Minnesota has a rich textile manufacturing history, from underwear maker Munsingwear to blanket brand Faribault Woolen Mill. Minneapolis quilting company Louise Gray is the latest to join the legacy—but these aren’t your grandmother’s quilts. The new line of handcrafted quilts offer a fresh take on the quilting tradition.
Founded by creative director Jocelin Johnson and sales director Alexandra Gray Bennett, Louise Gray reinterprets the classic quilt with a design aesthetic that’s thoroughly modern. The six designs from the brand’s debut collection incorporate a minimalist scheme, geometric shapes, and a muted palette of black, white, taupe, and pastels. These quilts would look right at home in a historic Lowertown loft and a slick North Loop condo alike. Bennett brings her background as a seasoned sales director with a long family heritage in quilting, while Johnson is a trained graphic designer with a background in art direction and creative direction. The pair met while working together at Minnesota stationery company russell+hazel, as a sales manager and creative director, respectively.
Prices for the 100%-cotton quilts range from $395 to $425 and are currently available in one standard-throw size (though the company plans to eventually offer larger, bed-size options). The handsome textiles can also double as a wall hanging—and like art prints, each quilt is numbered.
I asked Bennett some questions about the new line—what goes into producing it, and the inspiration behind it.
Q: Can you tell me more about who makes them, and what goes into the production?
â€‹A: Each Louise Gray quilt is made by local artisans in Minneapolis. A single quilt goes through multiple hands, each specializing in a particular aspect of the quilting process: cutting, piecing, embroidery, quilting, binding, and cleaningâ€‹.
Q: What inspired you to found the brand?
A: The name Louise Gray is my maiden middle and last name that is shared with my mother. She taught me to quilt at a young age, which ultimately inspired me to reinvent the quilt category, making the designs more relevant to the contemporary consumer.
Q: What are you chief design inspirations?
A: â€‹It was our vision to create a contemporary alternative to a traditional format, while maintaining the impeccable craftsmanship associated with it. As a result, the designs naturally lend themselves to being of a more minimalist and graphic nature.
Q: What are each of your backgrounds, professional or otherwise? â€‹â€‹
A: Jocelin and I first met back in 2009 working for another local product-design company (russell+hazel), where Jocelin served as the creative director and I as the sales director. We both parted ways in 2013, Jocelin to a branding agency and myself to an ad agency, and came back together in 2014 to found Louise Gray.
Q: Where can the line be purchased in the Twin Cities?
A: Wilson & Willy’s, Forage Modern Workshop, MartinPatrick3, and Mille each carry a specific assortment from the collection that resonate with their particular customer. â€‹It’s also available online at louisegray.com.
Here are the six introductory Louise Gray designs:
[All images courtesy Louise Gray]