Leah Evans Textiles

"Googling" is just amazing. You never know what you'll find right? In my quest to find things related to a certain key word I'm exploring for a fabric collection I stumbled upon the work of Leah Evans.

To say her textile pieces are detailed and worthy of getting completely lost in is an understatement. I can't get enough of these amazing pieces. I really wish I could see some of these in person, and run my fingers over all the hours of stitch work. My favorites (photos from here):

And some detail shots (photos also from here)

The odd thing is that I feel like I've met her before?? Did she go to RISD? She certainly knows textiles - I knew a couple of Leahs in our department but who knows. I would love to hang out with her for an afternoon and learn more about her process.

Happily sweating in the studio with 2 kids napping,

Penguins, Owls, Wood, Ink, Fabric & Felt - that crazy time of year

WIPs for fall show & sale

So here's what I've been up to! Bet you thought I was just playing at pumpkin patches all the time based on my last posts ;o) All I can say is it's hard balancing being the cool, fun mama and the productive artist/designer, as well as keep up with other parts of life (did I mention all the renovation projects going on around here??).

WIPs for fall show & sale

I have a sale coming up on the 4th - I do it every year because it's just so fun. Basically I get to hang out with designers & architects & all sorts of other creative folks for a night of shopping & selling. And I usually do really well. I'm going on year 5 with them. This year I have more of what I usually offer (plushes, brooches, itty bitty hair clips, etc) with one BIG difference. All my sewn products this year are made with my own fabric!! Can you believe it? I can't!

This is a really positive step in the direction I want to go & I'm so excited to share it with you. I feel like even a year ago it seemed out of reach to get it together and design/print fabrics, much less end up with finished products in my hands to show for it. To be totally honest I was somewhat disappointed by my first round of prints from Spoonflower - many of my colors were deeper or lighter than expected, or bloomed in a way that I felt threw off the print. I also saw issues with scale and proportion. But really I needed to give myself a break and realize that this is part of the process & it's impossible to get it perfect the first time round. I don't know why I'm so hard on myself, sheesh.

Happily, I have enough fabric to put together a great group of new products and I'm thrilled with them. And a little cranky from the late nights working, haha.

WIPs for fall show & sale

My friend Cheryl reminded me (thank goodness at the beginning of the month & not at the end!) that I'm the featured artist for November for a gallery space in Santa Cruz. I had totally forgotten. Really. Where's my brain huh? So things are actually more busy than usual - I have several painted pieces on wood I'm pulling together (as well as some original watercolors & some pieces of framed printed fabrics) and will install on the 1st. Then I have the sale on the 4th, then the show opening on the 5th. Then I will crash & sleep on the 6th.

WIPs for fall show & sale

I've also been having fun catching up with family popping in unexpectedly & hosting another Creative Night at my studio with an awesome bunch of artists & designers. There's so much going on this time of year. Just need to hang on and go with it.

WIPs for fall show & sale

And this week puts me at halfway through the pregnancy! I've felt so much better over the last few weeks (just in time for all this craziness). We're already brainstorming on how to best design Bird's room to hold two kiddos (eventually - we'll have baby #2 in our room for first 6mths probably) and still be a place for fun & creativity. There is so much inspiration online - my favorite place to check out is Ohdeedoh. Definitely visit the site if you haven't before!

WIPs for fall show & sale

Now it's back to work for me...Bird's still sleeping so I need to hustle! Thanks so much for stopping by.

And I'm curious~ is this a crazy busy time of year for you too? What are you working on?


Tomatoes & Strawberries

Tomatoes & Strawberries

This is the pattern I worked on during Heather Ross's class in Portland - now in 4 yummy colorways :o) It's such a happy pattern & makes me smile thinking of Bird in our garden munching on all the goodies growing wild out there. The other day she had not only strawberries and tomatoes, but also figs and an orange. You have to love California's bounty - especially at the time of year.

This pattern will soon be real fabric - a la Spoonflower! I'm a busy bee trying to get all the color calibration and uploading complete, along with several other patterns. I have a sale on the 4th of November and would love to sew up a bevy of products & plushes with my own fabrics (a goal I've had for a while). This somewhat depends on how fast I can get the order placed...and how fast UPS delivers. I admit I'm pretty stressed about it.

I also had forgotten about a show I'll be doing in November as well :O November 5th actually haha!! It's going to be a busy week of mad sewing and making, painting installation, pricing & display, packing, and being extra clever about making sure Bird's needs are met too. I'm sure I'll fall in a heap on the 6th...

The upside is I'll have lots of beautiful new patterns and paintings complete and hopefully more encouragement to keep going.

Okay, back to it! Have a lovely day!

Hugs, Devon

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 short...it 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 PNCA...it 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 bite...it 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