Happy New Year!
We, at Windham Fabrics hope you have a lovely 2016! To kick off the first post of the year, we have an interview with Windham Designer, Alyson Beaton where she discusses her new collection “Neighborhood” and explains a little more about her design process.
Q: What’s the story and inspiration behind your collection?
My collection was born out of my lille huset dollhouses that I created a few years back. The whole concept behind my work ties back to my love of home and neighborhood. Each of the houses in the prints represent different houses that I have come to observe all over the world. I also wanted to incorporate friends, pets, and bits of the garden, as these are important characters in the neighborhood. I am inspired by simple mid century design mixed with classic colors. I was hoping the collection would feel modern but classic at the same time.
Q: How did your collaboration with Windham Fabrics come about?
I had just spent about 2 months creating designs for fabrics and ordering them on spoon flower based on my lille huset dollhouses. From there I started making things with them and posting them on my web site. I put the fabric together into collections and emailed over a sort of “presentation” to the Windham team. I was hoping something might happen but not really expecting a response but the next day Mickey called me and said he loved it and wanted to work together.
Q: How has your experience been working alongside Windham Fabrics on this collection?
I have loved every stage of this project. I have been amazed at the openness to creativity the team has. When I see your group at the shows you are all so fun to be around!
Q: How is it different designing for fabric vs. designing for another medium such as greeting cards, dish ware etc. ?
It is really hard! I didn’t really know anything about designing fabric when I started, but I have learned a lot along the way. There are so many things to take into account, like size, scale, direction, color and color ways. There is a lot to consider. I had to keep designing and then putting it all away for the day and then would go back the next day and tweak things. I think I tweaked things what felt like a million times.
Q: Describe your creative process when designing fabric.
I started with my illustrations of my houses and other illustrations I had created. Once I had those I created a bunch of art boards in illustrator. I love creating patterns, since I do this for my dollhouses too, so I created the patterns and then go to the next board, coordinating them along the way. After I finish, I zoom out and look at them and then start editing. It is a tedious process.
Q: Can you choose your favorite print from the collection and tell us why it’s your favorite?
Well, I have to say, our little house pillow! It was so funny carrying it around all over the place and taking pictures of it. It would crack me up every time, just imagining what people must have been thinking of me while I put it places and took photos. I would laugh so much after doing it.
I do have to say that I am so over the moon excited about the entire line that I can hardly wait!!!
Q: What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
My kids and husband… I think that is why I love “home” so much. It is a place that we create with our families.
Q: What other designers, makers or artists inspire your work?
I love a lot of women who have really led the pack like: Orla Kiely, Donna Wilson, Lotta Jansdotter, Sara Fanelli, Anna Bond, and I have always been inspired by Charles and Ray Eames, Charley Harper, and Le Corbusier.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy you live by?
Plant a garden and watch it grow.
Q: What are you up to when you’re not designing?
I am always designing something ;), but if I’m not, I’m at my kids events rooting them on, shopping with my sister, hanging with my hubby or digging in the garden.
Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects lined up for 2016?
I do! I feel like I am having a creative explosion. I had been working so hard for the past 10 years, juggling my kids, when they were small, working full time as a professor and also doing my own design work, that I had little time to really think things through with my design life. Me and my family moved back to Austin, Texas this past summer, and since then I have quit my day job and am in my creative zone all the time. I am so excited about having the time to make that I am having trouble not making too many things at once. So to name a few: I am launching a line of “baby huset” an all wood line of dollhouses, and also working on launching a dollhouse for grown ups, called “Lille Huset Rooms.” Lille Huset Rooms will have little danish modern furniture and lots of things for all of us makers out there to get creative with. I also just finished a line of custom rooms for Nickelodeon, which was also a super fun project.
Thanks so much Alyson!
We can’t wait to see this collections in stores this month!
Since it is Fabric Friday, today is your lucky day! We have a giveaway of a Fat Quarter Bundle of this beautiful collection. Comment on this post by telling us what your sewing goals are this year and on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 we’ll pick a winner.