I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to present to you my next guest designer here on Fat Quarter Shop Fridays, Tula Pink! I sent Ms. Pink an email a few weeks ago and invited her to answer a few questions about her upcoming line Parisville. Shipping on or around December 2010 from Westminster Fibers/Free Spirit, Parisville will be unveiled for all to see at Fall Quilt Market 2010 in Houston.
I’m very excited to meet Tula in person and let her know she’s responsible for creating some of my very favorite fabrics. I’ll probably geek out completely, but Tula Pink is one of my quilting idols.
RWQ: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been designing fabric? What is your design background?
I have been designing fabric for about 4 years. My background is in Graphic Design and Commercial Illustration. I was the Art Director for a major record label for several years and the Head Exhibit Designer for a large museum in Los Angeles for a few years before that. Designing fabric started out as a hobby to relieve stress from my day job. I never intended to make a career out of it but it’s nice to work in my pajamas instead of high heels.
RWQ: Parisville is your first collection for Free Spirit, right? Have you designed fabric for other companies?
Parisville is indeed my first collection for Free Spirit. Until now I my designs have been manufactured by Moda Fabrics. I have designed six collections for Moda over the last three years (Full Moon Forest, Flutterby, Nest, Neptune, Hushabye and Plume). Parisville is by far my finest work but of course, I feel that way about what ever is the “newest”.
RWQ: How long does it take for an idea you have to be translated into fabric? Can you tell us a little about the process?
From the time I begin drawing to the collection arriving in stores is about a year. At any given moment I am working on three collections. I have one on the drawing board, a second collection in production and I am marketing a third that is just shipping to retail stores.
I keep extremely detailed lists of collections I want to execute someday. I average about two to three collections a year, I have enough lists to work for 16 years before I have to start coming up with new ideas. My lists usually consist of 10 to 15 small sketches of different general ideas and next to each is a list of animals or images that can be hidden in them. For instance I might write paisley- owl and then do a little mock up sketch of an owl that is made from paislies. Often there are several little sketches as I work out the foundation of what the print can become. It’s all very rough. The real sketch will be done later. I will labor over the final sketch for days, sometimes weeks getting it right. I figure out the repeat and scale all on the sketch.
RWQ: Where do you draw your inspiration from when designing in general?
I get asked the inspiration question a lot. I’m not really sure how to answer. I have been thinking creatively, both professionally and in general for so long that I am not really sure how it works anymore. It just comes almost against my will. I will usually get an idea that will nag at me incessantly. The only way to shut it up is to draw it out, literally, with a pencil. People who know me well know to just ignore me if I start drawing in the middle of a conversation or a movie or once, even a wedding (that one didn’t go over too well).
RWQ: Is there anything you want to tell the readers about your inspiration for Parisville?
Parisville is a collection that I have wanted to do for a long time. I had sketched it a few times before but never felt it was exactly right. It took me a couple of years to get it to the point where I thought it was ready. The inspiration came from an article in Vogue magazine about the movie Marie Antoinette. In Sofia Coppola’s version there is a scene where she pans around the room showing all of the fancy shoes in MA’s closet, there is a split second where you see a pair of modern day pink converse high tops amongst all of the vintage finery. It made so much sense to me and just tickled me to death. I began with that concept and let it evolve until it became my own story.
RWQ: How did you come up with the colorway names for Parisville?
When I am pulling colors for the different color ways I am always thinking about morning, day and evening. The three values of a day and how that effects the light. “Sprout” is my morning palette, a sprout being the first sign of a plant representing the first part of the day. The colors are lighter and fresh. “Pomegranate” is more about the middle of the day, the colors get a bit richer, deeper and a little more saturated. “Mist” is like early evening, dusk. The sky takes on that deeper shade of blue as the purples start to seep in. This is usually my favorite time of day before it’s actually dark but you can feel it coming on.
RWQ: Are there any other mediums you are interested in designing on besides fabric? I see you have a line of custom shoes at Zazzle.com.
Of course I think my designs should be on everything! There are a few things in the works, shhhh, this stuff takes a long time to get into the market place. The shoes were sort of an accident. I had a pair made for my mom for mother’s day just for fun. They ended up causing such a riot at the last Quilt Market that I got my mom’s permission to let other people buy them. It turned out to be an extremely good idea.
Parisville will be released in 100% cotton and laminates!
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