Tag Archives: fabric design

Inspired to create by…an antique set of silverware

23 Jan

I am constantly inspired by nearly everything that comes my way whether via the web or my daily surroundings.

The only disadvantage to this is that I only have so much time in a day to act on ideas that will flood my mind. I am constantly leaving myself little scribbled sketches with what I hope will be just enough information about my vision, which I can hopefully discern for processing at a later time.
Yet it doesn’t always work that way. I can tell you looking at such scribbles a year later, even when they have color lists that were a big part of the idea with the intention of triggering the scene back into my recollection…the ideas are often lost.

It is difficult sometimes to resurrect these little creative surges & downloads. It probably doesn’t help that these creative blasts like to come during the most inopportune moments…such of those of deep exhaustion as I am lying in bed helplessly falling asleep.

You may ask what my point is? My point is this…I’m a constant creative magnet taking in more data than I can process into actual tangible results. My list of what I hope to paint, design & creates grows longer everyday even though my time to do it seems more limited. This however does not mean that I am not creating at all…quite the contrary. It means that my focus has become less of the things I want to do & more on what my clients needs are at the moment.

I have created some amazing designs in the past little while…some of which are top secret. Those that are not, rarely get much time in the spotlight as I quickly move on to the next task. Quite frankly I am suited to this sort of variety. There is nothing monotonous about my design business. I am just terrible at taking a moment to write about it & share.

That being said…a cross between apology & justification for not blogging in a while….I am going to share a creation that has been a while in the making.

Many of you who are close to me know I have been dating Craig for a long time… about five years ago his mother gave him some of her older furniture & antiques when she got re-married & moved away for a time.
One of these things was a set of silverware.

Not being a pro in the antique business. I’m not sure how to find the years, dates & values of things. All I know about this silverware is that it looks really old. I think it is stunning though. It fulfills all my beliefs about what old fashioned romantic silverware should be like (it is my Libra mentality to romanticize nearly everything).

Silverware from the Hewitt Family
Unfortunately the picture I have of it is not very flattering. Something about this designed medallion really struck me & I found the design fascinating.

In 2009 I was volunteered to refurbish some props for the Mountain West Ballet, Nutcracker performance. When it came to decorating the large presents that some of the dancers come out of, I decided that the only way to make it look like wrapping paper was to stencil them. It was difficult finding large enough stencils…so I resorted to creating my own using the silverware medallion as my inspiration.
It turned out so well that I never forgot the thought I had, that this pattern might look nice as a fabric pattern….

Vintage Bird Nutcracker Gift Boxes Designed by April Elizabeth for Mountain West Ballet
Back when I was very young, I had this dream. It was a big dream that carried me through my youth & teenage years. That was the desire to be a fashion designer. It may have been my exposure to sewing. I had been sewing since I was five years old…maybe it was the piles of old pattern design books I would track down at all the libraries & spend hours reading. Yes. That has to be it. The library…

I was driven to design clothes. Much of my teenage years I was self educating myself in such things.

It was this time spent, reading, studying, sewing, making my own patterns & clothes (otherwise I was limited to hand me downs) that taught me a great deal about textiles. Years later when I ended up on the path to an Interior Design degree, this knowledge came in handy because I knew them inside & out.

Knowledge is one thing, but I also loved textiles & fabric. I read everything I could on repeats & fabric design but so much of it was vague…almost protected information. It was hard to find much information & the tools to print, silk screen & paint my own fabric would be difficult to justify as a hobby.

Since that time I have wanted to have my own fabric line. Truthfully, every time I see a designer with their own fabric line I will pour over their bio to try to find out how they got started. Each line says so much about the designer’s personality as well as design style & I find it fascinating.

Duralee happens to be my favorite fabric companies to look at such designers, because they really put a lot of emphasis on their talents & lines. To private label with a company like Duralee…that would be the dream.

In researching fabric designers, I know there are people who specifically design fabric & do the artwork to help fulfill many a designers’ vision. For me being an artist before getting my Interior Design degree I decided it was time to challenge myself.

I needed an easy subject to start with so I defaulted to one I already had a myriad of sketches for. The bird medallion inspired by Craig’s antique silverware. Knowing that I could change the colors to any that I wanted later on, I made the decision not to invest in new paint. I painted it with what I already had & considered each color as a separator to each other.

A E Design Original Scanned Design of Vintage Bird Medallion
Then I scanned it into my computer & began using Photoshop to clean it up. This was a long process since I had to work on it in bits & pieces as time allowed. Then I played around with various filters…

A E Design Playing with color for the Vintage Bird Design
Many color samples later & it was beginning to look really decent. Then the craziest thing happened….
After looking for months for the perfect fabric for one of my clients…one with all the colors she wanted to bring into her home, I heard myself throw out the idea that “maybe I could design it?”

Well, she wanted to see what I had right away. She loved the design. It was transitional leaning into a traditional vibe, so the process of getting each fabric right began. It took time & weeks every time I would order a new color sample but finally we got it right.

IMG_20140621_092932
Then because she was ready to rock & roll…I used my sewing skills (which I had put in cold storage for a few years) & made eight back tab panels of 132” drapes, fully lined with blackout lining.

A E Design Sewing my custom fabric into drapes
I am really happy with the result & what I learned from this experience is invaluable. I may not be designing exquisite textiles for a high end designer fabric company, but I can design fabric. In fact I am planning to design a few things with my antique bird design & see how they sell online.

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Red & Gray A E Design

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Teal & Black A E Design The other thing I learned is that I need to have someone else do my sewing sometimes, just so I can keep myself moving forward & creating as well as get in some Z’s.

These particular color combinations were put together for my client. To see more of my colorways in this “Vintage Lovebird” pattern feel free to visit my spoonflower shop. Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Redl & Gray

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