a day at Quilt Market, topped with a Sandy Surprise

I have to admit, it felt a bit strange visiting Quilt Market for the first time AFTER doodlespark’s first licensed fabric collection was created… I suppose it would have been helpful for me to view other collections in person, chat with designers and scope the scene before I tried my hand at turning our Cultivate drawing into a fabric suite … But alas, this was not to be and I entered the Houston Convention Hall quite wide-eyed. A barrage of color and pattern greeted me in way that was more overwhelming than my experience at any other trade show. When I launched Loop at the National Stationery Show in 2007, I felt grounded by my small, mostly back and white booth, anchored by the product line and curious to see the reaction. This time – without a booth of my own and in mostly uncharted, trend-specific waters – I felt a bit more at sea.
Out trip was to be a 2-day affair; I’d planned to walk the Show on Day One making notes along the way to direct me to specific collections and designers to return to. I’m not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination ( the sewing machine on the end of my desk veritably taunts me to master it! ), so being surrounded by crafty projects + masterful quilts made me feel out of my element. And all the color! My eyes had a hard time landing on anything specific, and I felt exhausted by the end of just a few hours. Unfortunately, Sandy had us rushing home the next morning via a 4:00am shuttle to the airport.


It was delightful seeing my contacts from Clothworks in person, and that was the real reason I wanted to attend. Their design team was so helpful via email throughout the course of this project and it was wonderful to talk in person about our work together and how our lives and our professional endeavors invariably intersect ( and often collide! ). Fat quarters of Cultivate ( above, left and my mom, above, right ) were shown on their order-writing tables and it was a true thrill to catch a glimpse of such a personal work of art in the midst of the color cloud that was the Show.
IMG_1322[ Summer Fusion c. 2009 by Patricia A. Montgomery ]
Paired with the industry-only trade show was a juried exhibit of art quilts. I’d seen many in magazine or books, but never had the chance to view these works of art in person. I simply don’t have words to describe the richness of texture, the nimble use of thread as line and shading, the creative arrangement of color and pattern, the masterful technique, all of which elevated the ensembles into a class of their own. Some resembled paintings or sculptures, built in layers to leap off the wall in a living way. I tried to take pictures, but it was hard to capture the depth of each piece.
IMG_1234[ detail of Papaver Somniferum by Grace Meijer ]
IMG_1316IMG_1317[ details of Serenity by Valerie White ]
IMG_1256IMG_1258IMG_1255[ details and overall of Lakeside Solace by Noriko Endo ]

Afternoon Social

I’ve just made myself a hot mug of Earl Grey ( with milk and honey ) while I put some finishing touches on three new ways to connect with doodlespark. So, it’s a bit like a virtual tea time here, dear friends, and I have a few things to show you.

I’m not sure why its taken me to so long to develop our social media; I think part of me feels funny about broadcasting too many personal details … I think the story of a company is a vital way to connect people with the product they invite into their lives, I’m just not sure I want to announce what I have for breakfast and how I’m feeling about work, weather, and other randomness throughout the day. So, I will try to edit these postings so that they are personal but relevant, reflecting my internal life in a way that informs my public life. Look out for Doodlespark inspiration, news, fabric finds + eco interests now on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


A very special parcel arrived at my doorstep the other day, and it’s a wonder I‘ve waited this long to share it with you. Samples of our Cultivate line with Clothworks veritably burst out of the box, brightening the room with color and making Philadelphia seem less in the grip of Autumn’s descent into winter and more in the throes of a burgeoning Spring. I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone, as I was readying to leave for Houston the next day to attend Quilt Market. ( more on that spectacular event later ). No time to iron or adjust the lighting, I just couldn’t help but share !




Cultivating ‘Cultivate’ with Clothworks

I have some incredibly exciting news to share with you. Clothworks has licensed me to create a line of fabric based on a Doodlespark drawing!  I don't know where to begin telling of the story of how this came to be ...  Suffice it to say that I have been working with the lovely ladies at Clothworks for many years to come up with the right collection at the right time. With production in process, I can finally say that this journey has come to fruition. Pop a bottle of champagne! Dance around the room with me! Hooray for ....

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Of the many drawings my mother and I have created over the years, Cultivate has been close to my heart. As with all our drawings, we made notes on the back each time we exchanged. I wrote in August, “ … thinking of my beautiful mom just before her birthday, imagining her across the table from me; at home together as if neighbors, easily, with laughter and tea.” My mother noted in December that the drawing felt like “ ... pieces of a puzzle coming together. pieces of now becoming pieces of something later : the unknown, trusting it more as time goes by.”.

While one of the most popular of our designs, it is also one of the most complicated. My mother and I drew this completely unaware that we'd be sharing it publicly, nevertheless having to extract motifs and create color ways from the tangle of sketchy lines and overlapping tones. My Photoshop skills were tapped, drained, and re-tapped in preparing just the main pattern for reproduction. Every single instance of a given color had to be isolated and assigned a layer. It felt like a million hours passed as I teased out tones and defined edges, mapping over 2 dozen colors and then simplifying them into a refined palette, all while preserving the hand-drawn quality of the collaborative work. What a challenge you are, Lady Color! I am still getting know your shifty personality and fickle disposition.

When Clothworks asked me to transform this drawing into a fabric suite, I knew it would be a challenge, but it was an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up. I can’t thank the team at Clothworks enough for their invaluable pointers along the way.  I generated so many variations on a theme for each pattern and every time I submitted a version, the constructive criticism I received was prompt and nurturing. I grew so much as a designer during this process. I admit, I was not used to working in color, not used to designing for committee approval ( here at loop, it's Me, Myself, and I and it's not a good day when we don't all agree ... ), and not used to designing for the quilting / home dec market. Clothworks' patience with and commitment to this collection helped me bring out the best the drawing had to offer and made me rise to the occasion as a professional.

So now, all of the patterns are off to the sales reps for pre-orders. Clothworks will be presenting Cultivate strike-offs at Quilt Market in Houston in the Fall, and the collection – 5 patterns in 3 colorways - will ship before the end of the year! The fabric will the available through local retailers, a list of which will be posted on the Clothworks site.

Is this really happening?! What do you think?! I simply cannot wait to get my hands on samples - and to get some sewing skills to match my imagination. I'll keep you posted!!

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Being Mom(me)



Hellloooo !

I send my little voice into the white space of this page, listening to it barrel down the wires into the World Wide Web. How have you been, everyone?! What’s new?!

As many of you know, I became a mom not so long ago. I knew becoming a parent would change my life, but I have to admit I didn’t expect quite this transformation.  My day-to-day life is completely turned upside down and the shape of my space and time as an artist / business owner is completely re-made.

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A new being has entered the world and I have the lucky job of accompanying him on this early part of his journey into selfhood. From a darting-eyed baby, a little boy has emerged, curious and cacophonous about everything he encounters. At just 2 years old, he is full of laughter and lilting language, hurtling his body through space to learn its edges and peaks, testing and trying out all that nature has to offer. I am along for his ride, holding his hand when he crosses the street, helping him learn to be gentle with himself and others, showing him how to look and breathe deeply and be raucous, variously. In a way, I am living vicariously through him, rediscovering my senses, capturing slivers of the sensation that everything is new and amazing and worth noticing. In other ways, I am entirely overwhelmed by the responsibility I bear as his Guardian; I can no longer let my mind wander or be silent for long periods of time; someone else needs me to explain everything and make sure environs are safe and engaging. My free time isn’t fully my own anymore; shouldn’t I be reading about toddler development or researching schools?!

In the middle of this shift and shuffle, I have found time to work and I have some exciting new plans and developments to share with you; stay tuned for news about Loop’s partnership with a delicious business in Brooklyn, Doodlespark’s new fabric collection for Clothworks and more!

Thank you all for bearing with me as things have been a bit quiet here on the blog. I promise to find my way here more regularly.
( You can follow my pins on Pinterest, too. )