We had a fun class on Saturday at the shop with Jennifer Heynen (http://jenniferjangles.blogspot.com) and Genevieve Swinford (http://genevievegail.blogspot.com). Both of these girls are very talented artists who made their way into fabric design over the past couple of years.
It was interesting to get two different perspectives on the design process and the business relationships they each have with the companies that produce their fabric.
Jennifer has a fine arts degree in ceramics so most of her designs for fabric start as a ceramic concept. She is also a button and bead maker so all of her fabric lines have coordinating buttons. Her first collection, Happy, is in its second printing. Her second collection, Polka Dot Garden, will be released to stores in March, and her third collection is in the design process. Jennifer had a table set up with her products and a great Powerpoint presentation.
Genevieve has a fine arts degree in graphic design. Her career path taught her a lot about product design, development, and licensing. She has released two fabric collections, Flower Bucket and Gypsy Garden. She also has her designs coming out on reusable tote bags this year. Her third collection is in the design process. Genevieve had an awesome presentation board as well as specially made candy for each participant.
The one thing I took away from their presentation is to not be afraid to try. Jennifer told us that she is constantly working on new designs and ideas and that for every twenty she tries, maybe there will be one that she's happy with. They both told us that they sketch constantly and take ideas from everyday life.
They shared with us a cool website (www.spoonflower.com) where you can upload your own original design and have it printed on fabric in small quantities.
One of the participants asked if it was possible to earn a living as a fabric designer. Both answered yes, but that your efforts had to go beyond the fabric. Buttons, patterns, and other licensed products based on the fabric add to the initial fabric release.
Thanks to both Genevieve and Jennifer for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge and experience as fabric designers. I'm looking forward to watching the future unfold for both of these talented ladies.
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