Sadly, the repairs, unpacking, and setting up again of my basement studio has yet to be finished, which has really been cramping my creative style…
However, Spoonflower is having a fantastic half price sale on fat quarters (all fat quarters – not just mine!) now through midnight on Nov. 8, 2018 – which also reminded me that this might be a good time to reflect on how I got started working with Spoonflower.
Some background information…
Way back when my books with Martingale & Co. started coming out (early 2000s), I was approached at the International Quilt Market (the big industry-wide trade show in Houston, TX, immediately preceding the International Quilt Festival) by a couple of different fabric companies about having my own line(s) of fabric. Initially, I was thrilled! But when I did some checking around and talked to other authors about their experiences working with these or similar companies, my balloon deflated in a hurry. The companies who had contacted me seemed to fall into one of two camps: (1) they wanted to use a “celebrity” name to sell the fabric, but the “celebrity designer” had very little actual input on the designs, if at all; or (2) the “celebrity” was allowed more input, but the form that took most often was receiving a packet of samples in the mail and having very tight windows (sometimes as little as 24 hours) to make any decisions/comments/suggestions and mail the packet back again.
Please note – this was at least 15 years ago, and most likely did not represent the fabric industry as a whole, just those particular companies. I have no idea what the process is like now for current authors/designers. 🙂
Neither of those options appealed to me at all. But the seed of interest had been planted.
A number of years later, a friend asked me if I was familiar with a new company called Spoonflower. I did some investigating, and was delighted to find a fantastic site for independent designers to create, showcase, and sell their work.
After a near-catastrophic neurological event in 2009 and series of surgical interventions in 2010 created radical new physical limitations and challenges, I had to expand my ideas about what living a creative life meant to me and devise new ways of expressing myself. (Creativity has always been the best emotional therapy for me, too!)
I first set up my online Spoonflower studio in 2011. I found the entire process absorbing, rewarding, and sometimes frustrating, too. At that time, I wasn’t completely happy with how washed out or muddy many of my designs looked when digitally printed on the basic cotton.
Over the next few years, two things happened: (1) I learned how to adjust my digital files in order to improve my results and (2) Spoonflower seemed to continually improve their digital printing technology – offering better inks, clearer images, higher quality textiles and a much wider range of base fabrics.
I most often buy the Kona Cotton Ultra for quilting, bags & totes, although the Organic Cotton Sateen has a beautiful sheen and smooth hand I really enjoy. The Poly Crepe de Chine makes BEAUTIFUL scarves. I have been super happy with the Silky Faille and Perfomance Pique, too.
Progress! The fabric on the left was printed in 2012 and the fabric on the right in 2018 – significantly clearer and brighter.
I decided earlier this year that one of my goals for 2018 was to work diligently on developing distinct fabric collections. I also determined to spend more time thinking about/showing how these distinctive textiles might be used.
Sample bags made from fabrics from my Around the World and Back Again collection – these are slightly older versions of my designs (fabrics printed 2012-2014), but I think they’re still fun.
You can read more about Spoonflower’s eco-friendly production system here.
Here’s how the process works on my end: Continue Reading…