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Geography Collection Inspiration

Once upon a time C(armel) A(nd) T(errell) — the ‘cat’ of catstudio – fell in love and discovered that they shared anthropological backgrounds and a thirst for travel. They also had a joy & deep appreciation for art, design and craftsmanship. Thus, they decided to put their interests together and design a timeless ode to geography & craftsmanship — the catstudio Geography Pillow.

To begin to realize a collection, they had to climb 5 big steps:

  1. Research — using maps, the internet, and conversations with many locals, they logged in 1,000’s of hours.
  2. Design — drawing and drawing, 1,000’s more hours. Hopefully you’ll notice their obsessive attention to details! They believed every aspect was important. They sent drafts to savvy locals — the toughest critics, to help invoke an “insider” feeling of each place. Then re-draw & re-draw!
  3. Color — more research hours spent to get the balance of colors pitch perfect….not an easy task! In some cases up to 30 colors adorn each pillow!
  4. Artisanship — to get   samples made, Terrell & Carmel went off in search of those craftsmen they so admired. Through serendipity, a trip to Hong Kong and Bali, they came upon a textile queen who introduced them to one of the world’s treasures: Indian hand embroiderers. (They presently employ over 1,000 artisans.)
  5. Production — they and the textile queen knew this was going to be a challenging project: the extensive training time, the use of up to 30 thread colors per design, the realization that it took a week to embroider one pillow, and then, getting each word & icon correct!

Finally, in the year 2000, after all these hours (did we say 1,000’s? Ha!) of joyful work — trumpets sound — the unique inimitable catstudio hand embroidered pillow collection became a reality!!! Each pillow is unique in that every artisan’s work has its own “signature” and is one of a kind - like a snowflake.

Over 40 hours of hand-embroidery goes into creating just one pillow!

"We believe that the human touch is the magical thread
between designer, maker, seller, and buyer - and this is
what gives our products their superior quality."

— Terrell & Carmel Swan

catstudio is constantly adding more designs and re-designing our current ones. Many are in their 3rd edition, which doesn’t even count the endless revisions and tweaks that take place in the life of a design! The many joyous hours have paid off in producing these exquisite pillows as they’ve turned up in movies, magazines, graced beautiful homes (even the White House), are owned by Senators, Governors, Celebrities, and Terrell’s cousin in the hollows of Kentucky.

Each one, signed by the artisan (care label), will surely stand the test of time and become a future heirloom.

Each pillow is signed by its embroiderer on the care label

That’s the story, and it’s only the beginning…