There is just too much Tina Givens goodness to cram into one week, so we’re extending our celebration of the release of Sew Tina! just as long as we possibly can. A couple of weeks ago I chatted with Tina about her glorious life, and in case you missed it, read about it here. This week read part 2 of my interview, and don’t forget to hop back to last week’s Free Project Friday, where you can follow Tina’s blog tour and download some freebie bonus projects. Best of all, you can sign up for a chance to win the book and some cool Tina stuff.
What’s the process of designing a fabric line like? Do you begin with an inspiration, or a colorway, or something else?
It starts with a story, or a place, and then it evolves. If I take myself to that place I start to sketch freely. But at the same time I research; I look at what’s current in color, what’s up in home decorating, I read almost every home and fashion magazine you can think of on a global scale. My favorite mag right now is Selvedge, oh my it is delicious! Back to the process—I think while I am in the midst of creating a collection, all the other aspects of my life intercede and the collection evolves, from color palettes to scale and pattern. Designing a collection the way I do is like a puzzle. I almost always start with the lead design, the one I fall in love with the most, and then with scale and color I manipulate the others into a group that seems to work together. It’s almost a three-dimensional puzzle because maybe the collection has nine prints, but I am also working within three to six color palettes.
You’re part of a pretty impressive group of designers at FreeSpirit Fabrics. Do you ever get a chance to hang out with any of the other artists like Anna Maria Horner, Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey, Valori Wells, or the incomparable Jay McCarroll?
Absolutely. We are all pretty busy people with our personal lives, businesses, and what-not, but we truly have a great time at market when we can get together. And dinners are fun fun…we get to spend time and giggle together. Everyone is so unique, which is an enormous reason why FreeSpirit and Westminster’s other line, Rowan, work so well with so many designers, and it makes for close-knit relationships. We also talk shop, sharing news and business models. After the last day of market, close your eyes and listen for the laughter…that’s all of us hanging out one last time before the “next time.” We have also become close with spouses, sisters, children, and designers from other fabric manufacturers too—it’s a pretty amazing industry!
I’d love to hear about your upcoming fabric designs.
I currently have a fabulous collection out called Opal Owl and I am getting lots of emails about this colorful group. I am actually loving it because the fabric works beautifully with all the projects in the book. The character Opal is appearing in a new movie called The Help (based on the novel), where Opal appears in stationery form to the young girl writing her own book.
My next collection due out in October is called Haven’s Edge and is as dramatic as its name. The colors are bright and striking with eclectic designs including florals, enormous butterflies, and dramatic deco prints. Very pretty and comes in soft lavenders, aqua blues and lime greens, but also deep violet, pinks and rich purples. I envision Marie Antoinette in corseted dresses with layered enormous skirts and a touch of frilly edging. But it is also modern enough for the kids in us as well as our tony tots. We’re going to be making all the projects from the book and more in Haven’s Edge. Can’t wait…and oh, I’ve added some voiles to layer with…yummy stuff.
I am starting to work on a magical collection inspired by a childhood book that I recently re-acquired ( Miss Z, the Dark Young Lady, by Angela Carter). My daughter is actually reading it to me, which is amazing. I have not seen the images nor read the book since I was about nine years old. And what surprised me is the influence the images and text have had on me. And Miss Z sews in the book! As it’s filled with unicorns, magical parrots, fantastical fountains, and green lions, I think I am going to have fun with this one.