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Jenny Pennywood x Revival: An Interview with Jen Garrido
August 11, 2022
Jenny Pennywood x Revival: An Interview with Jen Garrido
Jenny Pennywood is a fine art & textile brand imagined by painter Jen Garrido, the inventive mind & paintbrush behind the patterns on our Washed Cotton Sheets. Best known for her reusable, vibrantly-hued Everyday Napkin Sets, we sat down with Jen to talk about her San Francisco-based brand, her studio practice, and how Jenny Pennywood, Jen’s alter ego and brand, came to be.
Revival: Your website says you conjured Jenny Pennywood in 2008, but do you think you knew her before then?
Jen Garrido: I probably did know her. I’m an artist, but I’ve also always had a strong business mind. When I started Jenny Pennywood, it was really just me and a studio mate batting around the idea of an alter-art-ego. I didn't know what that meant or what it would look like, but we named her in 2008 & she’s grown organically ever since.
In late 2007, when the economy crashed, all of my art relationships & art sales started to fizzle. It was a wild time. Jenny Pennywood, that alter ego of mine, became a way to diversify without (at that time) hindering my fine art path. I still feel very drawn to my painting & fine art career (it’s a big focus for me), but I can't see doing one without the other. Each informs the other in beautiful ways.
R: Can you tell me about the genesis of Checks and Weave, two classics of yours, as well as the new one you developed for us, Palm?
J: Both of these patterns have been in my "library" for awhile. All of my patterns begin by making lots of ink drawings on white paper with a focus on line quality.
With Weave, I was looking for something with delicate lines that felt like it flowed.
With Checks, I wanted to reinvent a popular & prevalent pattern with more movement & texture, while preserving its classic form.
I started Palm with the idea of dynamism & texture. I let the drawing lead me, with no vision about how it would unfold. I drew & came to this. I usually make lots of drawings that I compose into one pattern, so no pattern starts as its own, but rather, as a segment emerging through multiple drawings.
R: Was it different concepting and developing bedding? You've pretty much done everything but!
J: I love bedding! I was so excited about doing bedding with Revival when Christina (Revival’s Design Director) brought it to me. We’re close family friends who grew up together in LA. Our parents rode Harleys together.
I actually created my first bedding collection several years ago, but for children, along with an organic bedding collection for cribs. It was so fun & colorful! I’ve always loved the scale of bedding. While I haven’t made a bedding collection for Jenny Pennywood just yet, I plan to someday. Whether it’s bedding or otherwise, I LOVE anything BIG with scale. Quilts & bedspreads are another idea I toy with. My love for size & scale is the reason I created Jenny Pennywood’s Fabric By The Yard Collection.
R: How did you first come to this work? What's your origin story?
J: Textiles came to me in 2009. I was out of work & getting married. I decided to produce the whole wedding under Jenny Pennywood & make that my job for 6 months. I designed everything: the paper goods, table textiles, you name it & I did it. When we were featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, I started doing wedding design work, then it clicked that it could be so much more than that. This was the true start for Jenny Pennywood Textiles & Patterns.
R: Can you tell me about your practice / studio routine / how you relate to it?
J: I am a big multitasker. I multitask my way through each day. I don't sit much, I’ll say that. My desk sits in front of my painting walls & the Jenny Pennywood studio & team are a floor away. Lots of bouncing back & forth from emails, painting, big thinking, back to painting, and suddenly it all comes together. I find the balance in the bounce.
My current desire is for more, uninterrupted painting time. In my dream scenario, I’m creative directing Jenny Pennywood (as I already do), but with a more robust team, so I can spend more time leaning into gallery relationships & create more opportunities to paint with purpose.
R: What are your top 5 things right now? What themes / objects / foods / shows / music / books / inspirations / inputs define this phase of Jen Garrido?
Themes: Radical acceptance. Fine-tuning my intuition. Listening, leaning in & trusting.
Objects: Airpods (but mostly where they might be located). I listen to music & I listen to it loudly. This is where I enter my beloved flow state.
Foods: Anyone who knows me knows my favorite food is chicken tenders—is that an answer? Also iced tea. Remember the show Weeds? I’m like the main character carrying around that cup & sucking out of a straw. That’s me. I’m the extra large iced tea person.
Shows: Conversations with Friends. I loved it. I love the sappy shows that make me cry.
Music: Sad girl music and New Direction
Books: Sadly, I don't read much. I have 2 kids, so if I have a moment to read, I'd rather drown out my brain with trash TV.
Inspirations: I pull inspirations from everything & everywhere, filtering it all in & spitting it out in the work I do & designs I create.
R: I'm really taken with the quote below from your website. As someone who often falls prey to binary thinking, what advice do you have about surrendering and doing both?
J: Conversations about identity & how we see ourselves are important. And it’s important to have those conversations both internally & externally to see how things are lining up. Once a week, I meet with my brand copywriter. We discuss all things Jenny Pennywood & Jen Garrido. We talk a lot about owning the truth. That I can have both a commercial brand and also a fine art practice. I've always done it, but I have always hid Jen Garrido (my fine artist self) within the world of the branded, external Jenny Pennywood. Though really, it’s always been Jen Garrido's world & Jenny Pennywood’s just livin’ in it.
R: I love that, and couldn’t agree more—identity and self-observation is an ongoing exploration. Thanks, Jen!