Setting foot into the two-room home studio of freelance artist and textile designer Élan Byrd in Miami, FL, it’s clear that she has a strong sense of style and a deep relationship with color and its impact on mood. Terra cotta hues meld harmoniously with crisp white, earthy black tones, soothing peach tints and a glorious bevy of textures. This is the embodiment of her unwavering signature style and essence of her work and its various forms, and such conviction of her unique tastes and skills is both something deeply engrained and newly discovered within Élan.
“My mother was an art teacher, so I’ve been exposed to art from a very early age,” she shares. “My idea of playing was designing clothes for my dolls and rearranging my room. So, I’ve always had a knack for fashion and interiors. I took the route of studying and majoring in fashion design, from design high school, through college at Parsons School of Design. Throughout my years at Parsons, I discovered my love for textiles. I’ve been pursuing textile design for fashion and interiors ever since. In 2018, I decided to take a break from living and working in New York. That break turned into starting Bleu Byrdie and developing it into a textile and home decor brand. I know that fashion design is something I will get back to in the future, but for now, I’m enjoying creating products for home interiors.”
Élan has owned her ranch-style, 1951 home for one year, and carved out space within the home for her studio. The transition from Brooklyn to Miami has awakened much creativity for her, but the beginning stages of configuring where her studio would be within the house — and how different arms of her business would coexist in the space — took some thinking.
“I decided to use two rooms that weren’t getting much use,” she begins. “One, which was a part of the converted garage and the other, a sun room overlooking the backyard. I’ve chosen to turn these spaces into a multidisciplinary studio, where I can balance between creating commissions, client work, and developing products. I used a lot of furniture that I previously owned or that was passed down from my mother. I thrifted the other pieces to make the space look cohesive. I’ve realized over time that I also need to have a balanced design space. Therefore, I created an area that’s aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable — where I can relax and truly enjoy the process of making. I also found that I need another area that is designed to be more practical, to focus on deadlines, and where I’m less susceptible to distractions or procrastinating. I’ve found that having two separate spaces for designated tasks really helps me to be my most productive with my time.”
Once Élan compartmentalized her studio to best serve her productivity needs, her creativity blossomed exponentially, both a result of moving to a new state completely and shifting her focus on different projects. The change in scenery has sparked a new fascination and artistic journey for her, resulting in an even more robust body of work.
“While I’m still in the beginning stages of developing my brand, my favorite memory [of my new space] thus far, was making the decision to turn these spaces into my home studio,” Élan begins. “Creating this studio has given me the incentive to discover different materials and to work on new concepts, which I may have never stumbled into back when I lived in Brooklyn. The studio allows me the freedom to explore. Ever since I moved back to Miami, I’ve been inspired by terrazzo surfaces. I’ve used my workroom to formulate my own version of terrazzo and have loved the process of experimenting with a variety of materials to create new products.” Here’s to more inspiration and self-discovery! We can’t wait to see what Élan creates next. —Kelli
Image above: Élan shares, “The process of setting up my space didn’t take long, because I chose to work with what already existed. The changes I made were cosmetic. Both rooms were already painted light colors. However, I decided to paint the wall where I work the most, white. This is to ensure I see the true colors when I’m designing prints and painting. I arranged the furniture in a way to have floor space to work on when necessary. Specific areas were created for each discipline to help keep the space organized. I hung up a lot of my old art and fashion design work, because it serves as a source of inspiration to spark ideas of what I could possibly create in the future.”