Showing posts with label textile design. Show all posts
Showing posts with label textile design. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hey, Y'all!

The above is the proper greeting from someone who has been in Texas! Yup, that's right... Hubby and I high-tailed it down to Houston to the International Quilt Festival. For those of you who are in the know, yes, Festival... not Market. Market is the trade show I went to last year and met just about all of my textile design idols. Festival is for the general public and usually all the design houses have packed up and gone home to let the retailers in.

The retailers are quilt shops from all over the country and from other parts of the world. The venue (George R Brown Convention Center) is so huge that there is no way to see everything. I did get a program and mark off the things I wanted to see. I couldn't spend all my time there since I did want to explore H-town with Hubby. We both went to Preview Night, when show opens from 7-10 the night before the official opening. It was pretty crazy. I wanted Hubby to see what I had raved about so much last year. Preview Night was enough for him. I had to go it alone the other two days I was there :)

So, back to the retailers.... There are lots of small shops with their own patterns, vintage fabric vendors, yarn vendors, vintage and contemporary quilt vendors. I was amazed by the number of jewel vendors. If you like putting jewels or any kind of embellishment on your quilts, you could find it all there. Not only that, there was jewelry you could wear and items to make your own jewelry. Amazing! I was pretty good -- Everything I bought fit in a single bag -- and it's not a large bag, either!

-- Quilt-a-Card Kits from They had a "make and take". I started a card, but I didn't complete it because Hubby was waiting for me.

-- A Few Pointers Quilt from Crooked Nickel Quilt Designs( They demonstrated a neat way to make quilts with sashing using a gridded fabric.

-- Notecards (from Home a la Mode -- were super-cute -- I couldn't resist.

-- Purse Kit from Ellen Medlock ( You buy the handle and make the fabric portion of the purse, which easily slips on and off. You can make several different bags and just reuse the handle.

-- Amy Butler's Softwares. I've been wanting this software, so when I saw it at the Electric Quilt booth, I couldn't resist.

-- Pashmina: There were lots of different vendors. These vendors claimed they were selling "real" pashminas from some remote place in Asia. I don't remember exactly where.

Vendors I didn't buy from but I liked...

-- Babylock Sashiko Sewing machine ( I loved that, but for $1999, I had to let it go.

-- The Doll Loft ( These are cute doll kits and clothing. I'm not into making dolls, but if I were, I would make these!

-- Felt Balls from ( This was such a fun booth. I just bought some felt balls, so I didn't get any, but the next time I need some, I'll order from them.

I have been designing some textiles. I did have some samples I sewed up in the event there would be some creative director types milling around Festival. I did meet Karen Smisek of Home a la Mode who promised to put me in touch with her Moda contact. Home a la Mode (mentioned above) does all things Moda for the home... hence the name. I am working here and there on more designs and samples. They are super cute and will make their BostonSewer debut soon!

I got to see my (former) bosses, Terri and Carol. It was like old times, only I wasn't working :) My roomie from last year, Deborah, invited us to stay with them. We spent our last night in Houston with Deborah and her husband, Geoff. I went to the big Moda party last year, with Deborah and her friend, Connie. Last year, Connie was at market, purchasing items for her new quilt shop. Well, her shop, , is up and running! Of course, I had to buy something. I ended up getting some fabric for Christmas stockings. I need very small projects, since I have a lot to do these days!

Debbie and Geoff were such great hosts. I told Deborah of my "veganism" before we got there. Little did I know she would go to such trouble. She made shish kabobs. Mine had veggies, of course. She also made corn on the cob, baked potatoes, vegan rolls and a vegan berry pie. I even has soy ice cream. OMG YUM YUM! I have never been so spoiled. They have a sprawling home on an acre of land north of Houston. Debbie has rooms for all her grown children, and they are decorated with all of her handiwork, as is the rest of her warm and inviting home. Deborah is a prolific quilter. She even made a darling wall quilt with the sashiko kit I gave her last year.

It was in the 70s and 80s there -- in October. We whiled the afternoon away sitting on the back porch with a view of a man made lake. It was absolutely gorgeous. What are we doing in Boston, again?

Last but not least, we stayed at the Four Seasons. I had a manicure there. If you go to Houston, please go see Carmen. She just set up the spa this summer. She does not mess around. My feet felt like a baby's bottom! She uses vegan products from SpaRitual (

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Direction - The International Textile Design Show

In a previous post, I mentioned that I am starting my textile design business. I met the artist and clothing designer, Sigrid Olsen, at a talk she gave at the Peabody Essex Museum awhile back. I told her about my plans, and she suggested I attend Direction, which is exactly what I did this week. Hubby and I got up super early so I could catch the 6:20 am (!!) Acela out of Back Bay Station. I arrived at Penn Station at around 9:45 or so.

The show was held at the Penn Plaza Pavilion, which is just across 7th Avenue from Madison Square Garden and Penn Station. Upon first glance, the show was smaller than I'd expected. But, I wasn't disappointed. I got my badge and went upstairs to the booths. Each booth housed a design shop that presented its wares to buyers. Basically, the buyers walk around, choose a booth, introduce themselves and have a seat. Design shop reps show them their fabric designs one-by-one. The buyers choose the ones they like and the reps set them aside. I saw some people taking orders, which is the ultimate goal, of course. I do hear that the textile design business is a tough one, but just about everyone was really nice.

I talked with a few people and showed them my portfolio from my U4ia class at MassArt (Massachusetts Collge of Art and Design). I got kudos from everyone on the presentation :) and I got some good critique on my work as well. Of course, they were not there to help me get started, they were there to do busines for themselves, so I do appreciate those who took the time to talk with me.

There were so many beautiful designs. There are truly talented artists out there who are doing this work. I am not an artist, per se, but I do have an eye for design, and I think I can do well. I talked with a few students from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC. They were part of the "Forward Leap" section of the show, in which students from several schools displayed their work. The FIT students were all in a one-year textile design program. I'd already read about that program and have been wanting to do it since I found out about it! It was interesting to see their work. There are so many people who want to do this work, I've discovered. Still, I'm not deterred just yet.

There were forecasters as well. Forecasters do a lot of research to determine what the "in" thing will be the next season. They forecast style, motifs, themes, and colors, among other things. This must be a big business, because although they were out-numbered by the design houses, they were well represented. There was also a booth on fashion inspiration, Studio C Vintage. Reps from such companies travel the world to gather vintage clothing and fabric and sell them to fashion and design houses. They do insure that their items are in the public domain, so if you do base something on an item, you are safe legally. The idea is to use these pieces as inspiration, not to directly copy them. The rep there was so nice and helpful. She looked at my book, carefully, and really gave me some good points. She is a Cali girl, like myself. We have to stick together! Should I need some vintage inspiration, I will definitely use their service.

I attended a seminar given by Steve Greenberg of Pointcarre. Pointcarre is a textile design software package. He demonstrated what to do with a print once you've purchased it. If you own a print, you can manipulate it in anyway you wish, by removing or adding motifs or changing colors, for example. I used U4ia, as I mentioned, which took some getting used to (and that's putting it mildly). Pointcarre is much more intuitive.

I spoke with Steve after his talk. He told me that U4ia is no longer being distributed. (It looks like Lectra, the U4ia vendor, now markets a product called Kaledo.) Well! I was told a U4ia license costs thousands of dollars, so that doesn't surprise me. The FIT students all used Adobe Illustrator for their work, which is much less expensive, comparatively speaking. Of course, Illustrator can be used for all types of design, so there are limitations when using it for textile design. Pointcarre is specifically for textile design. I got the impression that it is quite expensive as well. Being a programmer myself, I have an idea of what goes into writing such a package, and I can't say I blame them at all.

What is a visit to NYC without a visit to Mood? More on that in the next post!


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