I am thrilled to be with you today on the Michael Miller blog to give you a glimpse into the inspiration for and the thought process behind the creation of my latest fabric collection, Birds & the Bees. I also have a few project inspiration images, including free quilt patterns and finally, a FABRIC GIVEAWAY!
As a fabric designer, I am often asked where I get the inspiration for my work. Honestly, it can come from a wide variety of places… my children’s musings, a nature walk, my Mom’s garden… but in this case, I started with my recollection of a large ceramic bird that my Mom had when I was growing up, by Chilean artist Pablo Zabal.
Examples of PabloZabal’s work. The one on the left is my Mom’s.
I did not want to create a literal rendering of it, but rather be influenced by my memory of the feeling and whimsy of it. So, after much playing with pattern, form and color, adding some playful feathers, strewn flowers and the occasional fancy-flying ladybugs, this, Feathered Flock is what emerged.
Seeing that insects were creeping into the work again as they so often do with me, I then made the decision to just go for it and make the collection be all about flying creatures. This print, All the Wee Beasts came next.
Take a closer look at the smallest insects in the above image, those little bees. Their abdomen reminded me of a beehive. Honey Honey thus emerged as a geometric blender print, as did Eye Candy, which started as a stripped down, modern flower center. I was thinking about an insect’s attraction to the bright colors, hence the print’s name (along with its similarity to Life Saver candy).
Love Bug simply evolved from looking at the ladybugs in Feathered Flock a little differently, seeing the similarity in their shape to that of a heart. I was remembering growing up in the Caribbean, having winged creatures flittering around at night, so Baby the Stars Shine Bright was born more from memories of tropical nights (without the invasion of big city lights) than anything else.
Sometimes patterns are created more from a need for something to balance a collection. After all those smaller scale prints, Blossoming was all about a large-scale modern flower.
And the need for something more linear came in Loop-di-Loop (my take on insects’ flight paths) and Toutes les Plumes, which, while it was the final print created for the collection, also ended up being one of my favorites.
A few other color versions of certain designs were added to balance the group, called Ladybug.
Once the prints all worked together as a whole, it was time to play with an alternate color scheme. I started playing with magentas and indigo and the Bluejay color story emerged.
Achieving the colors that are finally printed on the fabric is a fine balance and a team effort, for sure. I hand my work over to the talented Karen Jarrar at Michael Miller who, in turn, interprets that for the mill. She and I work closely together, both giving input to try and end up with a cohesive collection that works for you, the sewer. Whether you are making clothing, a quilt or some other project, I hope you are inspired by the result of what we have created.
Here are a few items I have put together thus far:
|Girl’s dress, pattern by Burda Style|
|Flight Formation Quilt – free pattern download|
|Flight Medallion Quilt – free pattern download|
|Night Flight Quilt, based on my Starry Migration free quilt pattern|
And now for the Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of Birds & the Bees, Michael Miller is generously offering two fabric bundles, one in the Ladybug group and one in Bluejay, to two lucky winners. These are half-yard bundles, so lots of fabric for you to sew all kinds of amazing creations.
To enter, let us know below which fabric group you would prefer to win and what you would sew with it. We will randomly choose a winner for each.
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And, the winners are...
And, the winners are...
Best of luck,