Shayla Johnson Creates Home Goods That Are Functional and Fabulous

The print, pattern, and textile designer’s inspirations are rooted in her surroundings
shayla johnson home goods
Shayla Johnson creates simple yet timeless patterns from her printing house at Post by Mutual Adoration. // Photograph by Michelle Graham

If you’re looking for more ways to update your home décor, Detroit-based print, pattern, and textile designer Shayla Johnson of Scarlet Crane Creations makes the case for minimalist screen-printed art, home goods, and textiles made with all-natural fabrics and eco-friendly inks.

It was in Chicago that Johnson, 43, started her business selling stationery featuring her illustrations. After moving to Detroit with her husband in 2012, Johnson soon found her place in the city’s maker community and began designing patterns for fabric. She sold stationery and tea towels at The Rust Belt Market and presented her work at art fairs and expos in Detroit, Ypsilanti, and Ann Arbor. In 2017, she moved into the local retail shop and craftwork studio Post by Mutual Adoration, where her printing house is located, and where she does watercolor and screen-printing demonstrations.

“I learned about [Detroit’s artistic community] even before I moved here,” Johnson says. “People were telling me, ‘Wow, it would be a great place for you because artists are finding some great places to create.’”

Her inspirations are rooted in her surroundings. The Detroit Collection, done in partnership with local cut and sew businesses, pays homage to the city’s architecture. It features throw pillows, tea towels, and bags with Art Deco motifs inspired by the Guardian, Fisher, and Penobscot buildings. Her botanical watercolor prints depict abstract poppies and lavender, and dahlias found at the organic cut flower farm Detroit Abloom. Johnson also designs fabric patterns for licensing and hopes to expand her offerings to more apparel and painted wall art, a new pastime she picked up during quarantine.

Johnson is an ambassador of Nest’s Makers United program in Detroit. Launched in June, the program is coordinated by fashion designer Tracy Reese and the nonprofit Nest to provide resources for local artisans.

Johnson says nothing is more rewarding for her than when people understand her vision: art that is both useful and beautiful. “When I see it’s really hit home for some people, that just makes me smile,” she says.

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