Friday, February 18, 2011

The Birth of a New Design

I love reading and learning about how others create new and fabulous designs, so I thought I'd share my process, as well. Most of my designs are created out of some need, either my own need for a new something, or a friend or customer's need for one item or another. This latest design is a combination of both.
I begin all my designs with a simple piece of paper, usually graph paper, upon which I sketch and calculate, scratch and scrawl. I end up with a bunch of numbers, some barely recognizable shapes and boxes, and, hopefully, the fabric requirements for the latest design.

I then get a piece of muslin, cut it to the required size, and make a mock-up if the item. This dry-run helps me to firm up the measurements and make sure that everything that works perfectly in my mind works just as well in real life.
And then I make a real prototype. I almost always make it in fabric that coordinates with my tote bag, since I'll be carrying it for a while to make sure that the design will stand up to daily use. The prototype gives me a final chance to make sure that my new design works (muslin is great for a dry-run, but is a bit thinner than quilt-quality fabric), and that the end product will be the quality I need it to be to be comfortable selling it. It also gives me the opportunity to make something for myself - not a common occurance.
After a few weeks of use, I'm comfortable putting the new design into production and making items for sale. During those weeks of use, I often jot a few notes for adjustments and changes on the design sheet, promising that, if I can read what I've written, I'll be making an improved product.

I started my wallet journey with the Simply Chic wallet, just a simple two section envelope style wallet. Next, the Doubly Chic billfold-style wallet was introduced. The Trifecta recently followed. And now, the fourth, and probably final addition to the family is a clutch-style wallet, as yet un-named. This wallet has just finished going through it's paces. I really like the functionality of the new design and am ready to make some for the shop - it just needs a clever name!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Paper Tigers

I've been out of commission for a couple of weeks with the flu, but am finally in good health and back to work. My first few days back in the studio were spent completing a custom project and then I got to work on something very fun: paper tigers.

My clay artist friend, Sabra, created clay kitties and engaged some of her creative friends to dress them. They are supposed to harken back to childhood paper dolls, but the fun comes in letting our imaginations run with how we dress them.

I decided to enbrace my love of sci-fi and chose to dress one kitty as Leeloo from The Fifth Element and the other as Trinity from The Matrix. Boy did I have a ball!

The little quilted Leeloo outfit was amazingly fun to create and I think the wig of ribbon just put it over the top.

Trinity's outfit took a lot more work (and a lot more fabric!), but was just as fun to create. She comes complete with two little wire guns and her trademark dark glasses. This little kitty comes armes and ready to rescue us out of the matrix!

All the paper tigers will be on display at a gallery in the Hungerford building here in Rochester for the first Friday Gallery openings in March. I hope to get some pics of all the kitties to share at the opening. I can't wait to see what all the other creative minds have come up with!