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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Fabric to Inspire

Dream, Imagine, Create, Inspire, Succeed Spoonflower fabric by eSheep Designs
One of the main design elements behind my
Inspiration fabric collection...
When I decided to go to art college after high school, it was with the goal of becoming a commercial artist or graphic designer. The college that I attended had a common first year for everyone and then streamed students into specializations based on their interests and talents for the second through fourth years. My intention was to make it into the Visual Communications program.

So much for intentions. ;-)

In 1980, Bill Gates made his famous prediction about a computer on every desk and in every home. As it turned out, I got my first computer fairly early in the revolution — just into 1986 (yes, now over thirty years ago) — and it soon became clear that this huge, unprecedented technology event would change a lot of things for a lot of people during that decade.

Not to say that it led to my leaving art college after the first year (because that was for an entirely different reason), but it did divert me onto a totally unexpected career path in IT. Curiously enough, that path has now seemingly come back full circle.

I'm finally able to design "stuff". On a computer. And it feels amazing!


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Last August, I mused about where I was finding inspiration for my "ultimate" purse design. (Still looking and finding, by the way!) Mostly from other purses, certainly, but also from some elements of clothing, like the placement of zippers, lapels and pockets.

What inspires a design for a fabric, however, is harder to pigeon-hole. My first ones came from a variety of places: photographs, childhood hobbies, my city's skyline. For one of my recent collections over at Spoonflower, I found inspiration from a really unlikely source: Avon! Specifically, this:

Avon Essential Truths Necklaces
Avon's Essential Truths necklaces...

The middle necklace has the words IMAGINE, DREAM, CREATE and SUCCEED on the four-sided rectangular pendant. Considering my passion for fabric with words, as soon as I saw that necklace in one of their holiday brochures, I knew that I had to come up with some fabrics around that theme. The words speak to me as a crafter and designer.

After completing the main layout with the four words as shown at the top of this post, I noticed a small blank spot with nothing in it. Jolted by a sudden shot of inspiration, I added the word "inspire".

So there you go: my salute to designers and crafters everywhere in several fabric pattern variations. Here is the first one (all images are shown as a fat quarter):

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS fabric in ivory...

I then mirrored the pattern for this interesting effect:

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS Mirrored fabric in white...

Since these are very neutral, I created a variation with some colour. I also rotated the second appearance of the basic design, so that the fabric essentially has no right or wrong "up" side.

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS fabric in Dual Rainbow...

There are/were a few other variants, including a dark one that looks great on screen. But when I purchased the test swatch, a couple of the words were simply lost in the background, so it was back to the drawing board on that one.

Here is what the drawing board produced:

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS Tiled... a re-invention of the original dark pattern....

These were originally done last November, so it's been some time since I've worked on them. I've moved on to several other design projects in the months since, but this particular inspiration unexpectedly "renewed" itself a few weeks ago.

It happened one evening as I was getting ready for bed. The brewing concept made me rush out of the bathroom to look for my trusty notebook, so I could scribble down some short phrases using those words.

This is what ultimately resulted...

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
Second round of inspiration produces this pattern: DICIS Phrases in Rolling Grayscale...

This design takes advantage of some new skills that I recently acquired with Paint Shop Pro in terms of producing a seamless pattern. As you can see, it's helped me to break out of the "boxed in" look. Apart from that, I again wanted a non-directional fabric. The phrases are both right side up and upside down, and the random words are oriented in various ways.

This next one is a reversed (negative) version, with a corrugated background effect...

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS Phrases fabric in Reversed Corrugated ...

This version is my nod to colour...

DICIS Phrases in Neon...

And finally, this is the reversed image (negative) of the previous design... (A yard of this is actually winging its way to me right now.)

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS Phrases in Rainbow...

I have a few more variations, including ones in basic black and white and this one in red, black and white:

Inspiration Fabric Collection by eSheep Designs
DICIS Phrases in Red, White & Black...

By the way, in case you can't read them, the phrases are strive to succeed, dare to imagine, seek to inspire, learn to dream and live to create. (And yes, I was mumbling and repeating these all the way from the bathroom down to my workstation where my notebook was located!)


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The remaining fabric design in this collection is unrelated to the pattern components above. It was created for one of Spoonflower's weekly competitions, namely the Windows contest in the final week of December.

My original idea centered around a half circle window on top of a rectangular window with muntin bars radiating outwards. Through the top window would be a view of stars spelling out the word "hope". With the help of some magic performed by Paint Shop Pro, it morphed into this:

Windows of Hope fabric design element by eSheep Designs
Main design component for Windows of Hope fabric design...

You can probably see the actual fabric design displayed on my Spoonflower Shop widget on my left sidebar (or click here.)

Over the next few months I am going to share the results from some of my fabric designing efforts on a regular basis. The creative outlet that the process provides has proven quite addictive and I've been whiling away untold hours at it. On the plus side, it's giving me an opportunity to master the "other 80%" of Paint Shop Pro that largely goes unused... by me, anyway!

As I've said before, there is some fantastic work being done by ordinary, everyday folks on these on-demand fabric printing shop sites. Despite the complaints you may have heard about the high price of products at places like Spoonflower, they do provide a solution for many people who otherwise wouldn't be able to see their designs come to life. And it's also a means to share the results with the world.

That can't be bad, can it?




1 comment:

  1. Some beautiful designs, Rochelle. I especially like the first one. When I find a few more hours in the day, I'm going to try my hand at designing some fabric on Spoonflower.

    ReplyDelete

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