Myers Fern Linen by Schumacher, fschumacher.com.

Miguel Flores-Vianna

Go Back to Basics With Old-Fashioned Florals, Fabrics and Handmade Crafts

Deborah Needleman is championing a return to simple, laid-back living.

July 1, 2022

Ready for a return to the simple things? When we asked editor-turned-artisan Deborah Needleman what she was craving right now, she pulled together a few of her favorite things—florals, ticking stripes and baskets woven by her very own hands—to create vignettes that capture a graciously laid-back life.

Plant Cloche and Rush Cachepot by Deborah Needleman, reedsmythe.com. Caldwell Patchwork Chintz by Schumacher, fschumacher.com.


Miguel Flores-Vianna

More than two centuries ago in Europe, the rapid spread of industrialization sparked a new appreciation for artisanship. “People were desperate to get away from the onslaught of modern life, to reconnect with nature and make things from it,“ says Deborah Needleman. She would know: Six years ago, the longtime editor left her post atop the masthead of T: The New York Times Style Magazine to master basket weaving. At her studio in the Hudson Valley, she created a vignette filled with old-fashion flowers– begonias and geraniums, jasmine and amaryllis— to harken back to that era.

White and Taupe Marbleized Earthenware Urn by Frances Palmer, francespalmerpottery.com. Tablecloth in Antique Ticking Stripe by Schumacher, fschumacher.com.

Miguel Flores Vianna

A ticking stripe makes a fitting accompaniment for any type of floral, says Needleman—especially an arrangement of fritillaria, poppies, and anemones, all prized by 19th-century botanists. “The Victorian celebration of nature as specimen and as decoration are both passions of mine, too,” says the weaver, who harvested the willow sticks from her own garden. “I changed my life so I could be closer to nature and observe it every day, but I am also obsessed with bringing it into the home!”

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