Today, I wanted to share my process of creating a fabric collection with amazing fabric manufacturer Dear Stella! I’ve been working with them for a couple years now, and the medium of fabric design never fails to excite me!
Every collection I create begins of course, with gathering inspiration. Since many of the work I do is based in nature, I gather many photos of flowers, plants and animals as my main source of inspiration. Discovering new (to me!) species of plants and animals and trying to capture their essence is a driving force for me.
Color palettes naturally come out of this research. I’ll start with Pantones right away, and pull the main colors I choose to use in the collection.
The next step is planning the prints I’d like to create. I usually make a list for myself to use during the sketching process. Sketching is always the most intense portion of the process for me. This is where the look of the collection is first proposed. I’ll often use sales information from past collections to help with my decision making in layout and subject matter.
Creating the actual artwork is my favorite portion of the process. Here, I apply color to the sketches and bring the collection to life! Sometimes I will do actual paintings, and sometimes create the art digitally on my Wacon Cintiq. It mostly depends on how complex the repeats are and the look I’m going for. I feel most comfortable painting florals in actual gouache, so most groups heavily based in florals will be hand painted.
Cleaning the art and indexing the files into screen separations is the most technical part of the process. Making sure the integrity of the print is intact, while still limiting the number of screens is essential!
Creating colorways is a very fun step, because you can start imagining what the quilts can look like, and how the final impression of the collection will read. It also excites me to think about what my quilts will be made into and how they can inspire those around me.
Finally, I’ll add Pantone colorchips to the repeats and send the files over to be printed in strike-off form. Then, a little while later, the strike-offs are sent to me! This by far is the most exciting part. Seeing the art directly on the fabric is very rewarding! The Dear Stella team and I will work on choosing the final prints and colorways to run in the group, and from there a fabric collection is born!
Enjoy! Rae Ritchie