Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Artist UnSEWn Series-TokyoMilk presents Neptune & the Mermaid by Margot Elena

Q&A with Margot Elena!  A fun chat discussing her TokyoMilk presents Neptune & the Mermaid collection.  

Q: You are an internationally known Perfumer & Packaging Designer know for sophisticated layered fragrances and beautiful products. That's drawn you to design fabric?

A: When I design a new collection, I design in four senses. First, the visual, how your eye is drawn to the sparkle of a glass bubble bath bottle. The way the product feels when you pick it up. I use a range of materials in my lines from crystals, embossed linen papers, to natural wood boxes, like in Library of Flowers. I think about the way a product sounds as someone engages with it. Lollia candles have cut-glass crystals hanging from the side that tap against the luminary. Our bath salt sachets have paper wrapped in soft fabric that crinkles when held. And of course, the fragrances are the final piece of the puzzle.

I say all of this to preface the fact that my collections are often inspired by the warmth and texture of fabrics. Both fragrance and fabric can capture ones imagination. They are invitations to immerse into a moment.

I have stacks of beautiful vintage textile design books that I've collected over the years, filled with original gouache paintings and printed samples. Some of those one-of-a-kind patterns have inspired my packaging designs, and the patterns I am creating for textiles. I am so excited to finally be designing fabric - I have wanted to do this forever!

Q: TokyoMilk by Margot Elena is a cult-classic fragrance brand, including TokyoMilk Dark,
TokyoMilk Light, and now Neptune & the Mermaid. Do each of these collections speak to different audiences?

A: I believe fragrance is so powerful - one scent is never the same on two wearers, and it's never exactly the same scent day-to-day. Fragrance is alive and evolves with our body chemistry and our mood - it's the most intimate "accessory" we can select.
While the collections within TokyoMilk, such as Dark & Light, each tell different stories, they are not meant for one specific audience. The wearer chooses their own path moment-to-moment. Perhaps a woman wears TokyoMilk Light in the morning, Neptune & The Mermaid perfume for lunch with friends, and TokyoMilk Dark for a date night - she decides what her story will be.

Q: Neptune & The Mermaid is full of bright punked-up classic patterns paired with surreal scenes of mermaids, octopods, and guardian goldfish. Is there a story you're telling through this collection?
There's always something curious and unexpected to TokyoMilk - and that's represented in this fabric line. I had such a great time dreaming up the patterns for Neptune & The Mermaid fabric, where you have to look twice to see all that there is to see.

A: Similar to creating a fragrance story with top, middle, and bottom notes, the fabric line is a visual narrative told in dreamlike ephemeral collages. By mixing & matching patterns, it becomes a choose your own adventure, inspiring creations that are as pretty as you please, or as unexpected as you dare. I want the person shopping at their local fabric store to feel like they can create their own story. My patterns are just the beginning of the tale.
Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kaffe Fassett's Sew Artisan! eBook


© Tony Bartholomew/Turnstone Media

Kaffe Fassett, the master of color whose career has influenced the worlds of fashion, needlecrafts and quilting, along with FreeSpirit Fabrics are pleased to introduce Kaffe Fassett Sew Artisan!  This first-ever EBook for Kaffe, is filled with simple, yet bold, patchwork quilts, clean-line fashions and easy-to-make accessories, showing quilters and sewists how to mix and match his newest fabric range, Artisan.

Within the 72 pages of this EBook, Kaffe effortlessly weaves his 100% cotton two-color print, hand-dyed batik, yarn-dyed woven and Ikat Artisan fabrics into everything from simple patchy quilts and cushions to casual table fashions and even a child’s tent.

“My Artisan fabrics were something I had dreamt of creating, inspired by my travels to ethnic markets where I witnessed how people used the fibers and textiles of their regions to create beautifully hand-crafted works.” said Kaffe. “In Sew Artisan! I bring together these different types of ‘ethnic’ fabrics, and show you how they can be sewn together to make quilts, garments, and accessories.”

This EBook offers 14 projects featured in four-color photography with step-by-step instructions plus tips and techniques which encourage the quilter and sewist to appreciate and embrace the different characteristics of combining these stunning fabric from the Artisan range designed by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit.  For instance the “kantha” stitched whole cloth quilt is backed by a silky, smooth blush Ikat, allowing the heavier-weight quilting threads to easily pull through all layers while adding a luxurious feel and drape to the quilt. 

“The idea of combining together different fabrics is hardly new: ‘make-do’ and ‘waste not’ are patchwork ideals. In Sew Artisan! you will see that these fabrics offer an opportunity that is well worth exploring,” said Kaffe. 

The Sew Artisan! EBook is downloadable for $14.99 (US) by visiting http://www.freespiritfabrics.com/sew-artisan  A print on demand version is also available for $19.99 (US) plus shipping and handling.

To learn more about Artisan by Kaffe Fassett for FreeSpirit, visit www.freespiritfabrics.com.

About FreeSpirit
FreeSpirit is a brand under Westminster Fibers, Inc., a division of Coats plc, and is one of the leading brands offering high quality fabrics and well-known for its creative, unique fabric designs and talented, trend-setting artists. FreeSpirit offers some of the finest fabrics in the market to inspire sewing creativity and speaks to a new generation of sewing enthusiasts.

About Kaffe Fassett
Kaffe Fassett is a world-renowned artist, textile designer, and author, and his use of color is widely regarded as visionary. His work has been exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is a fabric designer for FreeSpirit and the author of more than 30 books. He lives in London. For more information, see his biography, Kaffe Fassett: Dreaming in Color, or visit kaffefassett.com.

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Friday, April 07, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn presents Love & Friendship by Verna Mosquera

20 years ago I began two romances. One was my love with my husband, Miguel and the other my love of quilting. They both started at the same time. I took my first quilting class the month I got married back in 1996. It seemed only fitting that in 2016, which marked the 20 year anniversary of both I’d commemorate my journey through a fabric collection. These romances both inspired LOVE & FRIENDSHIP.

I truly believe that one thing cannot exist with out the other. You find a certain friendship in those you love and often a love for those you are friends with. Miguel and quilting were no exception. With both, it started as an interest, then soon became a friendship and not long after a love to last the ages.

I met Miguel walking down the street in a beautiful place called Punta Del Este, Uruguay. We became fast friends sharing stories of our childhoods, the places we had visited and those we longed to discover. For years we corresponded through letters until I returned to Uruguay in the early nineties and lived there for over a year. Our friendship consisted of walks on the beach, dinners at outdoor cafes on hot summer nights and winter afternoons watching foreign films. He was very well read, so articulate, quite brilliant, extremely witty and pretty darn handsome too! It was not a wonder after a year our friendship turned to love, one that has endured. I was so lucky to marry my best friend.

My romance with Miguel brought tremendous travel. The places we longed to discover became reality as we began to travel the world together. We visited so many cities in Europe, Canada, South America and eventually the United States. With each trip our love and friendship grew and I gathered artistic inspirations in color and design.

Just a few of my favorite moments:
Indulging in flan on a rainy afternoon on the beaches of Punta Del Diablo, Uruguay
Renting and riding bikes through the trails in Whistler, Canada
Sight seeing and enjoying tea in the Cotswalds, England
Summer evenings eating gelato as we crossed the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy
Enjoying tapas and taking pictures in beautiful San Sebastian, Spain

Not long after we returned to the US, I took a quilting class as a New Years resolution to learn something new in my artistic life. What began as a curiosity, quickly turned to passion and the creative fire has never stopped. It led me to work in a quilting store, teach classes & eventually start my own pattern company, The Vintage Spool. When I attended my first quilt market I met Donna Wilder, founder of FreeSpirit and have been designing fabric for FreeSpirit Fabrics ever since.

With Miguel by my side I have had the opportunity to work as an artist while we raise our two boys Milo, 15 & Nico, 12. Starting my own business with Miguel as my partner has allowed me to be with my children every step of their young lives. Days can often get crazy as I wear many hats but my friendship with Miguel has endured and without him it could have never happened. He’s always been supportive in any way I needed. Doing everything from the books for The Vintage Spool, to loading vans for trade shows, to being Mr. Mom while I have traveled to teach.

While our recent journeys are closer to home we still often enjoy a day out antiquing together. He gets a kick out of old tools and I go crazy over vintage quilts, French ribbon and unique glass buttons. Our home is an eclectic mix of treasures usually up-cycled that we have found and spruced into something fresh and new. We never tire of being together. He is usually sitting alongside me on the couch as I stitch my newest designs in the evening. 

It’s amazing how far we have come in our romantic and creative journey. Miguel still makes me laugh, his shoulder is always there to lean on when times are tough and I haven’t gotten tired of looking at his handsome face. The love and friendship we have shared has been the most amazing gift in my life. It has been with his support that I have grown into the artist that I am today. Because of our love I am empowered to share my creativity with others through my Vintage Spool patterns and my collections for FreeSpirit.

LOVE & FRIENDSHIP is available from your favorite local quilt shop or online retailer in eight different prints and three color ways. I hope it will inspire the romantic in all of you.

View Love & Friendship HERE. Download our free Quilt Pattern HERE.
Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn presents Winter Walk by Denyse Schmidt

Winter Walk
Walks are essential to my creative process. In winter, I especially love walking in the woods, and fortunately a short distance from my shoreline Connecticut home I am transported to the hushed stillness of woodlands and fields blanketed by snow. Just as winter provides time for renewal of flora and fauna; the magic, restful beauty of the New England landscape in winter rejuvenates me. 

No matter how hectic my life may be or how distracted I may feel, a winter walk calms me, and grounds me to the steadiness of nature. Here you can surrender to the expanse of nature — snow-covered fields, deep stands of trees, miles of stone walls — with a muted palette of soft taupes and bark greys, earthy deep browns and winter wheat, punctuated by a range of evergreens; the visual quiet broken by bright red berries or the flash of a cardinal, and patches of bright, blue winter sky. The cold, quiet solitude provides a path to the fertile ground of new ideas. My Winter Walk fabric collection celebrates the beauty of nature in repose, silently preparing for the imminent splashy showiness of spring.

I have always loved being outdoors, whatever the season, and I think that comes from my parents. They spent their honeymoon camping and fishing in the woods of Maine, and encouraged us kids to find the joy in each season — skiing in the winter, planting in the spring, picnics and swimming in the summer, raking mountains of leaves in the Fall.  

As I think back now, I believe my parents were also inspired by nature to create.   My dad was an enthusiastic photographer; we have many wonderful photos of all the beauty that caught his eye.  (That is, in addition to my mother.) He was also an avid fixer-upper. I remember him always tinkering around the house, fixing and creating things. I love this lamp that he made from the bounty of the woods!

My mother was a creative powerhouse, teaching me to sew, and making all our clothes. She loved being outdoors and taking on new challenges. By example, she encouraged and inspired all of us kids to forge our own paths. I miss my parents (especially in these uncertain times) but it’s comforting to know they are here — in my memories and in my work, in my love of nature, and in my determination to enjoy all that life has to offer.

So how does all this translate into a fabric collection? In the case of Winter Walk, a painting by my sister of the woods in Princeton MA inspired, while leaves and other bits and pieces completed a representation of the palette.

I designed two patterns to feature Winter Walk. One is Big Tree on my site, shown below, which makes use of FreeSpirit Fabric Pre-cut Design Rolls. A Winter Walk Design Roll includes ten coordinating solids from my Modern Solids collection!* I used FreeSpirit Designer Solids in Mist for the background of this quilt. I love how bold the shape is, and the layering of texture and color are reminiscent of the rings of a tree. Here you can see the finished quilt, and my pattern development sketches:
I also designed In the Pines (below), named after an old Appalachian folk tune, which is available as a free pattern download here 

One of my favorite quilters, Blair Stocker, also made a quilt pattern using Winter Walk, called Stepping Stones on Etsy here I absolutely love how her Winter Walk pattern looks like a PLAID! Brilliant! One of the things I love most about Blair’s work is how she creates a storyboard of images around the quilt.

I wrote the foreword for her beautiful and inspiring new book, Wise Craft Quilts, which is out this month – be sure to look for it, and check out her website: www.wisecraft.com

Winter Walk is available from your favorite local quilt shop or online retailer, in ten mix-and-match designs with a range of scale and texture, and three classic colorways (Bark, Stream, Evergreen). Though inspired by a walk in the winter woods, this versatile collection enhances all seasons!

*Winter Walk coordinating solids are FreeSpirit Designer Essential Solids Shell, Sunset, Tweed, Evergreen, Solar, Sap, Licorice, Seaweed, Camel, and Reef.

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The Artist UnSEWn- FreeSpirit presents Celebrate by Kathy Doughty

Greetings!  I am Kathy Doughty, an American living in Australia and an obsessive quilter since my first stitch.   So great is my passion that in 2003 I opened Material Obsession, a patchwork shop that is a treasure trove of dynamic, colourful fabrics curated to create a new mix for all quilters.  My motivation is to stimulate the imagination of quilters with quilt designs and techniques that have a familiar idea with a point of difference.  Designing fabric for Free Spirit is a natural extension of this approach !

One afternoon I was sketching with a fabric range in mind.  Ideas come from everywhere but this day my mind was full of stash treasures that my customers were mixing with contemporary fabrics for applique and Broderie Perse in our classes.  In the pile were a variety of remnants that included home dec, upholstery and antique chintz fabrics.  I noted that the cherished fabrics my customers were carefully cutting up often had exotic animals like giraffes and camels…monkeys and elephants.  A bit of research revealed that when patchwork first started women would wait on the docks in England for the delivery of the extraordinary prints from India that often featured unimaginable colours and images.  I liked this nod to history and an idea was born….what if  these animals were party favours sitting in a jug instead of flowers????  Celebrate, my latest collection is all about that twist…and maybe a bit of shout!

It is so much fun to be able to celebrate the release of  Celebrate! with all of you now!

Party Favours is the feature print.  The decorative pots and characters can be cut from the borders and used in a feature block.   I like the structure of traditional quilts and am always looking for prints that can hold space with interest in a quilt.  It is also possible to isolate the characters for fussy cutting in pieced quilts or into large hexagons.  It’s a versatile print that can also be cut beautifully into dynamic directional sashing strips.  This particular print would also be darling for curtains in a child’s room!

Once I had my party favours the idea of a party celebration was on fire!

It started with the invited characters that make a gathering interesting.  But before the guests arrive we need to decorate so….

Setting the table with a colourful floral table cloth makes for a festive event. In Australia we often plan our parties outside in the garden so we always want good weather!  Weather Permitting is a vibrant floral print that hopes for good weather but if it rains, we’ll just put up a colourful umbrella!  This is a fun print for cutting large or small.  It has enough energy to be used as a palette starter, for alternate blocks or borders.

It is also perfect for a shirt…for that special guy Dave the DJ!
Party Land was a nod to a tropical theme.  Palm trees, pineapples (the flavour of the month!) and beach huts are images that bring good times to mind!  Again the print has features for random or fussy cutting.

For the last few years party banners have been popular so I thought they would make an interesting graphic print with a variety of lines and patterns.  These three prints are an interesting option for block spacers or even applique backgrounds.

To top off any party a bit of fizzy bubbly doesn’t go astray so Bubbles were added in three colours for backgrounds and light.  The happy colors and that intense acid yellow make this print right on trend.

When I design a fabric range and am deciding on the colors I am always thinking about my customers and quilting friends.  I tend to group them in three categories, which are:

Pretty – those that like comfortable, low contrast prints that are in a word, pretty.  Traditional – those that have a love of more reproduction style prints and colors.  Contemporary – those that like to combine the bright colors.

No matter what kind of color combinations you like to use the palette for Celebrate will work into the mix as a high or low light.  Use it together or mix it in with other collections you are using. 

Argyle Style – the collection works used all together or mixed with other designs

Although quilts are my main focus it was fun to make up these carry all bags using Celebrate!

Mixing textures as well as collections is a popular trend at MO.  Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits made this quilt called Pick of the Bunch using celebrate and our colourful wool felt collection.

Party, party, party….we can dream of a party land filled with colorful flowers and treats!  This collection considers not only where but how we decorate to celebrate any occasion.  Banners, good weather and a sense of irreverence dominate the scene but don’t forget the bubbles!!!  I hope you enjoy Celebrate and find your own ideas on how to use it.

If you want to see how we use it follow me:
instagram @matobsgirl, on my blog

Or join me in person as I travel and teach in the USA this July.  Check the website for tour date details and lets get together!!!

Best Blogger TipsShare/Bookmark