By Jill Garber
The only thing I ever wanted to be in my life was a designer. I created my first product to sell when I was about seven years old and in my play clothes and rhinestone necklace, I went door to door selling my hand made sewing baskets down the streets of our neighborhood. By high school I was redesigning thrift shop clothing for my friends, and after apprenticing with a retired Georg Jensen silversmith I had my own business of making hand wrought sterling silver jewelry. Making things for others to love and enjoy always seemed to be in my genes.
I am going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.
Elsie de Wolfe
With my passion for fashion and accessory design, I went to study at Parsons School of Design in New York. In the 1970’s Parsons students were especially dedicated to learning impeccable hand sewing techniques, fit and fine detailing. Our understanding of couture quality workmanship and materials were enhanced by many hours spent studying the fashion history in the Costume Library at the Metropolitan Museum.
By the end of my second year I began to see the West Coast as less restrictive than Seventh Avenue houses. Los Angeles was on its way to becoming an innovative center for young designers like Holly’s Harp and Norma Kamali who were paving the way for fresh ideas, so I decided to leave New York and head to California to look for work.
After working for several years in visual merchandising for Saks Fifth Ave and Bonwit Teller in Los Angeles, I found my first product design job creating prints and embellished designs for kitchen, bath and beach towels. It was there I began to learn about design licensing and developed a passion for home décor. Licensing my own line of print designs became my plan to achieve my goal of having my own line.
In 1984 I launched Jill Garber Design and began licensing my copyrighted designs for a wide variety of home décor and gift products, which evolved over many years. I also created prints for various private label lines, designers and retail product lines. How satisfying it was to walk in stores and see my products. Through hard work and determination I had become one of the first young designers to successfully enter the world of licensing.
It is often said that “you can never go home again”, but I did in 2006 when my mother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Though it required me to set my licensing business aside at least for a time, my decision to return to be with her was an easy one. First as mother and daughter, soon evolving into woman to woman as we shared artistic insights, stories and loving experiences until the end. In life, rebirth and recreation of ourselves though not easy, can be a good thing.
This bittersweet time in my life gave me a new sense of gratitude for all I have been blessed with, from my heart to my hands I thank God that he made me an artist.
Embracing life, with both family and work I have found new creative purpose. While restoring the farm l have loved since childhood, adding a studio filled with light overlooking our pond and my workshop just steps from the front door. At the center of my reinvention is my new brand Le Nouveaurose.
Inspired by exquisite antique silks, embroideries, trims and other bits of the past that I have always found endlessly beautiful. I design and create couture home décor, seasonal decor, women’s accessories and heirloom Bridal items, as I develop my fresh new designs for licensing, sales and commissions through my website lenouveaurose.com.
Since 2006, Romantic Country, Victorian Homes, Vintage & Victorian and most recently Where Women Create have all come to do feature articles on my new works and I am currently working on a design book.
With a little more wear and tear from the paths I have traveled to get here, I am ever so grateful for the privilege it has been to live my life creating things. As I continue along this journey it is my hope that you will join me to share meaningful perspectives on a variety of subjects, so that we might travel along this path a while together.