William Abranowicz

Meet Chip Dort, the Textile Designer Behind Drusus Tabor

His new fabric collection puts a Pop-Art spin on traditional hand-blocked patterns.

February 6, 2024

It was in a foundations course at London’s Ravensbourne College of Art and Design that Chip Dort first heard described what he calls the leit-motif of his career as an artist. “My professors called it dash. They said I had too much ‘dash’ to be a painter,” he recalls. Four art schools later, culminating in a master’s degree from Yale, Dort touched down in New York City, determined to paint. The Massachusetts native supported himself—and his pas- sion for the decorative arts—by working with Amy Perlin and John Rosselli, two of the city’s legendary antiquarians. His were restless hands, and so in the margins, he needlepointed, made drawings and silkscreens, and continued the block printing he has done since childhood. “When I was 10 years old, I carved a coronet into a carrot and used it to stamp all of my books,” he says.

“My prints have a gutsiness that I like,” says Chip Dort, the artist behind Drusus Tabor, which specializes in block-printed textiles that offer imaginative interpretations of traditional motifs. His Paisley Peas wallpaper for Schumacher, with its bold scale and graphic simplicity, brings that gutsy appeal to the entry of a historic house in Maine.


Today, Dort has traded the carrots for linoleum blocks, which he hand-carves to make gutsy, colorful block-printed linens for Drusus Tabor, the company he playfully named in a nod to the British predilection for Roman first names during the Victorian era. A new collection with Schumacher taps into the decorative arts influences archived in his brain. “I invariably realize that my doodles and drawings are abstractions or interpretations influenced by architecture, Chinese art, carvings, frescoes, and embroideries,” he says. The 1960s, when Dort’s aesthetic was formed, shows up in spirit: There’s the Warholian move of multiples and repetition, and the parameters of Sol LeWitt’s grid. “I love the era of the Supremes and Dusty Springfield, Twiggy glamour, big hair, dangling earrings, and Roger Vivier shoes,” he says. In other words, Dort loves a bit of dash.

  • Irregular sawtooth and circle stripes, reminiscent of rainsticks, inspired Trickledown linen by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher.

  • The stripping down of the design is what makes it strong and viable,” says Dort, whose Dagger Stripe fabric by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher evokes Brancusi sculptures. Theodore Lamp by Stephen Antonson.


While vessels have long been a motif in Dort’s work, his Fountain Grass fabric for Schumacher came out in an unexpected way. “It wound up looking more like an odd water plant in a vase. But it also reminds me of a fountain jet,” he says. “I love the surprise.” Hexagonal tumblers by KRB, krbnyc.com


Shop the Story

  • Dagger Stripe Fabric in Red on Pink by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher

    $117 per yard, chairish.com

  • Trickledown 16" Pillow in Natural by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher

    $278, chairish.com

  • Venetian Zig Zag Block Print Fabric in Black on Blue by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher

    $132 per yard, chairish.com

  • Theodore Lamp by Stephen Antonson

    Price upon request, theinvisiblecollection.com

  • Paisley Peas Wallpaper in Green by Drusus Tabor for Schumacher

    $162 per roll, chairish.com

  • Hexagonal Tumblers by KRB

    $300 for a set of four, krbnyc.com