When browsing our collections, one might notice a certain story with a bit of a creepy flair - Cabinet of Curiosities. Created by Nashville native and Hester & Cook Designer Caroline Harwood, this spooky, yet sophisticated story brings a refreshing level of eccentricity to the table.
Like many designers, Caroline started out with a collection of images for inspiration and reference. She reached back in time to find her material, researching the Victorian concept of curiosity cabinets (also called “wonder rooms”). These rooms served as a mini-museum for wealthy Victorians, and often featured relics, taxidermy, art, medical instruments and apothecary jars, and fossils from exotic lands.
For other inspiration, Caroline only had to look around her room – as an avid hiker, former wildlife rehabber, and appreciator of oddities, she has amassed quite the wonder room of her own. Her living space sports a well-curated collection of animal bones, feathers, taxidermy specimens, exotic plants, and a trio of her beloved pet rats. This inspiration can also be found in her older work, where she incorporates character design, book illustration, and nature. Graphite is one of her all-time favorite art media.
A look back at some former graphite pieces as well as a personal oddities collection provides a wealth of inspiration for this story.
Once the entire design team has reviewed and critiqued the sketches, the artist can begin work on the final illustration.
Miso, Caroline’s pet rat, strikes a pose. Can you spot her in the upper right corner of the classic placemat design?
After many long months of sketching, designing, and photography, Caroline is excited to share Cabinet of Curiosities with the world, and is counting down the days until Halloween season! Our team here at Hester & Cook cannot wait to see what spooky settings you will create with this new story!