When did you know you wanted to become a fabric designer?
In the fall of 1997, I attended a birthday party for my great aunt's 2nd husband. I almost didn't go to the party, but that day changed my life. My second cousin, Susan Adame, whom I hadn't seen in years, was there. I asked her what she was up to. She described the school she was attending: The California School of Professional Fabric Design, in Berkeley, CA. I had never even heard of textile design before. Immediately, a light bulb went on in my head, and I decided right then and there that (textile design) was what I wanted to do with my life.
How did you start?
The 1st day after the party (and the conversation with my cousin) I called the school, signed up for next available class and after 18 months of working full time and going to school nights and weekends I finished the program! My life changed when I discovered the world of textile and surface design. Design and pattern had always surrounded me, but I was oblivious to it. I can vividly remember coming home from my first class and looking in the closet for the first time and seeing (actually noticing) the patterns on my clothes. From then on, it was all over. Life is full of pattern, and it is now impossible for me not to notice all of the design that surrounds me.
Where does your inspiration come from?
When I worked for big box design firms (creating for WalMart, Target, Costco, Bed, Bath and Beyond) I was sent out to go “trend shopping” to get inspired. Basically I was paid to go shopping and find cute things and then come back and create our own spin on what was already in stores. Now that I am my own boss, I go “trend hiking”. Most of my designs are inspired by the natural world that surrounds me. Take the design “Stornetta” for example. The flowers on the fabric were found while hiking on the Stornetta public lands- https://www.visitmendocino.com/point-arena-stornetta-public-lands/ . I love being outside. I live in a remote and beautiful place. To give you a sense of how remote - the closest stoplight is over an hour away. . . being away from stores and close to nature suits me and my design research just fine.
"My goal is to have designs that aren’t trendy
so much as timeless".
What is your favorite part about creating and designing?
The first is the way the world and time disappears when I am designing. I can get lost in the colors and layout for hours. Playing with colors, scale and layout I find exciting and joyful.
The second part is the co-creating process. I love being given a challenge and then being set free to figure it out. This year I am on a year long voyage to try to bring more co-creating back to my life. Working for yourself is a wonderful thing but I have missed that co-creating process so I am working on re-energizing that part of my life. Earlier this year I worked with a company, Herbal Animals https://www.herbal-animals.com/ , that wanted a Giraffe print for their product. That is in production now and we should have it available for them (and others!) in a few months. I am also working with artist/friend Suzan Friedland - https://suzanfriedland.weebly.com/ - to bring her artwork to printed fabrics. She is having a retrospective show of her work in October and we plan to offer her new by-the-yard at that time (if not before!).
Definitely connecting with thoughtful likeminded people. The friendships I have made over the last 13+ years have been wonderful, meaningful and inspiring.
Well, there have been many lovely people I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. It is hard to pick just one! I read about Teresa VanHattan-Granath’s, aka The Green Bag Lady (http://greenbaglady.blogspot.