Thursday, July 29, 2010

My weekend with Heather Ross, textile design, & Portland

My strawberries & tomatoes pattern from Heather Ross Workshop
My pattern, "Strawberry & Tomato Patch" from the Heather Ross textile design workshop

I can't believe it's Thursday already...this time last week I was packing my suitcase for Portland and absolutely giddy about what could be ahead. Today I'm desperately trying to get this written while packing for another trip - this time to see J's family in Texas, aka the Mohave.

Long story was a really special and amazing time!! Meeting Heather Ross (well, I actually met her last year at Hart's in Santa Cruz and chatted with her twin sister for awhile - not knowing till this trip that it was actually her twin, haha) was so FUN and she really is so great. For me, getting into this class was a dream come true and I didn't take it for granted - believe me that my rear end still hurts from those computer chairs ;)

Day 1 Heather started us out with introductions and then we jumped right into drawing, all squeezed around two ikea tables pushed together, elbow to elbow. It was challenging for some...I admit I love any reason to draw & didn't mind the exercise. I drew little houses, a sea turtle (ripple on the brain), a girl in the rain, a whistle (you can see I really embrace randomness), and then ended up spending a bulk of time (20min) on tiny tomatoes & strawberries.

We picked our favorite sketch then proceeded to make copies of it and move around the pieces, composing patterns. At this point several of us were a little hesitant to commit to using our half thought out morning scribbles for our workshop's feature pattern. But I went with it, adding a little sketched out Bird to the mix - you know, the ultimate strawberry & tomato eater - of course! ("shawbees and matos" as she would say).

By the end of the day we had our sketches scanned and some of us were already up and running on the computer, coloring away in Photoshop. I was looking over my pile of copies thinking of what in the world I was going to do with the mess. But oh! it was 4pm and time to head out for eats. Portland doesn't disappoint. We all thought it was cheap to eat there. And that there is no shortage of mac & cheese.

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
That evening was also Heather's public talk at was really enjoyable, & funny, & very candid :o) She is working on several new & exciting things - wallpaper, children's books, her own book with printable designs! Such an inspiration.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I have to say that Portland is a ridiculously walkable city. And clean too - noticed that right away. All those responsible Portlanders putting their recyclables in the readily available dispensers all over the place. And the bikes! It's truly a cyclist's meca.

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
I got coffee from many (many, many) different places but my favorite cup - a latte - came from
Stumptown which was connected to the Ace Hotel where I stayed. The bathrobes they provided were really cute & comfy - so much so apparently Heather bought one to take home :o) Great souvenir! (click on the Heather link above to see her post on the weekend)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
This was the cave, I mean classroom, at
Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) that we did all of our work in. Heather went over her basic set up for working on fabric & it included: iMac, wacom tablet with stylus, color wheel, sketchpad, coffee, and a posable model for when drawing people. I think there were a few other things - oh yes, a scanner for sure. And probably a printer (we got to use the incredibly nice, large format printers - gorgeous!).

Day 2 we got to work with our computers & tablets! Heather went over how to use the stylus (and emphasized ergonomics which I really appreciated) and started us off in Photoshop using channels to lay out our patterns (instead of using layers). It was so liberating to break free from layers!! I have been trying to figure it out for a while (longer than I'd like to admit) and just couldn't get myself past a point of frustration or a long enough naptime (from Bird) to do it. It really isn't so difficult but it is a different way of looking at things - and it makes a lot of sense once you get started. I probably cut my drawing/coloring time in half using channels instead of layers. That's remarkable.

The day was an absolute blur...just being pasted to my chair and drawing in Photoshop...tomatoes & strawberries, tomatoes & strawberries. The best part of the day was figuring out how to get out of the city and go swimming (picture below). Sometimes there are just things that round out your time in a place perfectly & that's what our evening outing to Sauvie Island did (& only 20 min away!). I came back with just one mosquito could have been lots worse. The water was so refreshing and you know, it sure beat staring at a computer screen. Later on we went to a cute restaurant, Ping, and had chinese food (with a thai twist).

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Heather (these shots are taken using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone)

Heather Ross Textile Design Workshop Weekend
Adorable new friends, Jamie & Vera (Eliza not pictured but she was there too)

Day 3 was crunch time.

I was still (hand slap) working on my artwork instead of getting it into a pattern & ready to print. And my flight was soon after class was ending. So it was a bit of madness. I raced like crazy to color in every last tomato and strawberry and my little berry patch raider and then spent lunchtime running back to the Ace (in heels no less) to get my suitcase, grab and eat lunch and tea (while running in the heels & pulling the suitcase), then back to the computer. Heather was really helpful with suggestions for layout and color ways, as well as suggesting an inspiration to consider when planning out my patterns (Josef Frank, who I already am mad about).

By 2:30 most of us were printing out our patterns on glossy 13 X 19" paper and the excitement level was high. People were rushing in with gorgeous printed patterns that they had designed from start to finish from just Friday morning - it was a really cool thing.

Then it was on to quickly burning files, getting group pics, saying good byes, buying mailing tubes from Office Depot, catching a cab to the airport, an hour + plane ride, having my awesome neighbor pick me up, and arriving home to see Jared (and not Bird as she was sleeping). Then crashing for the night (and really not having any energy till probably Wednesday)!

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Our group of ladies, and
"Quilt Dad"

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Going over our work

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
My roommates and buddies for the weekend, Eliza & Jamie

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Jamie, Heather, & me :o)

Heather Ross Workshop in Portland
Post-swim at Sauvie Island

Hope you enjoyed the re-cap!

And hopefully soon I'll have printed fabric to show you...we are getting a credit from Spoonflower for printing what we made in class. Yay! I have some tweaking to do on my pattern - with color and pattern balancing - and then it's destined for linen I think. Not sure yet what I should make with it. Ideas? And should I put yardage or fat quarters in my shop?

I'm off to throw the rest of whatever clothes I'll need for 100+ degree weather into a suitcase and cook up dinner. We have farmfresh squash, tomatoes, green beans, and kale...think it's time for a summer pasta toss (with prosciutto, yum!).

Have a lovely weekend all :o)

hugs, Devon

ps: more photos at the Fabric Design with Heather Ross flickr group

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Birthday weekend & days till Portland!!

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

We crammed last Friday & Saturday with so much fun stuff that by Sunday we didn't want to get out of bed (but of course, we were summoned!).

Here are pics from Mitchell Cove Beach in Santa Cruz. It's an excellent dog beach in that I believe it's actually a legit one (beats having to scan for rangers all the time). And it's long and wide and, you know, beachy, which we love :o) We hit it up for the morning & Phylo had the best time. Bird loved the (cold) water but would climb us when the waves rolled up the shore.

Then delicious eats at Emily's Bakery (breakfast burritos are VERY worth your while) followed by playground time at De LaVeaga Park and then some frisbee golf at the De LaVeaga Disc Golf Course. It's an amazing course for any of you interested in throwing discs! You feel like you're on top of a mountain overlooking the ocean (which you sort of are) and it's spaced out enough you're not having to yell "fore!" all the time.

So...just 3 days till I leave for Portland and Heather's class - I'm so stinking excited!!

And tonight is noteworthy too! I'm going to be at Kaleid Gallery's Two Buck Tuesday event as a featured sketch artist. I'll be sitting a table drawing for the evening as the other entertainment (speakers, other sketch artists, performers, etc.) do their thing. It's free and open to the public. Come purchase affordable artwork from fabulous local artists! (I'm not sure exactly what is $2 per se, but I'm sure something is - most other works are under $50 I believe and I'll be selling prints for $10 and possibly some original stuff).

Please come say hello!!
88 S. 4th St., San Jose
Tuesday, July 20th, 7-10pm

Hugs, Devon

Mitchell Cove, Santa Cruz

Friday, July 16, 2010

32 - thirty-two - thurteetoo

Hipstamatic | My new Electra bike (with ibert child seat)

Turned 32 today. As my friend Mel of Ask Miss Mommy said, birthdays aren't quite the same with kids (young kids) but Bird took it easy on me today and was pretty sweet (except for getting up at 5:40am). We didn't do too much...long walk with Phylo, a bike ride to a different playground, just hanging out mostly - refreshing compared to our very structured & busy last couple of weeks. And tonight we went out for Pizza Antica followed by ice cream cones for all :o) It was messy fun. And highly entertaining as there was a live salsa band playing and my girl can't help herself when it comes to a catchy beat. She was shaking & swinging & stepping and never dropped her ice cream cone (of course!). We got lots of laughs and comments as you can imagine.

Did you see that pretty lady up there? That's my new bike, an Electra Gigi! It was my (early) birthday present & I very much heart her. That's an ibert child seat attached. Bird and I really get around with this rig & it's such a laid back cushy ride. It's even sweeter that it's named Gigi, which is what Bird calls my mom :o)

I took the photo using my iPhone and the Hipstamatic app - it's so fun! I heard about the app from the lovely Miz Booshay contributor on the Pioneer Woman blog. Here are other shots from the day using my phone:


Hipstamatic | Dahlias

Hipstamatic | 32 today!



Have a great weekend!
hugs, Devon

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Side project: Geeky cool bamboo phone case

Design for Grove Made iPhone case

Over the past couple of days (or nap times, rather) I've worked on an iPhone case design for Jared's spiffy new phone (which he really digs even with that one issue - dang it, 'nother dropped call). He found a company named Grove Made through one of his favorite online haunts (gizmodo). They take solid blocks of bamboo and shape them into cases, then laser engrave artwork onto the backs. They have really fantastic selections of current amazing artists' works but you can also upload whatever design you want using their template.


Jared hemmed and hawed plenty about the design - to the point where I was a little exasperated, I admit it. Most of my work just isn't his style. He loves my work, thinks it's fabulous, is totally supportive, but is not so into the idea of sporting illustrated owls or sketched California wildflowers you know? He finally found some more "manly" or maybe "geeky" ;o) ideas in the gears and mechanics of clockwork. In fact, he said it may be a hobby he'd be interested in at some point. This made me laugh - I can only imagine little old men bent over old garage work tables building the innards of clocks. But Jared is a mechanical kind of guy and loves to figure out how things work so maybe it's not so surprising. I still think he'd rather play frisbee golf.

Grove Bamboo Iphone Cases

Check out the site: - all hand made in Portland, Oregon! That's where I'll be in about a week!! :o) :o)

Hope you're all staying cool...I'm writing this from our deck outside, under an umbrella, in 87 degrees which feels marvelous. No complaints here.

hugs, Devon

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Fabric Patterns: Bunny Sunday & Nancy Flora

Since the beginning of the Summer I've been in a different work mode. No more murals. No more side jobs. No more plushes. Etc., etc., etc. It was a difficult, slightly squeamish decision but a good one. So what am I doing with my time (besides being with Bird full time save for a morning of babysitting 1x a week)? Well, thanks for asking! I'm finally working on fabric again. It's a wonderful exciting feeling. I'm meeting awesome fabric peeps on twitter & by visiting inspiring blogs and am trying to steep myself in the world of textile design once again. It really was a LONG time ago now that I was in school for textiles. I graduated in 2000 from RISD and it was only in my final year there that I did any textile work on the computer (using CAD for textiles) and only in my very last semester of school that I used Photoshop & Illustrator. Wow, that makes me feel kind of old :0

Flash forward to today...what isn't on the computer?? Really, the most important consideration is how much easier it is now to be a designer of textiles. I felt so stymied after school without a fancy CAD system. There was no way I could work freelance without having a space for hand screen printing fabrics (which I really wanted but never pulled off fully) or some kind of computer design support (which didn't really exist, at least not to me at that time).

Now we have amazing companies like Spoonflower (and Fabric on Demand which I haven't tried yet, as well as other companies - check out True Up's post on this topic) that enable you to easily print whatever you want to on fabric.

Last month I designed a pattern called Nancy Flora (Nancy is a city in France we fell in love with while visiting family). I definitely have some disconnect with the colors, and I feel squidgy about the pattern - it's not quite right, not balanced. It's also possible that the scale is off. But no worries, I'm moving ahead! It's so important for me right now to just KEEP GOING! There are so many distractions in my life as it is. Better to just keep being fresh, current, and inspired by a new day.

fabric designs June & July
Black & white sketch

fabric designs June & July
Sketch colored in Photoshop

Nancy Flora, Spoonflower print
Fat quarter of Nancy Flora, printed with Spoonflower on quilting cotton

Nancy Flora, Spoonflower print
2 printed samples of Nancy Flora, one on linen cotton canvas & the other on upholstery weight twill. There was a little oops! at the factory I believe but an understandable one - the samples were printed from two different files (with very slightly different color variations) so it's difficult to compare them based on base cloth.

I've been working on a new pattern called Bunny Sunday. This is a watercolor sketch that I scanned into the computer and then did modifications on in Photoshop.

fabric designs June & July
Loving blues & peach lately

fabric designs June & July
My original watercolor painting of the pattern

Bunny Sunday, in the blue & peach repeat

I'm still not sure what scale this should be...teeny tiny to match all the teeny details? Or each running bunny at 2 or 3 inches long? I'm also admittedly not satisfied with the current repeat...I think I'm just over complicating things. I may revisit. After starting a new pattern. Really - have to keep going with this momentum.

The most exciting news however (!) and definitely to feed the momentum is that I was moved from the waiting list onto the enrolled list for Heather Ross's class in Portland later in the month. It's a 3 day class focusing on exactly what I've been working on - creating textile designs using Photoshop and printing with an on-demand printer (we'll be using Spoonflower).

Pinch me!!

I feel so grateful.

Tthanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the new designs. If you sew/craft what would you use these fabrics for?

hugs, Devon

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strawberry U-Pick Day

Strawberry U-Pick Day

This evening after unsuccessfully selling Jared on designs for his iPhone case I started messing around with my blog page again (still not happy - please don't hold this look against me!). I realized there had to be a faster way to upload photos. I downloaded a program that is helping me move photos more quickly from iPhoto to flickr. And then while in "future" mode in flickr I just started grabbing the html code of pics and pasting directly into my blog page (while in "edit html" mode). It's working beautifully!! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before...could've saved myself a bit of time. Maybe I should have asked my lovely twitter peeps for advice long ago as well - they always have the answers it seems! :o)

Anyway, since it's now so darn easy to upload pics I figured I'd share some from the Summer vault of my iPhoto stash. Here was strawberry picking & strawberry jam making from last month.

Strawberry U-Pick Day

We picked (and Bird ate) tons of berries...perfectly ripe, humongous, organic, amazingly sweet.

Strawberry U-Pick Day

Once home Jared separated the berries into categories: ripe and more ripe. I then used the more ripe berries for jam!

We really love Jamie Oliver's book "Jamie at Home" and the strawberry jam recipe is simple and straightforward. We took it one step further and did the whole canning process rather than leaving it fresh. That way we can enjoy jam for months.

Strawberry U-Pick Day

Mashing the berries by hand is so awesome...I definitely recommend it!

Strawberry U-Pick Day

The magic happening.

Strawberry U-Pick Day

Rows of ruby red jam - & it tastes as good as it looks :o)

Well this was probably my quickest post ever...

Nighty night!
hugs, Devon