Clay McLaurin drew from his Georgia roots and journeys to Japan to create his first fabric collection, Clay Studios (ClayMcLaurin.com), set to debut this spring at Ainsworth-Noah & Associates. McLaurin, a former fabric design professor at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art, painted each of the 10 patterns. Each brushstroke gives the collection a loosely drawn, organic nature.

McLaurin and his partner, Todd Piercy, desired to debut the collection, which is manufactured in North Carolina and made of Belgian linen, in the South, and particularly, Atlanta, where they live. “His designs are youthful. They’re fresh,” says Winton Noah of Ainsworth-Noah.

During trips to Japan, McLaurin was inspired by Asia’s plant life and fabric textures and techniques (some became pattern names, such as Shibori, which is a dyeing method). After spending time in the Northeast, where he earned his master of fine arts in textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked in New York City, McLaurin embraced his southern roots in creating the collection. The palette, which he describes as subtle, also was inspired by nature.

“The South has that strong hold to nature and plants and gardening,” he says. “My grandmother taught me how to garden. Some of the patterns are inspired by plants that grow here and things that were in her garden.”  —Lori Johnston

“The perfect spring cocktail is Hangar One Kaffir Lime vodka with Perrier and freshly squeezed lime. This drink, with a hint of green, an extraordinary aroma, and an exceptionally crisp flavor, makes me think of spring pretty much any time of year.” —Joel Kelly

“My entertaining essentials are candles! Every meal is better with candles. You can use tapers or hurricanes or even jelly jars—candles are the perfect mood setter. I even travel with candles—doesn’t a less-than-perfect hotel room look so much nicer with the lights out and a candle lit?” —Kay Douglass

“My favorite color combination right now is tangerine, teal and chartreuse. It makes me smile.” —Sara Steinfeld.

“I’m loving color, color, color mixed with fresh neutrals such as white, pale blue-gray, or something like clear, crystaline sand. Nothing muddy or murky.” —John Oetgen

“My favorite spring cocktail is ‘Coming Up Roses,’ which can be found in my book, Soiree: Entertaining with Style (Rizzoli, $50).” —Danielle Rollins

Coming Up Roses
•  6 oz of fresh lime juice
•  3 oz  fresh rose petals (make sure they are not sprayed with pesticides)
•  1/2 oz rose syrup
•  1 splash of rose water
•  1 1/2 oz raspberry or lemon flavored rum
•  2 oz Champagne
Muddle lime and rose petals with rose syrup and rose water in a mixing glass. Add the rum and shake well in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Pour into a tall glass, filled with crushed ice, top with Champagne. Garnish with more rose petals, thinly sliced lime wheels and a straw.


“For a casual springtime Sunday supper, we love take-out from Chef Shaun Doty’s Bantam & Bitty, along with a great Burgundy.” —Sara Steinfeld

“Of course, I rarely follow the recipe and encourage others to make drinks to taste, not from a recipe card! I usually combine all of the ingredients, except anything fizzy, in a pitcher and make for a crowd! This also allows me to make the drink ahead of time. Then top with the Champagne just before serving.” —Danielle Rollins



Our Experts
Kay Douglass is the principal designer of Kay Douglass Interiors and proprietor of South of Market (southofmarket.biz), a home furnishings shop. chad holman is the managing director of Jim Thompson America (jimthompson.com), an international fabric house whose North American headquarters is based in Atlanta. Joel Kelly is a Princeton-trained architect and Shutze Award-winning interior designer. Liz McDermott is the owner of Liz McDermott Interiors. John Oetgen (oetgendesign.com) is an Atlanta-based interior designer. His fine-art photography is represented by Hagedorn Foundation Gallery. Danielle Rollins (danielledrollins.com) is an author and noted lifestyle expert. Sara Steinfeld is a local arts supporter and philanthropist.