Tag Archives: fall quilt market 2011

Rachel_3[Images courtesy of Rachel Ashwell]

[I recently returned from Quilt Market, a fabric trade show in Houston, where my debut line with Andover Fabrics was previewing.  I had the chance to interview a few other talented designers + am so happy to share their incredible words of wisdom and encouragement.  I hope you enjoy!]

The day before the trade show floor opens at Quilt Market there is an entire day devoted to “Schoolhouse Presentations” where designers, fabric companies, and other exhibitors give 15 to 30 minute talks.  The morning of the schoolhouse presentations, you can pick up a copy of the list and choose between 10 or so talks for each time slot.  Well, the minute I saw Rachel Ashwell (creator of Shabby Chic) on the list, I knew I had to go.  Except that surely Rachel Ashwell herself wouldn’t actually be there?!  This must have been a typo.  I prepared myself for disappointment.

Rachel_2

You guys, she was really there!  I walked in the room, and there was Rachel casually draping some of her fabrics over the folding table at the front of the room.  She even had a small vase of flowers with her at the podium where she talked about the Treasures fabric collection and showed a few previews from her new book, Shabby Chic Inspirations.

Rachel_4

While my home is pretty far from Shabby Chic style, I grew up loving her television show.  She always talked about decorating with such sincerity and passion.  I feel she made it “okay” for many people to admit that they wanted things that were pretty and feminine and beautiful.  So it was really inspiring to see her present some sneak peeks into her process and some inspiration images of how she uses fabrics and quilts in her home and work.

About half way through her talk, I realized that if I was serious about rounding up some interviews with other designers, I would be an idiot not to at least go up and ask.  So I did my best to channel Oprah and asked her if she had a moment for a few questions.  She was so gracious and kind.  I wish you could hear her answers in her own voice (especially to question #3), but I think the answers alone are lovely –

Is there something you are most excited to be showing off at Quilt Market?

Yes.  It’s the archival Shabby Chic fabrics.  These have been in the archives for 22 years, and I’m excited to be sharing them with the public.

Rachel_1

What keeps you inspired?

Flowers, my garden.  Wanting to be feminine, to be fresh, to be romantic.

What one piece of advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue their own creative dream?

To really follow your intuition.  I always say “there is a designer for everything but not one designer for everything.”  Every time I’ve said “oh, I don’t really like this but the market needs it, it’s been a big flop.”  So listen to your intution.  Do your own thing.  Do it well, and keep at it.

Designer Interview with Thomas Knauer

thomas-knauer-sews-opposites-attract-quilt

[All images courtesy of Thomas Knauer.  Patterns for these projects are available for purchase from Thomas' shop]

Hi everyone.  I have one more designer interview to share from Quilt Market — and today, it is the incredibly awesome Thomas Knauer.

Thomas is celebrating his debut with Andover Fabrics.  I had the good fortune to be sitting next to him at the Andover sales meeting, and he made me feel instantly at home.  Thomas is one of the most enthusiastic and generous people I’ve met to date.  (Not just in the fabric/quilting industry, but in life — so if you haven’t connected with Thomas yet, I encourage you to head over to his site now.)  Pear Tree, his first line, is in stores now, and Thomas is on a roll with two more lines, Flock and Savanna Bop, coming up next.

I really enjoyed his answers (especially to question #3) and hope that you do as well.

thomas-knauer-sews-birds-eye-quilt

What are you most excited to be showing off at this show?

Phew!  That’s a questions and a half.  Since this is my first Market with anything to actually show off to the world I kinda want to say everything!!!  But I’ll be good and will narrow things down.  While I love Pear Tree (how could I not love my first line) and all the quilts and pillows I’ve made from it, I think I am most excited to be debuting Flock.  I really feel like I am getting close to the fabric I see in my head with this one.  I know, one might think that if I see fabric in my head it should be easy to get it down on paper, but it isn’t for me.  The thing about the way I see things in my head is that it is rarely visual; it is more often a description accompanied by a feeling.  Perhaps I shouldn’t call it seeing things in my head, but calling my designs the things I read or hear in my head just sounds crazy.  Anyway, Flock feel so personal to me for some reason, and I am so happy with how it has turned out.  It really feels like bits of me on cloth.

tweet-full3-500x625

What keeps you inspired?

Oi! Another tough one.  Inspiration is a tough concept for me.  I rarely think of myself as being inspired; I think of myself more as a grinder.  My entire career I’ve had to work at being creative.  It is more a mental effort than a visual one.  Ideas rarely come to me; I feel around in the dark corners of my brain for them and eventually find the kernels of ideas in the mess.  Then I work them over again and again.  If anything I’d say that process is what keeps me inspired.  Oh, and of course my amazing daughter.  So much of what I design is so I can make stuff for her out of it.

thomas-knauer-sews-parenthetical-quilt

What advice would you give to someone else who wants to pursue their own creative dream?

Make more.  Seriously, that’s it.  That was how I taught design back in my professorial days, and that is how I continue my practice now.  I have enough designs in reserve right now to do at least four more lines (if I added a few new ones for continuity within each collection).  When I first sent designs off to Andover I had three complete collections, two of which are thankfully on the trash pile.  I’m pretty sure I could rework those two lines into good collections, but my interests have already shifted.  Pear Tree just shipped and I am already finalizing my fourth and fifth collections.  And working on sketches for numbers six and seven.  Make more; you can always hold them back in reserve for those times when the ideas aren’t clicking, or let them sit for further revision (revision is always good, even if you end up going with the original version).  But the main reason to make more is that it will help you get better.  Between gallery, museum, academic, and now textiles I’ve been doing this for twenty years and I still see myself getting better every month.  So, make more.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered when designing fabric and patterns?

The fact that people like what I’m doing.  I’m not kidding.

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , .

Designer Interview: Pam Kitty Morning

Pam2[Images courtesy of Pam Kitty Morning]

Hi everyone.  Today, I am wrapping up the last of my Quilt Market designer interviews!  Thanks for all of the wonderful feedback on these.  I’m so glad you are enjoying them.

There are a few additional people I contacted after the show and haven’t heard from yet, so I may pop in here from time to time with a few updates.  However, before I close this chapter, I wanted to talk to Pam Vieira-McGinnis of Pam Kitty Morning.  I think most of you probably already know and love Pam, but for the few who don’t, let me fill you in — Pam is an incredibly talented (and very well liked) quilter/pattern designer/sewing genius who is celebrating her first line of fabric with Lakehouse Dry Goods.

Pam really knows how to keep a secret, because a year ago she was patiently listening to me blab on and on about trying to get a fabric deal while she had this killer line tucked up her sleeve.  Last show was her big reveal, and now she actually has finished, printed fabric in her hands.  Pam was hanging out at the Lakehouse booth and I got to pick her brain a bit.  (There’s cute Pam below on the left.)

Pam3

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered when designing fabric and patterns?

Biggest surprise? ALL OF IT! Holy cow who could have imagined all this? When my friend Sandy started showing me some photos and blogs in 2006 I felt like a whole world opened up to me. Everyday I was sitting down at the computer with coffee and finding out about things I had never heard of. Then she convinced me it would be fun to start a blog and the rest is crazy history! I could never anticipate how wonderful it would be to connect with people all over the world over a cup of internet coffee.

Pam1

What keeps you inspired?

Inspired? The people! The projects. The fabric! Before, magazines and tv and our local quilt shop would tell us what was going on in quilting and crafting, now we have a feast right at our fingertips. And in our pj’s! You can read about creative journeys, browse photos in Flickr and Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook will hook you up with the trend of the day. Of course sometimes it’s a double edged sword. It can be intimidating to see what other people are up to. If I’m feeling inadequate I turn away. Everyone has a place at the internet table, pull up a chair and sit down!

What advice would you give to someone else who wants to pursue their own creative dream?

Have your own creative dream? Pursue it! There’s a ton of info out there just waiting for you to find it.

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , , .

Designer Interview: Monica Lee

Monica1

I’m back with another designer interview from Fall Quilt Market (only a couple to go now).  Today I’m talking to someone who is not just a very talented artist, but also someone I consider a great friend – Monica Lee.  Monica and I met while taking Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way class, and she is one of those encouraging, funny, generous girls that you hang onto once you’ve found them! She always has some sage been-there-done-that advice and knows how to make me laugh, so talking to Monica is a win-win.

I want to apologize for the so-so photos from this post.  Timeless Treasures has a large, beautiful booth but the spot lights make it hard to photograph (although everything sparkles in person).  Monica shared some of her photos with me at the bottom of the post because she actually had two areas in the booth and I missed one!

Check out her answer to question #3 and be sure to go read her great blog series, The Care and Feeding of a Dream.  Great stuff!

Monica2

What are you most excited to be showing off at this Quilt Market?

I feel like I am having to choose between two babies since I have two collections that came out at this Market!  One called The Neighborhood which had been hanging out in my portfolio waiting for its’ moment in the sun.  I created this entire story around what happens in a neighborhood — the play, the pets, the houses, the memory making.  I dipped into my own childhood and made a print with roller skates and jump ropes, jacks and marbles.  The second collection is actually a quilt top with my Cardigan Girls on it with all their sassy sayings.  I love that these girls are encouraging but sort of quirky at the same time.  I am really happy with the coordinates from this collection since these were all original watercolors.  I was impressed that it translated so well onto fabric.  We came up with the cutest sleeping bag pattern for young girls to whip up out of the quilt top, perfect for a first sleepover and I designed it with ties instead of a zipper!  Ez Peezy!  It will be a free pattern on the Timeless Treasures website soon.

monicaleefabric1[Photo from Monica Lee]

What keeps you inspired?

So many things keep me inspired!  I love books and magazines.  I used to travel all the time and that left a wonderful imprint on my heart and in my mind.  But if I were to choose the greatest inspiration to me it would have to be people.  I feel like I did 100 years ago in my flight attendant interview when everyone said, “I just love people!”  I actually do love people.  I can soak up other peoples’ stories all day long.  And FYI – I did NOT say that in my interview.  I told them that I thought variety was the spice of life and travel offered me quite a bit of variety… ugh!  Variety and no sleep!  Just say no to red-eye flights!

monicalee1[Photo from Monica Lee]

What advice would you give to someone else who wants to pursue their own creative dream?

Get clarity of your vision, write it down (I call it road mapping), put a plan in place to make it happen!  And here is a biggie that no one talks about… prepare for the “meantime.”  As we head towards our creative dreams often we wake up without any recollection of what we are doing!  At least I know I did!  I have had days when I have let my mind wander into, “What was my dream again?  What am I headed towards?”  Or the days when you think you are the only one on the planet who is pursuing a dream.  I think we all have things, people, circumstances that can derail us and I would encourage you not to let that happen!  I have a blog series that I have been writing, The Care and Feeding of  a Dream in case you find yourself a bit stalled!  I will be your cheerleader!

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered when designing fabric and patterns?

If I were to really narrow the “surprises” down it would be just how quickly people can make quilts!  I don’t remember my grandmother kicking them out so fast.  My fabrics arrive right before market, and I can’t believe how quickly they are sewn up (quick shout out to Heidi Pridemore from The Whimsical Workshop who has sewn up my goodies for this market!  Amazing!)  What I love but am not surprised by is just how nice people in this industry are!  I genuinely enjoyed every minute of this show.  I think that just goes to show that “people who make things are lovely people.”  Ohhhh, I may have to go tweet that!

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , .

Designer Interview: Carol Van Zandt

Carol_3[All images from Carol Van Zandt - check out Carol's name up there on the Andover sign!]

Hi everyone!  I’ve been scrambling around on another deadline and trying to recover from being sick, so I apologize for the little hiatus in the designer interviews.  It will come as no surprise to anyone but me that once again I have taken on a bit too much.  I am most thankful for Thanksgiving this year — a little break in the midst of chaos — and an opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen.  (Of course, I can say this with a cheerful heart, because I’m going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving and am only making a few things!)

Today I wanted to share this great interview with one of my fellow Andover designers, Carol Van Zandt.  Her debut line, Tokyo Rococo, will be shipping this January (and there’s a whole lot more coming after that!).  Carol has a fine art background and a degree in textile design so I think her story is really fascinating.  I know a lot of newer designers I’ve met at market (myself included) are self-taught, so meeting someone like Carol who has the talent and the education is great.  I get a lot of questions about how to get into fabric design, so I’m excited to be able to show another side to this here.  (I even snuck in a few extra questions for Carol.)  Here’s Carol –

Carol_1

What are you most excited to be showing off at this Quilt Market?

I had three collections selling on paper, “Tokyo Rococo”, which will be shipping in January, “cafe jazz” which will be out in late spring, and another collection that is really different and was pre-selling and I will keep as a surprise for now!  The first collection for anyone just has to be the most exciting, so that’s Tokyo Rococo.  It has a modern Japanese flavor with a nod to classic European design.  I spent five years studying art in Japan and collecting textiles, and three years studying traditional textile design, so it kind of pulls from those experiences for me, fusing those influences in a new way.  It seems to be selling, I hope people like it!

What keeps you inspired?

I had been a contemporary painter for many years before I studied textile design so I sort of have my own rhythm of inspiration, design and execution cycles.  So I simultaneously keep collecting inspiration, working on projects in the design pipeline, and putting the finishing touches on collections.  When I am not inspired there are plenty of logistical things to keep up with!  What inspires me most are motifs in nature, my collections of textiles and design books, and I love keeping up with the newest in the art and design world.  I do love reading trend reports-especially on color, and I love modern architecture.  Following some good design blogs these days keeps me inspired and plugged in.  Hopefully it all informs my drawings from imagination, which is where I get the actual motifs I use in my designs.

Carol_2

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue their creative dream?

I think the biggest thing to sort out is separating the work you do for money and the work you do for love.   For some people it squashes their creativity having to make a business out of their art, and that side of it is just not their thing.   Better to get a job you like enough and that allows you the time and security to pursue your creative dream on the side.  If and when you are ready to get into a creative business full time, go for it!   Do your homework, make sure you have some money to invest in your business and don’t let anyone stop you.   Listen, learn, adapt, but stay true to your creative vision.  Perseverance furthers.

What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered when designing fabric and patterns?

I started out studying textile design with the intended goal of moving my contemporary art to a different medium.  I was surprised to be so intrigued by the whole gamut of textiles, from vintage and historical textiles to novelty and graphic.  It really rocked my world and broadened my inspiration sources and creative vision exponentially.

What would you say to someone thinking about enrolling in a textile design program?  Are there certain things they should consider before applying?

I don’t know very much about all the programs that are out there, except that there aren’t very many.  So if there isn’t anything available near you, there are books, ebooks, and online courses.  I think we do need to learn our trade in whatever business we are going into.  So I think people need to commit to doing that whatever way they do it.  People do all come into fabric design or art licensing from different directions and backgrounds, and probably need to fill in their knowledge in different ways. Some of the most talented artists I know are self-taught.  But they did spend time teaching themselves, and there is always the learn by doing method!  In this industry, the only thing that matters is the quality and marketability of the work you produce.  So what ever way you do it, know what you are doing, as it will show. I also think if you have an idea of the primary market you think your designs or art would work well on, best to investigate that direction first and resources to learn to do that well, and then you can move to other markets.

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , , , .

Designer Interview: Rachel Ashwell

Rachel_3[Images courtesy of Rachel Ashwell]

[I recently returned from Quilt Market, a fabric trade show in Houston, where my debut line with Andover Fabrics was previewing.  I had the chance to interview a few other talented designers + am so happy to share their incredible words of wisdom and encouragement.  I hope you enjoy!]

The day before the trade show floor opens at Quilt Market there is an entire day devoted to “Schoolhouse Presentations” where designers, fabric companies, and other exhibitors give 15 to 30 minute talks.  The morning of the schoolhouse presentations, you can pick up a copy of the list and choose between 10 or so talks for each time slot.  Well, the minute I saw Rachel Ashwell (creator of Shabby Chic) on the list, I knew I had to go.  Except that surely Rachel Ashwell herself wouldn’t actually be there?!  This must have been a typo.  I prepared myself for disappointment.

Rachel_2

You guys, she was really there!  I walked in the room, and there was Rachel casually draping some of her fabrics over the folding table at the front of the room.  She even had a small vase of flowers with her at the podium where she talked about the Treasures fabric collection and showed a few previews from her new book, Shabby Chic Inspirations.

Rachel_4

While my home is pretty far from Shabby Chic style, I grew up loving her television show.  She always talked about decorating with such sincerity and passion.  I feel she made it “okay” for many people to admit that they wanted things that were pretty and feminine and beautiful.  So it was really inspiring to see her present some sneak peeks into her process and some inspiration images of how she uses fabrics and quilts in her home and work.

About half way through her talk, I realized that if I was serious about rounding up some interviews with other designers, I would be an idiot not to at least go up and ask.  So I did my best to channel Oprah and asked her if she had a moment for a few questions.  She was so gracious and kind.  I wish you could hear her answers in her own voice (especially to question #3), but I think the answers alone are lovely –

Is there something you are most excited to be showing off at Quilt Market?

Yes.  It’s the archival Shabby Chic fabrics.  These have been in the archives for 22 years, and I’m excited to be sharing them with the public.

Rachel_1

What keeps you inspired?

Flowers, my garden.  Wanting to be feminine, to be fresh, to be romantic.

What one piece of advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue their own creative dream?

To really follow your intuition.  I always say “there is a designer for everything but not one designer for everything.”  Every time I’ve said “oh, I don’t really like this but the market needs it, it’s been a big flop.”  So listen to your intution.  Do your own thing.  Do it well, and keep at it.

Filed under Fabric & Sewing, Inspiration, Travels Near & Far. Tagged with , , , , .