Fabric8: Botanical Sketchbook

It’s the time of year again when Spoonflower is holding their most popular contest: Fabric8. This year, Spoonflower is collaborating with Moda Fabrics, who will offer the contest winner a fabric license based on the winning collection.

For the first round, 100 designs were selected by Moda (out of how many, we can only guess, but it must be close to 1000 based on previous years). Next Thursday, the 8 designs that received the most votes will be announced – and the lucky designers are then required to each create a collection. Round two involves voting for any of these eight collections, and the designer with the most votes wins.

I was fortunate to make it into the first round with my “Field Guide to Wildflowers”. It features vintage-inspired, pen-drawn wildflowers, birds and mushrooms, textures, and hand-lettered flower names. If you like it, please show your support by including it in your votes! Voting takes place here until Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 12pm (noon) EST. Thank you!

You can view my design in swatch, fat quarter and yard view here.

Vintage Garden Delights

I’m up to my neck in moving preparations, but I still wanted to mention last week’s collection I made for Spoonflower’s butterfly coordinate contest. Since it reached the top 10, here are the fabric images as well. Again, many thanks to anyone voting for my designs!

Etsy sale!

In order to lighten my load for an upcoming move, I’m having an Etsy sale on select items! From now until August 31, all fabrics are 15% off an already great price (min. purchase $15), and all tea towels are 10% off (min. purchase $20). Any questions? Just ask me!

These are the coupon codes:
FABRICAUG31 – for fabrics
TEATOWELAUG31 – for tea towels

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Another week that I couldn’t resist entering a contest, and last week’s theme was ‘after school snacks’. I thought fruit would make a good sub-theme, and I didn’t need to hesitate on the colour choices. This is what I came up with (and since it reached #3, here are the fabric images):

Summer in Sarek

For Spoonflower’s last design contest, themed ‘national parks’, I was inspired by Sweden’s Sarek National Park. I thought it made a good match for my Scandinavian / folk-inspired style. Luckily it placed in the top 10, so here are the fabric images taken by Spoonflower:

Customer Project!

The other day, customer Leanne shared a photo of a project made with my design ‘Mod Floral Gold’ and allowed me to further share it myself. Needless to say, her photo made my day! The design comes in many colourways and is part of my Nordic Picnic collection. Thank you, Leanne!

Leanne wearing her shirt; my design is printed on Spoonflower’s performance pique.

These are some prints included in my Nordic Picnic collection:

First Day of School

It is the time of year when many children are approaching school, so when Spoonflower held its “What’s in your bag” contest, I was inspired by the German tradition of giving small gifts to first graders on their first day of school. These are presented in decorative cardboard cones and taken to school that day. The gifts are meant to make this first-school-day-day-ever a bit less anxiety-inducing. Many parents craft their own school cones for their children. The cardboard base can be wrapped in fabric or paper (such as gift wrap, hint!). Here is an example of a mid-1980s school boy taken from Wikipedia:

I luckily placed in the top 10 for this contest, so here at the fabric images provided by Spoonflower. Thank you so much to anyone who cast their vote for my “First Day of School”! :)  It is now available as fabric, gift wrap and even wallpaper!

Camouflage Llama Family / Free shipping on Spoonflower

Last week’s contest theme at Spoonflower was llamas, for which I drew a design inspired by the habitats llamas are commonly found in. When reading about the Andes, I was drawn to the high-altitude Polylepis forests and woodlands with their beautiful shrubs and trees (and flowering cacti are found there as well).

Since my llamas made the top 10, here are photos of the printed fabric, courtesy of Spoonflower. Many thanks to anyone who voted for my design. :) It is now available on various fabrics, wallpaper and gift wrap.

PS: Today, July 13, Spoonflower offers free international shipping for 24 hours (until July 14, 9am Eastern Standard Time).

Miami Beach Lemonade Stand

For Spoonflower’s recent lemonade contest, I drew a design inspired by the subtropical feel of Southern Florida. I wanted it to feature palm trees, lemon trees (and blossoms), parrots, a lemonade cart roof (like an awning), bottles, pitchers, glasses and of course lemons and raspberries. Since the design made the top 10 this week, I can share fabric images here. Many thanks to anyone who voted for my design! It is now available for sale on various types of fabrics, gift wrap and wallpaper.

Guest Artist: Tina Vey

From when I first started out on Spoonflower, I have admired the fascinating designs of Tina Vey, an artist from New York City also known as Ottomanbrim (a name as quirky as her art). Her work is instantly recognizable with its striking use of colour, shapes and texture.

I would say that Tina is among the top most popular designers on Spoonflower; her contest entries usually garner the most ‘favourites’ of all, before a contest has even started! I was going to quote some of the ecstatic comments people made about Tina’s designs, but there are just too many to choose from. Please convince yourself by visiting her shop.

too much pollen

I’m happy and grateful that Tina agreed to answer some questions I had about her, and I hope that you will enjoy this glimpse into her life as an artist, and of course these gorgeous examples of her work! Clicking on the designs will lead you to their shop pages, where they are available for sale on fabric, gift wrap and wallpaper.

How did you come to be an artist?
I just grew up believing I had to be an artist. My mother was a painter and a welder and my father was a photographer. I was always painting and drawing as a kid and much preferred that to the obligatory piano lessons. I went on to study art in college. Between then and now there have been all sorts of twists and turns in my career path but my obsession with shape, form and color has persisted.

What is your favourite artistic medium / technique?
I love the computer! I am so thrilled to create art without all the mess. I am really fascinated with trying to duplicate a hand made feel in a vector program.

My early textile designs were cut paper and I did enjoy painting huge pieces of paper with bright gouache. I was always loved the beautiful subtle texture of the painted paper and loved cutting spontaneous shapes from it.  But the gluing was so toxic and tedious and there were so many times I had to redo the piece because the glue would leak all over the painted pieces. Today I often will cut out a shape and scan it to try to recreate some of the freshness of the cut paper shapes.


Do you have a (or several) favourite shape(s) and colour(s)?
My favorite shape is a dot. I could probably do millions of variations on the dot. Oh wait, I already have done that.

Are there any subjects you are particularly drawn to?
Subjects that I am drawn to… well subjects that I am not drawn to are animals (even though I love animals especially cats) and people. I love abstract shapes. But it appears that most people love animal designs so I push myself to do them. And they tend to be best sellers on Spoonflower. So I’m really pleased when I push myself into areas I am not necessarily comfortable.

What I try to always achieve is an overall look to the design where all the elements are balanced and one thing does not stand out. Sort of like a nice outfit. I would rather someone say they liked the way I looked rather than they liked my shirt. The same goes for textiles.  I want the eye to travel around and not focus on any one element.  Someone once described my designs as having a place for the eye to rest. I like that description. I don’t want to overwhelm. I’m always trying to achieve something that appears simple and not overworked. In most cases though, I have worked on it tirelessly making minute adjustments to shapes and color. Sometimes I repeat “serenity now” from Seinfeld to get in the right mood.


What and who inspires you?
Philip Taaffe was a huge early influence. I remember going to a show of his paintings in New York in the 80s and was blown away. Looking at them just made me happy, they were giant textile designs.

Of course vintage textile design is a big influence. I always loved Marimekko and Vera. I always look to Matisse and Picasso for color reference. I love the color and shapes in Diebenkorn and Hopper paintings.

In this modern day world of computer artists I am fascinated by Sarah Bagshaw. She  also seems to be drawn to simple shapes and opacities and how a slight change can give a piece a totally different look. I love her energy and fearlessness.

Would you please share some of your plans, hopes and dreams for your career as an artist?
I just want to keep learning more and more and trying to push myself out of my comfort zone. My goal has always been to only put work out there that I am happy with and that doesn’t happen that easily. I’m hoping that some day instead of reworking a piece 200 times maybe I’ll be happy after 80 or so reworkings.

You can also view (and purchase) Tina’s work on various products at her Society 6 shop, including art prints, bags, mugs, t-shirts, pillows, and even shower curtains and electronic device covers!

My new Calendars: Scandinavian Florals

I’ve been working on new calendars for my Etsy shop. It may be really early for this, but I didn’t want to miss the early birds who do their planning for next year some months ahead of time. And because we’re mid-way into 2015, I’m offering custom features, such as calendars with only the number of months you need (such as, for the remainder of 2015), 18-month calendars, and different languages. I also added a new perpetual planner to my shop. All calendars are printed with archival-quality ink (giclee-style) on 100 lb. cardstock.

This calendar is available as 5.5 x 8.5″, 8.5 x 11″, and 11 x 17″.
A perpetual planner for recurrent events.
2016 at a glance: double-sided, 6 months on each side.

New in my Etsy Shop!

I’ve been making a few new items for my Etsy shop, specifically for my tea towel and napkin section. They include tea towels with Herbie’s Green Oasis, my Eclectic Clock Collection, my pen-illustrated map of Vienna, and 3 colourways of my old-fashioned spoons on towels and napkins. Please come and have a look!

FABRIC GIVEAWAY for bloggers who sew!

I am excited to be offering an exchange of fabric for a feature of a finished garment or accessory made with my fabrics on your blog! One person gets selected, but I may contact others who are interested in the future for a similar project.

Requirements:
❤ You are proficient at sewing.
❤ You have a blog or website where you will publish photos of your finished project in action (i.e. modeled by a child).
❤ You love fabrics designed by Christine Witte.
❤ You will sew a project for children; a piece of clothing or accessory, as agreed on with me.

Enter by leaving me a comment here or on my Facebook page by June 9, 2015, midnight EST. Tell me what you would sew with my fabric and who you would make it for! The winner will be announced June 12, 2015.

You can view all my current repeat patterns here.

Pickles from the Old Garden

As mentioned the other day, I recently spent one month traveling, away from the computer and other equipment I use for my drawings. Anticipating withdrawal symptoms (from drawing, that is!), I brought along an old, heavy laptop with a very old version of Illustrator and my mouse. I thought, how bad could it be?

Well, let’s just say that drawing digitally while traveling felt very different to me from drawing at home. Being mobile every day and having a limited time to do travel-related things, I rarely had the sense of calm and focus as I have at home when drawing. And then there is nothing like a large screen, a scanner to scan sketches, and the Illustrator version I am used to. And a steady surface to place my mouse on. :) Needless to say, certain stylistic elements were out of the question (pen-drawings, textures).

I ended up making most of my design “Pickles from the Old Garden” in hotels and in airports at the end of my trip. Given all that, I was surprised that it ended up reaching #2 at Spoonflower’s pickle contest. This element of surprise is one of the wonderful things about these contests. Many thanks to anyone who voted for it. These are the fabric images:

This design is now available on various fabric types, wallpaper and gift wrap (click on any image).

Pillow by Carousel Designs

My pillow came in recently from Carousel Designs, printed with my design “Mojave Desert: Dusk & Dawn”. I’m impressed with the quality – it even has piping all around the sides. It’s nice to know that it was sewn in the USA. Thank you, Carousel Designs!

My latest fabric images: Islands & Bees

After a month of being on the road, I am back and now have some catching up to do. To my delight, my design “Islands of Hawaii: Flora & Fauna” won first place in Spoonflower’s island contest. It was dedicated to plant and animal life on the Hawaiian islands. Later in the bee contest, I was fortunate to place in the top 10 as well. Since I was unable to post anything while away, here are Spoonflower’s fabric images.

Dream Away on Sunny Days

Today I wanted to show my new design “Dream Away on Sunny Days”. By now I have three different versions: the first one I made a few weeks ago for Lilla Rogers’ MATS course as a 12 x 12″ scrap booking sheet. For the second version, I made some additions to fit it on an 8.5 x 11″ sheet that could double as an art print (with the bottom labels separated) and as scrap booking pieces. The third version I made for Spoonflower’s “flying machines” contest, for which I removed all lettering but “Dream Away” and made sure no panel looks as if designed to be written in; I added flowers and other little icons for this purpose. The title was inspired by a song by the amazing F.R. David’s song “Dream Away” – the music and his voice sound so airy and carefree, which in my mind matched my drawings so well. :)

I can’t share a fabric image this week, since I only made #13 in the contest (which is only fair, with my constant luck!). But I have this inkjet print out that I think is just as good.

Mojave Desert: Dusk & Dawn fabric image

This week’s results of the Spoonflower ‘South West’ contest took an unexpected turn when the winning design got removed and replaced with a different one. While copyright issues were the suspected cause elsewhere on the web, I will not speculate here and would rather congratulate Grace Design for being picked by Carousel Designs’ baby bedding line with her lovely dreamcatcher design.

I’m grateful to have made it to #3, which means I will receive a pillow printed with my design. Thank you so much to anyone voting for my Mojave desert. This is Spoonflower’s fabric image:

This design is now available on various types of fabric, two types of gift wrap and two types of wallpaper.

You can view all the top 10 here (vote tallies and the remaining 420 entrants have been removed since Spoonflower’s original posting).