gardens, spaces

Tulicarpa – the Light and Ornament of Spain

Tulicarpa – the Light and Ornament of Spain.

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I first met the lovely and talented Lily Lewin, creator of Tulicarpa at a mutual friends lunch. As we talked, I was instantly captivated by her incredible story where history, art, design, and traditions were woven together. To me, Tulicarpa is a bridge between fine art and our daily life.

Later, in order to speak in detail about her creation, we agreed to meet at one of the most gorgeous Madrid gardens which is in the Museo del Romanticismo. I think this beautiful hidden place ideally compliments the precious collection of Tulicarpa. They are both well kept secrets which worth discovering.

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Today I am happy to share my interview with Lily about her creation and journey.

How did Tulicarpa start? What was your creative journey?

For many years I have had the good fortune to have my clothes made by an amazing couturier, Cate Lyon, in Savannah, Georgia (where my husband and I have a home base).  It started first with sailor pants and then Edwardian inspired wool suits for Madrid winters, and then dresses.  When I was researching fabrics (specifically silk) to buy for my dresses, I realized there wasn’t much to my liking and so decided to design my own. Inspired by the lavish costumes of the Infantas and Saints in portraits at the Prado Museum, as well as architectural details in Portuguese convents and Spanish courtyards, I started collaborating with a very talented young woman, Mariana Langley Molander, who is a classically trained artist and textile designer.

Together we have created over twenty patterns in the last 18 months! I have also commissioned some designs from one of my dearest friends, an amazing painter named Simoni Trapsioni.  I love learning from this community of generous and creative women!   Initially this was going to be just for my personal use but I decided to make scarves and shawls to sell, and custom dresses.  We travel a lot and a beautiful shawl is an essential part of packing, especially if you’re trying to be a minimalist (which I’m not).  There’s also a talismanic quality to these pieces, each pattern has a story whose symbolism envelops you when you throw it on. I love that feeling!

Define Tulicarpa in three words.

Lux et Decus Hispaniae: The Light and Ornament of Spain.  Our motto in Latin.

How would you briefly describe what you do on a day-to-day basis to someone who does not know your world?

Depends where we are, but always a combination of art and nature. If in Madrid, wandering through a museum, specifically the Prado, and then the Retiro.  In Savannah, it’s all about our courtyard, which is a kingdom of insects and flowers, and then a visit to a friend’s studio for inspiration.

What is next for Tulicarpa?

I’m not terribly strategic, but I’ve been daydreaming of sumptuous Tulicarpa pillows!

Your perfect day off would be…

I don’t really have days on, so days off are a bit hard to describe.

Daily rituals which make you happy and creative?

Always read a bit of poetry. Currently it’s Antonio Machado and his ode to the Castilian countryside which is my favorite place to be.

What books have you read recently or all-time favorites you would recommend?

La Vida Perra de Juanita Narboni by Ángel Vázquez.

The meal/food which you never be tired of?

Any meal at my very favorite restaurant in the whole world: Lhardy in Madrid.

Tea or coffee?

My English grandmother gave me a beautiful, proper teaset when I was young which I have subsequently hauled all over the world and use almost every day… so tea.

The best entertaining at home would be…

We’ve had some pretty magical dinner parties in our Savannah courtyard, my husband makes paella and we linger for hours with friends and family under a 200-year-old magnolia tree.

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