My weekend with Heather Ross, textile design, & Portland

My strawberries & tomatoes pattern from Heather Ross Workshop
My pattern, "Strawberry & Tomato Patch" from the Heather Ross textile design workshop

I can't believe it's Thursday already...this time last week I was packing my suitcase for Portland and absolutely giddy about what could be ahead. Today I'm desperately trying to get this written while packing for another trip - this time to see J's family in Texas, aka the Mohave.

Long story was a really special and amazing time!! Meeting Heather Ross (well, I actually met her last year at Hart's in Santa Cruz and chatted with her twin sister for awhile - not knowing till this trip that it was actually her twin, haha) was so FUN and she really is so great. For me, getting into this class was a dream come true and I didn't take it for granted - believe me that my rear end still hurts from those computer chairs ;)

Day 1 Heather started us out with introductions and then we jumped right into drawing, all squeezed around two ikea tables pushed together, elbow to elbow. It was challenging for some...I admit I love any reason to draw & didn't mind the exercise. I drew little houses, a sea turtle (ripple on the brain), a girl in the rain, a whistle (you can see I really embrace randomness), and then ended up spending a bulk of time (20min) on tiny tomatoes & strawberries.

We picked our favorite sketch then proceeded to make copies of it and move around the pieces, composing patterns. At this point several of us were a little hesitant to commit to using our half thought out morning scribbles for our workshop's feature pattern. But I went with it, adding a little sketched out Bird to the mix - you know, the ultimate strawberry & tomato eater - of course! ("shawbees and matos" as she would say).

By the end of the day we had our sketches scanned and some of us were already up and running on the computer, coloring away in Photoshop. I was looking over my pile of copies thinking of what in the world I was going to do with the mess. But oh! it was 4pm and time to head out for eats. Portland doesn't disappoint. We all thought it was cheap to eat there. And that there is no shortage of mac & cheese.

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
That evening was also Heather's public talk at was really enjoyable, & funny, & very candid :o) She is working on several new & exciting things - wallpaper, children's books, her own book with printable designs! Such an inspiration.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I have to say that Portland is a ridiculously walkable city. And clean too - noticed that right away. All those responsible Portlanders putting their recyclables in the readily available dispensers all over the place. And the bikes! It's truly a cyclist's meca.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I got coffee from many (many, many) different places but my favorite cup - a latte - came from
Stumptown which was connected to the Ace Hotel where I stayed. The bathrobes they provided were really cute & comfy - so much so apparently Heather bought one to take home :o) Great souvenir! (click on the Heather link above to see her post on the weekend)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
This was the cave, I mean classroom, at
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) that we did all of our work in. Heather went over her basic set up for working on fabric & it included: iMac, wacom tablet with stylus, color wheel, sketchpad, coffee, and a posable model for when drawing people. I think there were a few other things - oh yes, a scanner for sure. And probably a printer (we got to use the incredibly nice, large format printers - gorgeous!).

Day 2 we got to work with our computers & tablets! Heather went over how to use the stylus (and emphasized ergonomics which I really appreciated) and started us off in Photoshop using channels to lay out our patterns (instead of using layers). It was so liberating to break free from layers!! I have been trying to figure it out for a while (longer than I'd like to admit) and just couldn't get myself past a point of frustration or a long enough naptime (from Bird) to do it. It really isn't so difficult but it is a different way of looking at things - and it makes a lot of sense once you get started. I probably cut my drawing/coloring time in half using channels instead of layers. That's remarkable.

The day was an absolute blur...just being pasted to my chair and drawing in Photoshop...tomatoes & strawberries, tomatoes & strawberries. The best part of the day was figuring out how to get out of the city and go swimming (picture below). Sometimes there are just things that round out your time in a place perfectly & that's what our evening outing to Sauvie Island did (& only 20 min away!). I came back with just one mosquito could have been lots worse. The water was so refreshing and you know, it sure beat staring at a computer screen. Later on we went to a cute restaurant, Ping, and had chinese food (with a thai twist).

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Heather (these shots are taken using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone)

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Adorable new friends, Jamie & Vera (Eliza not pictured but she was there too)

Day 3 was crunch time.

I was still (hand slap) working on my artwork instead of getting it into a pattern & ready to print. And my flight was soon after class was ending. So it was a bit of madness. I raced like crazy to color in every last tomato and strawberry and my little berry patch raider and then spent lunchtime running back to the Ace (in heels no less) to get my suitcase, grab and eat lunch and tea (while running in the heels & pulling the suitcase), then back to the computer. Heather was really helpful with suggestions for layout and color ways, as well as suggesting an inspiration to consider when planning out my patterns (Josef Frank, who I already am mad about).

By 2:30 most of us were printing out our patterns on glossy 13 X 19" paper and the excitement level was high. People were rushing in with gorgeous printed patterns that they had designed from start to finish from just Friday morning - it was a really cool thing.

Then it was on to quickly burning files, getting group pics, saying good byes, buying mailing tubes from Office Depot, catching a cab to the airport, an hour + plane ride, having my awesome neighbor pick me up, and arriving home to see Jared (and not Bird as she was sleeping). Then crashing for the night (and really not having any energy till probably Wednesday)!

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Our group of ladies, and
"Quilt Dad"

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Going over our work

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
My roommates and buddies for the weekend, Eliza & Jamie

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Jamie, Heather, & me :o)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Post-swim at Sauvie Island

Hope you enjoyed the re-cap!

And hopefully soon I'll have printed fabric to show you...we are getting a credit from Spoonflower for printing what we made in class. Yay! I have some tweaking to do on my pattern - with color and pattern balancing - and then it's destined for linen I think. Not sure yet what I should make with it. Ideas? And should I put yardage or fat quarters in my shop?

I'm off to throw the rest of whatever clothes I'll need for 100+ degree weather into a suitcase and cook up dinner. We have farmfresh squash, tomatoes, green beans, and kale...think it's time for a summer pasta toss (with prosciutto, yum!).

Have a lovely weekend all :o)

hugs, Devon

ps: more photos at the Fabric Design with Heather Ross flickr group