When it comes to trends in soft furnishings, the bird is definitely the word. Our fine feathered friends couldn’t be hotter this season. And no one knows that more than Sasha Barry. She’s the owner of Track and Field Designs, a fashion and home-accessories label that specializes in all things small, cute, and critterlike.
While she’s been known to silk-screen just about every creature you’d find in Bambi’s forest, her trademark print is the chickadee. Right now, she can barely keep up with orders for her extensive line of odds and sods, including throw pillows, wall hangings, fridge magnets, and pincushions.
“It’s a little bit crazy,” says Barry of her hectic September sewing schedule—which is pretty impressive, considering she only launched her one-woman company three years ago and continues to work out of her modest SoMa apartment. Though her love of birds is still strong, she’s starting to think the market is getting a bit too saturated with flying lovelies.
“I’m trying to move away from the bird images, and, well”¦ I’m doing a really bad job of it,” she confesses. “I don’t know what it is, but I’m still really drawn to animals and birds.”
And her home is proof of this unyielding passion. Almost everything on and around her seems to have bird images on it: her doormat, her coasters, her collarbones—yes, you read right. Barry has two black-and-white nightingale tattoos on her upper chest. She’s got it all”¦ Well, everything but real live birds.
“I’m actually afraid of birds,” admits Barry. “I mean, it’s not a serious immobilizing fear of them. But I wouldn’t be able to have budgies or something like that. I would be too afraid that they would peck me when I cleaned their cage.”
So for now, she’s going to stick to printing images of them on décor accessories like her felt wall hangings ($16 to $18 each), which come in a range of pastel colours and are great for baby rooms—especially if you invest in a set of three. (Track and Field is available via Etsy.com and Portobello West sales; for more information, see www.trackandfielddesigns.com.)
For adult bedrooms, her chickadee throw pillows ($34.50) are the perfect fall bed accessories. And in colours like stark white and green-blue, these cozy cotton cushions add a nice pop of brightness to the deeper shades of most autumn bedding.
Though be warned: like all Track and Field products, the rickrack-trimmed pillows are pretty girly. And so are her laptop bags ($45)—not that there’s anything wrong with that. But if she wants to broaden her market, she may have to get out of her cutesy thicket and move onto some more rugged terrain.
“Yeah, I want to start making some more gender-neutral stuff,” she says. “I’m always asking my boyfriend for ideas, but he’s not very helpful. I’m thinking trees. I don’t know, though—I’m lost. I mean, what are guys into? I don’t even know.”
Trees—not exactly a stretch from birds. So will there ever come a day when Barry gets totally bored with beaks and branches?
“I’m sure one day I’ll be so sick of birds,” she says before adding, “but then again, I’m getting married in May and birds are going to be a huge theme at my wedding. So maybe I’m just going to have birds in my life forever.”