We’re thrilled to welcome Erin McMorris, designer extraordinaire, to the Fat Quarterly blog today. Erin recently released a new fabric line with Free Spirit (adorably) named Summersault. We’re in love with the bright tones and happy motifs in this collection, and the raindrop balls have quickly become one of our favorite prints in recent memory. Erin also agreed to take part in our “designer masthead takeover” project. Check out our fun new Summersault-themed header!
We wanted to get to know a bit more about Erin and her inspiration for Summersault, and we’ve even got some fat quarter bundles for a few lucky readers. Read through to the end of the interview for more.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy our chat with Erin!
Welcome to the Fat Quarterly blog, Erin! For our readers that might not be familiar with your work, can you give us a brief introduction to yourself?
Thanks for asking me! I was a graphic designer who went on to study textile design and have been working in the industry for almost 15 years and freelancing for about half of that. I’ve designed everything from shower curtains, and knit socks, to swimwear and wrapping paper. I love designing more that I can explain and still can’t believe I get to draw every day.
Congratulations on the release of your new line, Summersault! What was the starting point of inspiration for this line? And can you give us a brief tour of its prints?
I wanted to do something a little brighter and younger than Weekends and started thinking about childhood summers of total freedom and fun. Remember how the first days of summer vacation were the just the best days when you were young? I wish we could bottle that feeling! All you had to worry about was whether you were going to play in the field, or the woods, and if it rained that was even better! I was trying to channel that imaginative spirit into some of the prints. All of my designs start as a pencil sketch that then gets redrawn in the computer. So a lot of my designs have a line work quality to them that is in keeping with the pencil lines. I always hope that my work is a blend of order and graphic elements with a softer handrawn quality.
If you had to describe the line in 3 words, what words would you use?
And how about the funky name? Where did that come from?
It just seemed like a fun name to reference childhood. We used to somersault down the hill in our front yard when we were kids. And I can’t believe that the correct spelling is somersault. It just seemed like it needed to be changed to reference summer, right?
One thing that quilters always love about your fabric collections is your bold use of bright, vibrant colors. Are those the types of colors that you are naturally drawn to? Why do you prefer to work in those tones and shades?
Ikea had an ad campaign a couple years ago that was “be brave, not beige” and I thought that was such a great phrase! Just in relating to home furnishings, beige is a huge dominating color because it is a neutral that goes with everything. While I get that, I also think other colors can be considered neutrals. I’ve never met a blue I didn’t like, and I almost consider pink to be a neutral because I think it does go with everything! I’ve made my peace with my brown couch but I need to see it dressed up with as many happy bright pillows as possible! Good color combinations just make me happy. I really like creating a collection for spring because after the long gray winter, I think people crave color. There is a reason that spring jackets are more likely to be made in prints of color rather than winter jackets that are usually in solid neutrals. But as always, who knows how I’ll be feeling about color next week…
Photo courtesy of Jeni Baker (jenib320 on Flickr)
It seems that your lines are “backwards compatible”, meaning that a quilter can combine prints from your many collections and the end result would still look cohesive. For example, jenib320 on Flickr recently showed how beautifully Summersault coordinates with many of the prints from Park Slope & Weekends. Is this a deliberate design decision on your part?
I’m so happy to hear and see this! When I start thinking about color, I am mostly concerned about creating a slightly different palette than my last collection which in this case for Weekends was lighter and more violet and peach. But I did pick up on some of my favorite colors from the Park Slope collection. I think most designers have a range of tonal values even more than actual colors that they feel comfortable working within and this is what keeps things looking cohesive or becomes known as their style. But yes, I’m completely guilty of being unable to tear myself away from bright pink!
Photos courtesy of Jeni Baker (jenib320 on Flickr)
What are three things people might be surprised to learn about you?
Even though Summersault was just released, we’re eager to know what you’ll be doing next. It’s probably too soon to tell us much about your next collection, but can you give us a hint of what we might expect in ONE WORD?
We hope you enjoyed our chat with Erin. Are you as smitten with Summersault as we are? Well, here’s your chance to score some for yourself. Erin is so generously giving away a fat quarter bundle each to 2 lucky readers. Want to win? All you have to do is leave a comment on this post letting us know what you’d like to make with Summersault. We’ll draw our winners randomly next Friday, June 17th.
** ETA: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering! **
Katy and I are still going through all of our notes and recovering from the wonderful time we had at quilt market. We met tons of great people, including some new names and faces that we hope to shine a light on here on the Fat Quarterly blog soon. But aside from all of the fabulous people we got to meet and hang out with, we all know what the main draw of quilt market is: THE FABRIC.
We collected tons of information about the newest fabric lines to be hitting your local shops in the coming days, weeks, and months, as well as the insanely talented designers behind them all. Today’s post is the first in a series of previewing some of our favorite fabric lines from Quilt Market.
Today, we’re thrilled to speak with Tula Pink, the creative genius behind such popular fabric lines as Parisville, Neptune, Full Moon Forest, and Flutterby. Tula was in Salt Lake City showing off her latest masterpiece, Prince Charming (and, trust us, it’s even more amazing in person than it looks on screen!) We couldn’t wait to learn more about this vibrant new collection. In addition, we’ve allowed our guests to take over our blog page in the spirit of their new collections. Check out our new Fat Quarterly masthead, all decked out Prince Charming-style!
Let’s hear more from Tula herself …
Before I was a fabric and quilt designer I was, like anyone else, a fabric lover and a weekend quilter. I would squeeze sewing into any free time I had which often involved blowing off plans with friends. My excuses for this behavior became more and more manufactured to the point where I could actually hear my loved ones rolling their eyes at me over the phone. No one was surprised when I turned this hobby into a career except for me.
There wasn’t anything like Fat Quarterly then (and it wasn’t all that long ago). We are a unique and gangly crew of craft misfits who refuse to fit the established standard that created words like “demographic” and “target market”. We are a new breed. We create our own communities without regard for geography and set our own aesthetic standards that can change in an instant. We rarely recognize that what we are doing is defying an industry and therefore we make no apologies for it. It’s a beautiful thing and I am ecstatic to be a part of it in any small way that I can.
We think that part of the appeal of all of your lines is that each one tells a story. What’s the story behind Prince Charming?
Story telling is a HUGE part of how I design. Every time I sit down to draw there are a million different directions I could go. The only way to focus my thoughts is to try to tell a story. With each piece I have to question whether or not it furthers the narration. Sometimes the narration is literal and other times it’s stylistic. Prince Charming is about fantasy. It’s about the fairytale we grow up with when rain was still fun instead of the precursor to mud, frogs are cool because they jump and snails are just weird but kind of awesome. It’s the embodiment of discovery, mystery and optimism. Prince Charming is by no means a children’s collection, I consider it an elegant interpretation of a child like spirit which is something that I strive for every day of my life. Occasionally I achieve it but sometimes I do have to sit down and pay my bills.
Another signature of your collections is your bold and imaginative use of color. What inspired your color selections for Prince Charming?
Color is a funny thing. Everyone lives within their own palette. For me, aqua is a neutral, it’s like denim, you can throw anything in with it and it still looks fresh. With the rest of the colors I was really listening to what my people were asking for, Neptune. Prince Charming is an electric re-interpretation of that infamous collection. I pumped up the volume a bit and reworked the color combinations. The people who follow my blog and Twitter and send me emails are really important to me, without them I couldn’t do what I do so I try to listen as best as I can while still being true to my own evolution as a designer. In this particular case, we both got what we wanted.
OK, so let’s talk about the hidden imagery that so effectively engages people with your designs. How did this unique approach to illustration develop? And do you think it will always play a role in your design style?
The hidden images are a necessity for my process. I get bored reallllllly easily. It’s a lot like staring at the clouds, if you stare long enough you start to see shapes that weren’t there at first glance. I live with these designs for over a year before they actually make it into stores. As I get more familiar with each design I begin to see things that might not have been there to begin with. As an image emerges I go back in and make it more intentional until it becomes a natural part of the design. The hidden critters will always be there, it’s just the way I think. They are my little wink, my secret hand shake, with the people who buy my fabrics.
How do you feel that your design style has evolved from your first fabric collection, Full Moon Forest, to the release of Prince Charming?
My design style has evolved immensely with each collection since Full Moon Forest. Over the course of my career I have become more confident in my own intuition. I’ve grown up. The question I get asked the most is what my favorite collection is, the answer is always the same, the newest one. With every collection I get better at executing my ideas, expressing my point of view and more skillful in the actual technique of drawing and creating repeats. The day my newest collection stops being better than the one that came before it is the day that I will quit designing fabric.
Your blog readers love when you give a glimpse into the early stages of your design process and the origins of your prints. Do you have any sketches or early views into the origin of Prince Charming that you can share as an exclusive for Fat Quarterly readers?
See images. Actually, the main print for Prince Charming was originally drawn for Hushabye but it just didn’t fit so I put it in my “revisit this later” drawer. It took a year or two to really visualize what I needed to build around it to make it feel right. I will never just throw something in a fabric collection. I draw out about 12 to 20 prints for every collection, I only use about 8 of them. Some of it sucks and some of it is really great but just doesn’t fit. Those little gems get set aside so I can do them justice later. The original frog prince didn’t have the personality that this one has, I’m glad I waited.
Not only are you an accomplished fabric designer, but you are a prolific quilt pattern designer as well. One seems more loose and free-form, while the other is structured and mathematical. Do you find that fabric design and pattern design use different parts of your brain? And is it difficult to shift from one to the other?
There were three things I was good at in school. Art, Math and sitting in the principal’s office (I was practically furniture in the disciplinary office). Designing fabric is a lot more mathematical than anyone thinks. Engineering a repeat is very calculated and structured much like designing a quilt pattern. One inspires the other, it’s a very fluid transition. The quilt is the outlet for the fabric. I generally begin thinking about the quilt as soon as the first print in a new collection is completed. If there isn’t anything to make with the fabric then what’s the point?
It’s probably too soon to tell us much about your next collection, but can you give us a hint of what we might expect in ONE WORD?
I’ll give you two words… peppered freckles. Try to figure that one out! Ha! And no, it’s not the name of the collection. It will all make sense someday.
Thanks so much, Tula! So what do you think of Prince Charming? What will you make first from this exciting new collection? Don’t forget to visit our sponsors to find more Prince Charming, and be sure to use your exclusive Fat Quarterly discount codes!
So many of us have brown wood tones all over our homes, and I tried to pick up on that. The chocolate color story also features reds and salmons for a warm look ? I love those colors! The mocha story features cool blues, in conjunction with the browns and light caramel colors. I had a lot of fun designing for that color story too.
Most importantly, unlike real chocolate, Swiss Chocolate is non-caloric.
My favorite thing that I?ve made? Well, I really love some of the quilts that I designed especially for Swiss Chocolate that will be featured in upcoming magazines? including a complimentary pattern for you all! It uses a jellyroll, with a little extra yardage. (Find the Chocolate Torte pattern here)
One of my favourite local fabric designers is Kristen Doran. Kirsten is Sydney based and produces some stunning screen printed designs that are both fresh and unique.
FQ: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your artistic background? “I am a graphic designer/textile designer/mother (of two awesome little boys). I hope they will grow up big and strong, make their fortune playing NBA basketball and buy me a loft apartment in NYC. But until then I spend my days selling hand printed fabrics and trying my hardest to ignore the housework.”
FQ: Everyone has a dream – what’s yours? Are you living it? “My dream is to sell fabric to a store in NYC. In a few months a new craft store will open and… they have ordered some of my panels. Insert insanely wild happy dance here.
FQ: How would you describe your designs? “One of the hardest questions to answer. So I might just take the easy way out on this and direct you here: www.kristendoran.com
FQ: How do you juggle motherhood and designing? “It’s both hard and easy. Hard because there’s so many distractions. Easy because I get to do what I love and spend lots of time with my children. Before kids I spent many years working in offices and it has given me a great appreciation to be able to work from home.”
Today we’re chatting with Kelle Boyd, aka ‘Ann Kelle’ the designer responsible for bringing us the vibrant, fun and colourful designs Remix, Urban Zoologie & Metro Market
FQ: Hello Kelle! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative background.
KB: My background is in public policy. Right out of graduate school, I started working for the Mayor of Nashville doing exactly what I thought I always wanted to do. However, I was stressed. Very stressed. In search of a stress relief, I went to a craft store one day. I?ll never forget that day. I remember walking the aisles of the store, searching and searching. I left with a canvas and some paint. That was the day my childhood love of art was rekindled. Two year later, I left my career in public policy to launch a line of stationery at the National Stationery Show in New York. A week following the show, my designs were being presented to Target. Now, my designs adorn all kinds of stationery products, found in stores such as Target, Barnes and Noble, Wal Mart and many other retail stores and most recently, fabric.
FQ: Who is ?Ann? of Ann Kelle Designs?
KB: Actually, there is no Ann. Ann comes from my middle name. When I started in the design field, I was very shy about sharing my artwork. So, I decided to use a pseudo name that I created by swapping my middle and first name. Kind of confusing, I know.
FQ: Your designs and the colours you select are so fun & fresh! Where do you find your inspiration?
KB: Thank you! I have a lot of fun creating my designs and it?s nice to know that?s reflected in my designs. My designs are inspired by things we have always known and loved?from dad?s tie, spring flowers, ice cream, our favorite rock band, and even TV shows I watched when I was child. For example, the whale design was inspired by a sweater that Natalie wore on the 80?s television show, Facts of Life.
FQ: Describe to us your design process. Do you begin with pencil and paper and then scan into a computer or do you design directly on the computer?
KB: I design directly on the computer and I love it. I traded in my paint brushes because I was tired of cleaning up the mess.
FQ:Are you a sewer yourself? If so, what sorts of things do you love to sew?
KB: I?m a newbie sewer. I started taking sewing classes this summer. I have been chronicling my first ten sewing projects on my blog. I have a really awesome teacher, Christine Moyers, who if I could have just a little bit of her skills I?d be so happy.
FQ:Your new line is set to launch soon. Can you tell us about it, the inspiration behind it and the colourways?
KB:I actually have several new lines coming out that I am really excited about. One of the lines is called Ready, Set, Go. It?s a transportation line. It was inspired by the birth of my baby cousin, Aerus. They decorated his room in airplanes. The men in my family, young and old, love all things aviation. And so I thought, let me pay tribute to them because my designs tend to be a bit girly. After sitting down to design, the line expanded into trains, cars, etc.
FQ: We can’t wait to see some sneak peeks! How do you foresee this range being used?
KB: Quilts, baby bedding, back packs, all sorts of fun projects for little boys.
FQ: What?s the best bit about designing your own fabric?
KB: My favorite thing about designing fabric is seeing how people use it. I love seeing their creations. It always makes me smile.
FQ: Which of your designs is your favourite and why?
KB: I don?t know that I have one favorite design. I?m currently loving the argyle, stripes and butterflies.
FQ: What?s next for Ann Kelle Designs ?
Thanks so much for chatting with us today Kelle!
Kelle is cleaning out her studio to make way for her new lines and has very kindly offered 3 (5 yard!!!!) bundles of fabric to giveaway to 3 very lucky readers!
After spotting our fun 5 week Remix fq bundle giveaway over on our Facebook page, Kelle offered to sponsor a 6th week on our Facebook page!!! Thank you Kelle!
For a chance to win hop over to Facebook & in the giveaway thread or on our wall answer Kelle?s call for help!
You?ll notice in the last question we asked Kelle ?what?s next…?? Well, Kelle would love your help & suggestions so if you have a suggestion and want to get your mitts on 5 yards(!) of scrummy Remix visit our Facebook page and pass on your thoughts….
3 Winners will be randomly drawn Wednesday 24th November and announced on our Facebook page.
*sorry comments on this blog post will not be entered into the draw
***Edited to add:***
We note the concern that some of you have about moving all our giveaways to Facebook. This is certainly not the case!
We currently have the giveaway for Kajsa Wikman’s book Scandinavian Stitches on our website and we have A LOT of great giveaways lined up for you over the coming weeks.
There are a number of factors that influence where we hold a giveaway, whether it be on our website, on Facebook, in the magazine or for Twitter users. Most important to us is that we spread the giveaways around all our followers so that everyone has a fair chance of winning some great prizes.
Congratulations on the launch of your first fabric line, Coquette! Tell us a little bit about the line and what inspired its name & design.
Carina Gardner: I wanted to work on a set of modern florals in happy, bright colors. I liked how flirty all the fabrics were and I loved the idea of a ?coquettish? line. It isn?t a typical pink girly line although it is definitely feminine. I loved the idea of a ?grown-up? floral.
You’re new to the fabric world, but certainly not to the world of design. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
CG: I have a M.A. and Ph.D. In Design and taught graphic design at the University of Minnesota for five years. I was doing a lot of research on color theory and logos (not as boring as it sounds!). I loved it but when I was done with school decided it was time to get back to designing. I love the craft industry and started doing paper lines for My Mind?s Eye and digital scrapbooking for Two Peas in a Bucket. With all the pattern-building I was doing for paper, it just made sense to transition into fabric.
What inspires you? What is your creative process like?
CG: I am a total magazine junkie (especially home d?cor magazines) and will get obsessed with a color scheme, the arch of a line, or a shape. The thing that inspires me the most is my two daughters. I?m always thinking about what I would dress them in or how I would decorate their room. Or I doodle. I?m a total doodler. And once in a while, a doodle will come to life. It?s amazing when that happens. The paisley in Coquette was a doodle once…
As for my creative process, it depends on my mood. Usually, I do a quick sketch and scan it in. Then I rework the idea in Illustrator. I try really hard not to think about the design too hard the first time around because I find that gut instinct is best. Then I?ll do a second take on a design or collection and work through the details to balance it.
You have a strong background in the scrapbooking field. It seems that a lot more designers are spanning the sewing and scrapbooking worlds. What do you think about this? How are the two fields similar? Different? What do you think this trend holds for the future of both industries?
CG: Oh yes, this trend will only get stronger. I mean, it makes sense. We are all pattern builders. Sometimes I?ll see a paper at CHA (Craft and Hobby Association-the scrapbooking equivalent of Quilt Market), and I?ll say, ?Why isn?t this in fabric? I want it in fabric!? You?ll see designers and scrapbooking companies aligning with fabric companies more and more. If you want to see what will be coming out in fabric from these paper companies, take a look at this season?s paper lines. Paper has a two to five month turn-around and fabric has a year. For example, my collection Love Nest came out as a Glitter Pad in Winter 2009 and will be coming out in fabric Winter 2010.
What got you interested in designing fabrics, a new medium for you?
CG: I?ve always been interested in fabric?I?ve sewn all my life. Lots and lots of Barbie clothing in my past. The idea of designing fabric just sounded fun (and it is!). In some ways, it is a more compelling medium for me because I?ve always built my own patterns and slip-covered my own chairs (especially during the many years of graduate school).
What has the process of putting together your first line taught you about the uniqueness of designing for fabrics and quilts? Is it different than you would compose a paper line?
CG: A little different, but a lot of the same. It just took me a while to realize it. In a small paper line, every single paper needs to be strong. And there isn?t a lot of tone-on-tone patterns. Ironically, I?m also sort of known for my asymmetrical designs in paper. Ya, that wasn?t going to work in fabric. With quilting fabric, I realized that I needed to build these more ?solid? patterns and to make sure and build small, medium, and large patterns. We do the same thing in paper, but many times those simplier designs are put on the back-side of a paper. I was almost afraid to add those simplier or smaller designs to a line because I didn?t know if it was acceptable. Now I know that they are absolutely necessary. Making my first quilt taught me that.
CG: My mom is a hand quilter. So I grew up with her quilting, but barely ever did any quilts with her (remember, I was too enthralled with making my Barbie?s fashionable). So last spring I took a quilting class and it completely changed my thought process about quilting. It was hard! But SO rewarding. I was a changed woman. I made my first quilt with Coquette, and I am trying to appeal to those out there like me?the adventurous, beginner quilter!
CG: I can?t really explain the feeling of elation when I look at the quilt I made form the Coquette line. It is probably the most precious object I have at this point because not only did I design the fabrics, but I made the quilt. It feels amazing. And when other people make things out of my fabric, well, can warm, fuzzy, and elated all happen at one time? Because it does for me.
CG: It?s girly. Completely inspired by my little girls. There is a serious obsession with pink in my house. I adore the little modern birdies and the paisleys. They are so fresh and feminine.
CG: As always, I?m doing a lot of projects and tutorials on my blog (carinagardner.com). I also recently started a newsletter featuring more of the crafting projects we?ve been doing in the studio. My first one just came out (read it here).
Next spring I?ll be coming out with a line of sewing patterns for little girls (See, the obsession is real. You can feel sorry for the one-lone man in the house now). You?ll also see three more lines from me next summer?Pinfeathers, Dress Up, and Baby Safari.
I also will be teaching a new Intermediate Illustrator online class in January that will focus on building patterns (all of my classes are at JessicaSprague.com). I?m pretty excited about this class because I think it will open people?s eyes on how to set up simple designs to be tiled into a full pattern.
Her newest line Spa has a very subtle, organic feel to it. Rosemarie uses natural shapes and very soothing colours.
The new range can be found at the Fat Quarter Shop.
We caught up with Rosemarie to find out more about her and her new line.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your artistic background.
I am a textile designer and work with my studio artists in NYC. I create products and designs for various customers in the home products market, home sewing market, and the apparel industry.
What 5 adjectives would you use to describe your line.
Organic,beautiful,natural, easy ,and soothing would be the 5 adjectives I would use to describe Spa.
The group is ORGANIC in its NATURAL shapes and SOOTHING in its coloration. I hope sewers will find it EASY to use and create BEAUTIFUL projects.
How do you foresee Spa being used?
I think Spa will have a broad appeal among quilters and sewers. Each pattern is an integral part of the whole collection and will make fantastic quilts. Yet each is strong enough to stand on its own and work for dresses as well as accessories.
Are you a sewer?
As I am not a sewer, I am amazed at the beautiful designs that quilters create with my fabrics. Lately I have been trying to cad some quilt designs using my fabric collections.
A pattern of a peace sign quilt that I designed with the Feelin’ Groovy collection is available.
I am also working on a Breast Cancer awareness quilting collection and I will be designing a pattern for that group. Windham Fabrics donates a portion of the proceeds from all my collections to the Maurer Foundation. All projects are available at Windham Fabrics.com
What comes next for Rosemarie Lavin?
Two other Rosemarie Lavin for Windham collections will be released in the next few months. The Flannel Rose will be released in May. This is a beautiful floral group in plums, roses and sage greens, printed on quilters flannel. This follows Cambridge my first group for quilters flannel. Spa will be released in June, and in July Paisley Panache will be out.
It sounded too delicious to resist, so we caught up with Erin to find out a bit more about her new line and what inspired it. In addition, because it’s Monday, we’ve got a bit of the new line to give away to a Fat Quarterly reader!
How does your background as a graphic designer influence you?
A lot! I still think of my work as graphic designs. I love bold flat patterns and I still look at a lot of graphic designers for inspiration.
What is your design process? Do you sketch or paint your designs and then scan into a computer or do you design direct on the computer?
I usually do a really quick pencil sketch just so I get the feeling and the scale, and then I scan it into the computer and redraw it from there. I never draw complete sketches because I’m really impatient to start drawing in the computer! Sometimes an idea doesn’t work, so I don’t want to spend a lot of time sketching things that don’t work once they are colored. I’m not a very linear thinker so I don’t really know where a sketch is going to go once I start redrawing it and that?s part of the fun.
With the creation of digital printing services many quilters would like to try their hand at designing fabric. Do you have any tips for wannabe fabric designers?
I think digital printing is fantastic. It really opens the door for just experimenting and having fun with designs because there are no rules and you are the only client. I actually want to try some designs myself!
What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
Oh, it has many variations, but I think the perfect weekend would be flying to Paris on an all expense paid trip! My reality is more likely to be lots of lounging and reading, beautiful weather, yummy food, fabulous friends and laughing, laughing, laughing.
Butter yellow, tomato red, lavender and leaf green. Mmmm it sounds like a picnic! How did you decide the colourways?
I had an idea of the colors before the prints really. I knew I wanted to try softer melons and lavenders that I haven’t used before. I had been seeing a lot of those colors in the market and wanted to see if I could make them work.
Where does the inspiration for Weekends come from?
That?s always a hard question for me. I find that I usually just dive in with a print or 2 that I just like. Then I sort of see where the designs are taking me and get a feeling of the inspiration from there. So because the colors started out softer, the prints started out that way too, and I tried to pair them with some harder edged designs and motifs as well. I started thinking of them being used in a picnic and what prints would be where…like “Saturday” is the print for the main quilt to sit on and “Hopscotch” would be a perfect print for napkins, and “Lilyrose” would work as a print inside of a picnic basket. That is where I found the prints going. I think the last print I designed is “Go by Bike” because it tied up the Weekend theme to me because no weekend is complete unless I’m on my bike.
What is coming next for Erin McMorris?
I have no idea, but if you had any thoughts, let me know!
Interested in winning a bit of “Weekends” for your own summer projects? We’ve got two fat quarter bundles to give away to two lucky readers. Simply leave a comment on this post and tell us what your perfect weekend would look like. We’ll randomly select two comments next Sunday, July 11th, to win these beautiful little bundles.
Dena Fishbein is a very talented lady! You have probably know her better as Dena Designs, the name of her studio.
Her newest line McKenzie has just been released for Freespirit Fabrics and you should be able to find it in fabric stores very soon. The line is a wonderful mix of florals and geometrics and has a fresh vintage feel to it.
I chatted to Dena to find out more about her and McKenzie.
You are extremely busy with a tv show, a newspaper column and your design work. Which do you enjoy most?
Well actually the television show ran for 2 years, for a total of 26 episodes and then I decided against continuing. It is now just re-runs. It was too intensive. For each episode I had to make the finished item and then each project in each step from start to finish. I am very particular about my projects, so finding the materials and doing the research was also very time consuming.
I still write a newspaper column for Scripps Howard which is distributed to about 420 newspapers.
But I focus mainly on product design. My favourite thing to do is designing and painting. I design all sorts of products from paper, fabric, bedding, melanine, kitchen and stuffed animals.
You say on your website that you enjoy scouring flea markets for inspiration. What has been your best find?
Oh I just love going to flea markets. Probably my best find was a painting. I had been looking for an old painting of palm trees in oils in a gold frame and I saw somebody pick it up. You should have seen my face. I hovered next to her until she put it down and then I just grabbed it and gave whatever money the man asked for to him. No haggling!
I go to one which is held once a month about half an hour away from where I live and wherever we are vacationing I try and find a flea market.
So, McKenzie is your newest line for Freespirit. Why is your line named McKenzie? What was your inspiration?
Simple answer! My husband was walking by when I was thinking what to name the line and he suggested McKenzie. He said it was a cute name and you know what, it is a cute name!
Freespirit give me no brief but they did say that at the moment people are buying bright happy colours. Fabrics with a neutral palette are just not selling. People want to surround themselves with fresh, happy colours.
When designing the line I thought about what I would like to go together. I like the combination of florals and geometrics. It has a modern fresh feel. So I start by sketching ideas out in the look I want.
I keep files of colours, flowers and pattern layouts and use those to work out what look I am after.
What was your design process for McKenzie?
I usually paint on computer paper. I do a very fast pencil sketch. In about 2 minutes. I look at it and write notes and imagine which colours it would look good in. I then list the colours on the side.
I then sketch the pattern onto watercolour paper and mix the colours. I paint one colourway and then develop the other colourways using the computer.
In this collection the colourways stayed the same and there are usually 1 or 2 prints that are dropped each collection.
Describe to us the colour palette you chose for McKenzie.
The colour stories are black / pink, aqua/green and lilac. I knew that lavender was selling really well and was a trend so I wanted to incorporate that into the line. I love the richness of black and how it makes things look rich and beautiful. And aqua is my favourite colour so a little aqua worked itself into the collection It gives it a modern / vintage feel.
What projects do you have in mind for McKenzie?
I think the line combines very well for all sorts of projects, not just quilting. We have just designed an apron, pillows, dog bedding and I think clothing would look good in the line.
The collection McKenzie will be used for other products as well. I usually design the fabric first as I am always working on fabric collections and then I use those in my other product lines.
What?s next for Dena Designs?
I am currently working on another fabric line but I am not sure what it is called yet. The line I am working on at the moment has a very watercolour feel.
Then there are 2 other lines which are already finished. Pea Garden and Cummary Garden. I am also going to be working on a Christmas line for 2011. I always have several projects on the go. I am working on some greeting cards too at the moment.
Look out for projects designed using Dena’s line in our October Issue!
‘Party Dress’ is the debut fabric line by designer Mo Bedell for Blue Hill fabrics. This pretty little collection would work equally well for both dresses and quilts and features the gorgeous cheater hexagon print above.