When the Black Artists + Designers Guild was founded four years ago in Brooklyn, the collective sought to combat the lack of representation of Black artists and makers in the design industry. And this month, several of those designers will see their work on a national stage as the Black Artists + Designers Guild “Black Joy” collection for Pottery Barn hits stores and online.
The partnership features the work of three guild member interior designers: Penny Francis, Casi St. Julian, and Lisa Turner. They designed the collection together, creating more than 25 pieces that draw on symbolic themes from each of their lives. Collection pieces include decorative accessories, bedding, pillows, throws, dinnerware, drink ware, barware, table linens, and games.
“The collection is inspired by the richness of our history, the stories that are told and the love of our families,” Francis said. “[For me], living in the cultural diversity of New Orleans with its mix of African, South American, European and Caribbean influences, helped to inspire the bold, diverse and colorful expression of the designs.”
The line includes pillows and bedding in vibrant, playful patterns; sophisticated etched metal serve ware; and bowls and plates in punchy colors, along with other items. The pieces were designed to capture the energy and emotion of the Black American experience.
“We wanted the collection to reflect our collective talent, uniqueness, joy, and Black excellence,” Francis said. “Our goal was to create a collection that told a story of Black family lifestyle, Black celebration for all to experience; a collection that reflected our resilience and strength.”
But while the collection captures the theme of “Black Joy,” the designers said it was also crafted to have universal appeal.
“The collection was designed to be collected and curated into any home,” Turner said. “If it’s one piece, several, or the full collection, it is designed to complement, to be dressed up or down, and to have fun with it and experience the joy behind it.”
The partnership with the Black Artists + Designers Guild is part of Pottery Barn parent company Williams-Sonoma’s Equity Action Plan, which calls for actions to support equity that include hiring and highlighting Black artists and makers, as well as partnerships with organizations such as the NAACP and National Urban League.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Black Artists + Designers Guild and its community of creators, artists, and design professionals to highlight excellence in design and artistry,” said Marta Benson, president, Pottery Barn. “The pieces within the collection, designed in partnership with these three talented women, illustrate a shared love of creating meaningful spaces, vibrant in color and joy, that I am excited to share with our customers to enjoy in their own homes.”
And for the guild members, partnering with Pottery Barn not only allows them to highlight their own work, but also the wealth of Black talent available in the design industry.
“I think the collaboration with Pottery Barn and Black Artists +Designers Guild was a perfect fit,” Turner said. “As Black Artists + Designers Guild members, we bring the talent and vision, and Pottery Barn brings their exceptional expertise in the home goods market. It was a labor of love, and we could not ask for a better team.”