cove neighborhood of Gloucester, Massachusetts. The focus of the course was to appreciate the elements of beauty that surround us in nature. The medium for this expression was hand carving designs on linoleum affixed to wood blocks. The prints were then transferred to fabric and fashioned into beautiful and useful items such as tablecloths, napkins, curtains and clothing. The printing was initially done by stomping on the blocks to print on the fabric. This primitive method later gave way to the use of an acorn press.
“One of my favorite designers is Hetty Beatty Whitney who hailed from New Canaan, Connecticut,” explains Hourihan. “Her work displays a contemporary articulation and I have used her pieces in both my interior design work and in my own home.”
In the beginning, the Folly Cove Designers wholesaled their work to the America House of New York; a sales outlet for American Craftsman Cooperative Council. In 1945, the fashionable store, Lord and Taylor purchased five designs, and this helped to establish the Designers nationwide. Commissions followed this for Schumacher and other high style stores. By the time the widely circulated Life Magazine did a feature article on the designers in 1945, the Designers were overwhelmed with orders.
Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios died in 1969 and the following year the group disbanded. After a dormant period there has been a renewed interest in the design creativity and craftsmanship of the Folly Cove Designers. Today the remaining examples of their work have become highly collectible and often imitated.
About Elizabeth Brosnan Hourihan Interiors
Elizabeth Brosnan Hourihan Interiors creates elegant spaces that respect the integrity of tradition yet reflect the way we live today. Integrating architecture, interior design, and works of art from around the world, Elizabeth is at home with every style from the classical to the contemporary. Her designs offer an understated use of color, texture, and materials, plus a flair for the unique piece that sets off a room and becomes a treasured possession. Elizabeth’s interiors have appeared in Architectural Digest, The New York Times Magazine, Veranda, Traditional Home, Design New England, and New England Home.