child laying on a toki mats play mat with lena corwin's ying and yang print design
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Meet the Artist: Lena Corwin

December 19, 2022

Meet Lena Corwin, the artist behind two of our newest prints, Peace Sign and Yin & Yang, and a creative force who wears many hats. To name a few, Corwin is a pattern-maker, textile-designer, writer, author, activist, and mother. As a creative who also cares deeply about other humans, she founded Peace Cloth, a project where she designs and sells towels, then donates a portion of sales to the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), in an effort towards a more peaceful society. We had the greatest pleasure of collaborating with Corwin for our winter collection, experiencing her creative genius and the joy of her craft. To learn more about her, we asked her a few questions about her life, passions, and the intent behind her designs. 

Lena corwin, shot by maria del rio for mother magazine
Photographed by Maria Del Rio for MOTHER Magazine

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? When you aren’t designing, what does your day-to-day look like? 

LC: I have two kids, ages 7 and 11. I was born in San Francisco and moved back here 9 years ago to be close to family. Designing is a part of every day for me, whether for work or free time. And, recently, I’ve had a new acceptance with the term “homemaker,” which sounds old-fashioned, but I’m reclaiming it.

Q: You are the owner and creator of Peace Cloth, a project that sells towels. Of all textiles, why towels?

LC: I love all varieties of cloth. I’ve always appreciated jacquard weaving and felt that there were few fun towels being made in small batches. Since I started Peace Cloth eight years ago, many more small brands have started making them. I love textile items that get used daily.

Q: Your Peace Cloth project donates regularly to FOR-USA. Are activism and philanthropy a big part of your life? What inspired you to engage in activism?

LC: From the start, I wanted producing the towels to facilitate a way for me to donate regularly to longstanding peace organizations. For the first several years, I donated exclusively to FOR (Fellowship of Reconciliation—the largest and oldest interfaith peace and justice organization in the US), but since then, I’ve cast a wider net and donated to a variety of like-minded organizations.

Q: How was your experience collaborating with Toki Mats and creating something for the baby space? Did it feel like a natural fit?

LC: Yes, absolutely. I miss having babies myself, but I don’t feel too far removed from that phase. And anything in the world of natural textiles feels like a great fit to me.

Q: You designed Peace Sign and Yin and Yang for Toki. Is there a special meaning behind these two designs?

LC: Universal symbols really speak to me. I love their graphic boldness. And growing up near Haight Street in San Francisco, these were symbols I saw regularly in my childhood.

a child sitting on a toki mats play mat and support pillow with lena corwin's yin and yang print design

Q: Children are quite receptive to their surroundings. What do you hope that they’ll take away from playing on Peace Sign and Yin and Yang?

LC: They might not know their meaning now, but the symbols can become part of the visuals from their childhood, like they did for me. My kids often draw peace signs in their artwork— they know it’s a symbol that brings joy.

Q: Both designs employ soft, muted hues instead of vibrant ones. What was the design process behind choosing those colors?

LC: These have been my most popular towel colorways.

Q: Have you always been a creative person? What were your interests as a child?

LC: Art has always been my #1 interest, from as early as I can remember!

Q: How has your art evolved over the years? Do you have a favorite medium?

LC: I love craft. It’s often less appreciated than fine art, but I enjoy repetition and my interests are wide—it’s always been hard for me to choose favorites because I want to try everything.  Printing and dyeing fabric is something I’ve enjoyed for a long time.

Peace Sign Mat

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Peace Sign Mat

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Meet the Artist: Lena Corwin

About the Author: Alice

Alice Mendoza is a copywriter and blog writer based in Los Angeles. She began writing for a baby brand while on maternity leave, and realized she had found her niche. Today, she writes exclusively within the baby space, using her BFA in Creative Writing and her own experience as a mother to guide her. When she’s not working, you can find her chasing down her toddler, going on walks around the neighborhood, or watching reality TV.

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