Life doesn't always happen in perfect clarity, does it? Literally or figuratively. Given that, I surely hope you'll overlook the blurry images in this post. Maybe you'll also grant me some latitude on my hair, which really should have been in a ponytail. I'd like to think the blurry pics made my hair look frizzy, but no, it was really a moppy frizzfest all on its own! :)
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A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure to guest speak at the meeting of a local group, the Berks Quilters Guild. They are a talented and large guild - I was excited & nervous. When I was introduced as the 'best kept secret in town,' I reeeealllly had to take a deep breath and calm my jitters before I reached the microphone. But, like all quilters I have come to know, they were incredibly warm & welcoming and eager to hear what I had to share about fabric, quilting and sewing! It just so happens those are things I like to chat about!
What a magnificent treat to stand before a group of 1oo or so women and not have a single, solitary blank stare when I desribed what I do: "I design and manufacture organic cotton fabrics for the quilting industry, which I sell to independent quilt shops on a worldwide basis."
Click. They got it and nodded along with complete understanding.
My presentation was entitled, "From Sketched Design to Printed Bolt." I covered a lot of territory!
- background on how I landed in the world of fabric design in the first place
- the transition from hobby-business to business-business, with a few key turning points and risks I took
- the mistakes I've made along the way - some funny, some expensive and not-so-funny
- what Quilt Market is like
- where my inspiration comes from
- how to turn a doodle into a design, and the tools and software used in the process
- how the fabric design I create eventually becomes a bolt of fabric
- what large-volume rotary printing entails and how I work with the mill
Once I made a dent in these topics, I showed about 15 examples of designs from my sketchbooks (above) and the fabric design they turned into (below) - abracadabra! Well, the process is not quite so instantaneous - but it sort of felt that way as I showed them back-to-back in quick succession. "This flower became this design... these lines became this texture... this snowflake became this Moroccan design...."
I took along some materials so they could create their own fabric repeats on paper. They weren't quite sure where we were headed, but once they completed the activity, I was able to tie it back to how I create a repeat in Illustrator.... explaining the seamless tiling aspect.... and I heard a lot of knowing, "oooohs! aaaaahs!" Just like everything else throughout the night: Click. They got it. Quilters rock!
* * * * * Coming up Friday, I will share the activity here on the blog. * * * * *
I took along some door prizes, pattern handouts of my Garden Ladder Quilt and Fabric Produce Bag, magazines where my fabrics were featured and some MODERN quilting books (which they loved!). I know some of these women have heard of the Modern Quilt Guild, but not many. It was a lot of fun to share this with them. Quite a few wrote down the book titles (Sunday Morning Quilts, Quilting Modern, Modern Patchwork) and authors (Cheryl Arkison and Amanda Jean Nyberg, Jacquie Gering and Katie Pederson, Elizabeth Hartman) so they could find them later.
I also shared lotsa samples of sewn goodies: pillows, handbags, quilts (of course!) and even the skirt I had on that was finished only an hour prior (maybe I should spent more time on my hair than on the skirt!). It was really gratifying to talk about these items with such an appreciative audience!
It was also pretty cool to see so much of my work in one place. It's not very humble to say I was impressed, but it's also not very often that we allow ourselves the proper distance and time to reflect on our accomplishments. I strongly advise giving it a try!!! You'll be surprised what comes into sparkling clarity when you stop for a moment to do so.