Christine Joy Design, LLC is a Brooklyn-based print design studio specializing in the home goods and apparel. Founder Christine Llewellyn graduated from Wesleyan University and later obtained her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. She worked as a marketing manager focused on point-of-sale design and innovation within a large financial services company before leaving to pursue her passion for design. In 2011, she obtained her Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and, in 2014, established Christine Joy Design.
Christine has always viewed her world from a global lens. Her designs are influenced by her Caribbean heritage, childhood neighborhood which boasts the most ethnic diversity in the New York area, and living in central Africa as a young girl. Christine's designs are characterized by their playful yet elegant hand drawn, carved or painted motifs and modern, minimalist pattern composition. This clean simplicity is reflective of Christine's love of Scandinavian design. Her work can be found in West Elm, Crate and Barrel and on Minted. When she's not designing, Christine loves spending time with her husband, two children, and perpetual puppy, Bobby.
What Does Black History Month Mean To You This Year?
For me, celebrating black history is so much more important this year than in years past. I have always found it troubling that the many achievements of people of the African Diaspora are only celebrated during one month – and the shortest one at that. Black history and culture should be celebrated daily as our contributions to this nation have enabled it to be what it is today.
It is clear now that with the new political and social climate, disenfranchised groups will be further de-prioritized in our nation’s socio-political agenda. Given these changes, it will be so important for marginalized groups to come together as a community to define ourselves and what is we demand from the new administration. Our bond as a people is strengthened if we are aware of the many wonderful and often overlooked contributions we have made to society. Our families are strengthened with knowledge of our own family histories and what we each, on whatever small scale, have contributed to our communities. This knowledge of our history will be so important as we resist our country’s new agenda aimed at further marginalizing us.
On a personal level, though my children are very young, my husband and I make a very concerted effort to teach them to be proud of their heritage and stand with confidence knowing that they come from a people with such a beautiful and rich history. I want them to also know that while it is only highlighted during one month, the success and contributions of black people should be spoken about and celebrated year round, and with special emphasis, over these next four years.
Where Are You Finding Inspiration Today To Design This Year?
A year and a half ago I faced head on my fear of flying and signed up to a trip to travel to India to learn traditional Indian block printing and natural fabric dyeing techniques. During my time there, I traveled to a tiny village called Bagru. In Bagru, every person learns to block print as that is their livelihood and is passed on from generation to generation. The trip was awe-inspiring and trans formative on so many levels. I find myself still drawing on the beauty of that experience in my designs. While I love working with ink and paints, I also really love creating patterns that I have hand-carved.
My family background serves as inspiration as well. My parents immigrated from the islands of Antigua and Dominica. I love the beautiful vibrant colors found in the Caribbean and often try to incorporate those same vibrant colors in my work. Even at home I find inspiration through my kids and their unabashed sense of wonder and excitement at things most adults either ignore or take for granted.
I am also influenced by my time living abroad in The Republic of Congo, Denmark, and Greece. I love thoughtfully designed objects and am inspired by objects from around the world. I am constantly on the look out for interesting textiles, colors and patterns that might inform my work.
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