Thursday, April 17, 2014

A little secret about being an artist...

People really liked my first fabric, Collage, for Windham Fabrics–like in a totally surprising way–as in: it performed better than anyone expected including Windham. I had never designed fabric before that and so I just flew by the seat of my pants and enjoyed myself immensely as I created that first line.

So then it was time to design the second line and all of a sudden I was mildly nervous–the pressure was on. The Sophomore effort is always loaded with expectation. And you know I am a total fan of Beginner's Mind (read my writing about that here). I like being a beginner because then I can just play and be free with no expectation.

But now I had it in my mind that all those people liked what I was doing and I certainly (and for many reasons) didn't want to disappoint everybody or myself.

I still enjoyed the work as I created the collection last September, but it was harder. I needed to burn more sage, eat more chocolate and turn my music up louder to get out of my head than the time before. It took longer. I knew more and had more ideas to choose from.

When I was finished, I shipped the collection to Windham...and their response was...well, umm...hmmm....lukewarm.  Crap! Now what? Many artists would have thought, "Well, they don't know what they are talking about. They just don't get it." There was a tiny part of me that even thought that. But not really. Because here is the great secret about being an artist: your audience will feel and see what you put into your work. If you are afraid as you work, they will feel your fear. If you are timid or trepidatious, they will feel that. If you are ecstatic and powerful, they will feel that. They will feel your joy, your love, your shame. Art is a mirror of the soul, whether you are painting a masterpiece or designing textiles, it is all the same. It is a self-portrait. It is a reflection of all that you are in that moment. And not only that, but the deeper you dive into yourself, the more deeply you connect to all of humanity. And not only that, but people are astonishing–if you think you can slide your fear by can't. If you think people aren't sensitive and in-touch, you are wrong. You don't need to be a PhD or a psychologist to know the human heart. We can all see each other pretty well, if we have removed the webs that separate us from each other: ego, shame, pride, fear, inadequacy, etc.

So, Windham asked me, "What is this collection about?" And I said, "It's about counting your blessings...knowing the gifts you possess...being grateful for the treasures in your soul and the gifts all around you in your life.".............Crickets............ Seriously, they had nothing to say. And not in a mean way–more in a contemplative, dumbfounded way, as in: "how the hell are we going to market that?"

They said they'd like for me to keep working. And that was the greatest gift. I just accepted their gift (after a week or two of agonizing and being mildly tormented) and then got back to work. Because there were a few prints I had left behind...even though they were always on my list, I had run out of time. Now I had a second chance to finish and include them.

So I made the Paintbrush print. Because anyone who knows anything about selling anything knows that you can't sell something if it doesn't have a good story. When I presented the collection the first time, the story was ephemeral and spiritual and kinda vague. But after their gift of time, I had a much more clear vision. And that vision was the same as my tagline: Celebrate Your Inner Artist!™. So I did. THANK YOU, WINDHAM, for your vision. I am absolutely in love with the PAINT Collection and it is because Windham held my hand and gave me time.

In the end we only removed two original prints from the line and we only added two additional prints to the line. But just that subtle shift changed it completely. I will share here a tiny bit of the Soul Treasures print we didn't use...I still like it...maybe we will see it again one day. And the truth is, my values, my spirituality and all that stuff shows up in my fabric and in everything I do whether I name it directly or not. It is who I am. Art is a mirror.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Day 8 :: Shelly Figueroa & Bonnie Bobman

Last day of our PAINT party...sigh. It has been so fun. Thanks for joining us and playing along.

First up–Shelly know...of Figgy's? She just has an eye. Her children's sewing patterns are wildly sophisticated and savvy, yet really friendly to sew. And she is such a warm and lovely woman. Also, you want to learn a thing or two about branding and telling a good and compelling brand story? Look at her website. Her photography, the styling, the models, the patterns, EVERYTHING about her site is spot-on and gorgeous.

I absolutely love what she chose to sew with PAINT. She made her Ethereal Dress in my Color Wheel print with a ruffle in the Swatches print. It just rocks. See?

I know. (Amazing. Thank you, Shelly!) Enter her giveaway HERE to win a charm pack of PAINT fabric for yourself!

And our last formal stop on the blog hop brings us to the spunky, talented and joyful Bonnie Bobman of Fabrications2b. She is a local. We had a chance to meet at a sewing party to make samples with PAINT and I just love her. She went home after helping to make aprons and totes and her engine kept running! She has made so many fun, creative projects with PAINT including this rather perfect yoga sling (yes, Bonnie, I would most definitely like one!)...

...and these amazing knitting totes that allow you to see everything inside through a clear front which I love...

...go check out her blog HERE to enter the giveaway and get some PAINT to play with.

Oh, and there is one more creation I'd like to share. My mom made this romper for my niece, baby Camille, in my Lotus print and I am in love! My mom doesn't even really sew much but she made this little thing so fast...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Day 7 :: Karen LePage & Tia Curtis

Karen LePage is a wise, soulful friend and I cherish her. She's the one I hang out with after a long day at Quilt Market, eating ice cream by the fire pit with our shoes off.

She is a shoes-off type of a person. I feel really good around her beaming, grounded energy. And she is a super talented seamstress. Is that OK to say? Is that a bad word now, like waitress? Should I call her a stitch server? How about Sewing Ninja Princess or Awesomeness? She's more like a magician than anything– turning ordinary quilting cotton into this smooth, drapey substance that looks like high fashion couture.

So she made this dress in my fun Paintbrush print and although I wouldn't normally wear a dress with huge paintbrushes, I am rather in love with it. Mainly because of her construction and technique. It fits perfectly. Every detail. The drape! She used the Simone Dress pattern from Victory Patterns and well...anyway...just look.... go enter the giveaway on her blog HERE to win some PAINT of your own!

The back!!!
Next up is Tia Curtis, whom (I am nearly 100% sure) doesn't sleep. Or maybe she does, but with her eyes open and while quilting. Because in the same two weeks that everyone else had, she made an eight foot square quilt, a three foot square quilt, and an amazing paintbrush holder thingy! And she is a good mom and I know because I can feel that just standing near her AND she tends to her flock of chickens and who knows what else she does. She puts her heart and beautiful soul into her work. Check it out so you can ooh and aaah like everyone else has been doing. Her quilts blur the distinctions between traditional and modern. Click HERE to read all about her process on her blog and enter her giveaway to win some fabric.  Just look:

Such a cool paintbrush holder and carrier! 
Tia's Cross and Crown quilt!
In love with this needle-turned appliqué loveliness.

Day 6 :: Rachael Gander & Erica Sage

Wow, so exciting to share these amazing designers with you every day!

My first blog crushes, way back when I started learning to sew (ah hem...five years ago!) were Erica Sage of Craftyblossom and Ayumi Takahashi of Pink Penguin. I used to stay awake late at night, pregnant with my baby girl, pouring through sewing blogs as though they were the most fascinating thing on earth. Something about seeing these cool women sewing cool sh*t in our modern world felt so right and so soothing to me. It felt like a really big conversation and all I knew was that I wanted to be a part of it because it felt so good.

So I learned to sew. And I started my own blog. It felt like that modern craft conversation had the momentum, energy and intrigue of some early twentieth century art movement...and it still does. I felt like I was on the ground-floor of say, the Post-Impressionists in Paris, 1910...but instead of wandering around bars in Paris and discussing big ideas of art and life in a drunken state, we were trolling craft blogs in our pajamas after our kids went to bed, rewriting the role of sewing and the handmade in our techno world.

Instead of being about darning, patching or even constructing garments, the modern sewing movement is an ancestral urge to CREATE: as in in in in in we-are-sewing-to heal-the-world-creating. This is big stuff. And it is an honor to be a tiny voice and part of that conversation.

Back to Erica from Craftyblossom....Oh, the lovely, refined modern-ness of her spare and fresh approach to quilting. When I fell in love with her blog, I pictured her as the hippest of hipsters...those people who just have their finger on the pulse of the moment–the zeitgeist. She is very talented. Eventually, blog comments connected us and now we are blog friends. I am grateful and honored she took time to sew this for me....go enter her giveaway HERE to win some PAINT of your own!

from Erica of Craftyblossom
Also today, I am thrilled to feature another radical sewinista, Rachael Gander of Imagine Gnats. You no doubt already know her, because she has quite a following! And she is lovely and kind and we also becomes friends through the industry. She offered to sew one of her cute Bess Tops for me and I got to pick the fabric! It is fun to pick fabric for this shirt because you get to tell your story through color. I chose my Painted Solid in the Spackle color way for the body and the shoulder details has Staggered Newsprint strips in Coral. I hope you can see from my smile below how comfortable I feel in this wearable and chic shirt! It is so flattering and the drape is perfect. But the best part is hidden: Rachael embroidered a tiny paintbrush onto a tag for the neckline since she was sewing with my PAINT collection for Windham Fabrics. Thank you, Rachael! Go enter her giveaway here to win some PAINT of your own! 

Below is her new Alder skirt comfortable and the pockets are fun.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Day 5 of the blog party!

Party on, people! Today we get to see the super-cute and practical Chunky Wee Bag (in two sizes) by Sam Hunter of Hunter's Design Studio. (Go enter her giveaway HERE to win some PAINT!)  It is the perfect bag for a little girl because it is sort of grown up in its construction (it's durable and made really well) yet the fabric makes it playful and a great treasure collecting bag...see?

Sam chose my Weave print for her bags and I think it looks just amazing. That print is one of my favorites. The weave pattern goes all the way to one selvage, but then it is raw and ragged at the other selvage and it floats on a periwinkle background. I just love making something from nothing. This print showcases recycling. The texture created by what is essentially trash (trash and paper) becomes rather chic and elegant.

The Weave print from my PAINT Collection for Windham Fabrics.
Thank you, Sam! The model loves it! I had to pry it from her fingers for the photo shoot....speaking of the photo shoot...

The adorable Chunky Wee Bag from Hunter's Design Studio!
My photographer, Jill McNamara, amazes me every. single. time. Jill studied photojournalism (a fact I just learned a few months ago after many, many shoots with her–she has done all of my photography for four years for my brand and my family). But once I learned that fact about her, everything made sense. Before that point I couldn't figure out how there was so much magic in her camera and in her eyes. But now I know that it is not only just magic, but also lots of learned skills and techniques and probably countless hours of Photography Theory and hours and hours of composition and studying light. And most importantly, Jill knows what to look at and how to look at her subject. She is just amazing. So, if you are in the Phoenix, Arizona area and find yourself in need of a photographer for your family pictures, portraits, head shots or brand photography, click over to her website HERE and give her a shout!

Also, Staci Barrett from A Vintage Fairytale made the cutest little quilted bag ever. Ever! I sent her scraps for a prayer flag request (more on that later) and not only did she make an amazing prayer flag with a little patchwork house, but she also made the bag. Thank you, Staci! Click on over to her blog HERE to enter her giveaway...

Day 4 :: Ramona Burke & Jenny Kelly

Are we having fun yet!?! I love sharing these amazing designers with you. Today, I am excited to shear the wonderful creations of Ramona and Jenny.

Ramona is the poster child for the badass, L.A. modern sewinista. She is crazy-prolific, super smart (think Yale grad) and she manages to get a shocking amount done with her three beautiful kids in tow.

omg. Are you kidding me? Amazing picture. That is Ramona's very own pattern for the adorable BoPeep dress which is now available on Craftsy  HERE.

She also made the most rad, apron-like wrap dress using my Paintbrush and Swatch prints. IN LOVE with those big buttons.  She based her design on a vintage McCall's dress. Click HERE to go read more and enter her giveaway to wim some PAINT fabric of your own!

Next up is Jenny Kelly. We randomly met at a Blog Her convention in San Diego a few years ago and quickly realized that we lived a few miles apart in Arizona! Weirdly, she ended up being my daughter's music teacher a year later. Jenny has many talents. Her sewn designs are always fresh, intelligent, and cool.

About this quilt: Jenny's daughter, Gracie, "is collecting quilts to donate to Phoenix Children’s Hospital for her Mitzvah Project and I promised I’d make her the first quilt if she picked out a pattern. I made a simple quilt modeled after Pippa Quilts Sidewalk Quilt." Click on over to her site HERE to enter her  PAINT giveaway!

Jenny's pixelated quilt 

Look at them all! Quite a photo shoot...

Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 3 :: Shea Henderson

The PAINT party is in full swing. Today, I am happy to share one of my dear friends, Shea Henderson. She created this eye-catching bold and graphic quilt using a soon-to-be released Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio pattern, called Parallels. Parallels will be printed as a pattern book, full of six different quilt designs (each in sizes baby to king!) based on parallelograms. It was designed by Elizabeth Ancell

Shea used my Newsprint (which we re-released in three new colors!!!!) and blended it with my new Painted Solid in Inky colorway. Shea just has an amazing eye for color and appealing designs.

Also, Shea has a book coming out in September and you are going to want at least two or three copies because it will be the perfect gift sewing book for beginners!

Head on over to Shea's blog HERE to enter her giveaway to win some PAINT! And a big thanks to Shea's mom for quilting this baby quilt lickety-split!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

PAINT PARTY :: DAY 2 :: Julie Goldin and Sally Keller

Here is the PAINT collection! In stores July 2014.
Day 2 of the PAINT party. Today, I am going to let you in on one aspect of my design process–the complete and total surrendering of control.

I am in recovery from control. I used to be super-controlling...seriously. I was a white-knuckler. I thought that the more stuff I could control, the greater the outcome would be. But life had other plans for me, thank goodness. Control is just a tool we use to treat our anxiety and existential dis-ease. When we don't have answers to some of the big, profound questions in life, we control the outcome of all the small sh*t. And it becomes addictive. It makes us feel better and soothed. And, at the same time, it is completely exhausting because we run around like this: "I'm good enough, see? See how great I am at all this? Look at how I know what I'm doing. Look at how perfect I am...see?"  We begin to perfect everything in an attempt to show the outside world how completely awesome we are. But on the inside, we are just overwhelmingly uncomfortable with how imperfect we are–how messy, human, changeable, and scared we are–how terrified we are of everything and of life itself. So we control. But we aren't in control anyway. It is all an illusion. We use control to self-medicate. If we think we are the one in control, then that places us higher than things like: nature, science, serendipity, god, synchronicity, poetry, divinity, wonder and magic. And that sucks. Because then we aren't open to all of that wonderful stuff.   

So, YAY for a life's work of spiritual discovery and therapy, because that controlling part of me left the building about 5 years ago. She's gone. She pops up now and then to say hi...but I recognize her and I treat her gently...and then she leaves. 

That controlling part of me would have messed up this whole fabric design/production gig for me. But the person I am now is having a total blast! I enjoy the process and my relationships in my personal and work life because I am enjoying the ride. I trust my tribe to know what to do...not only that, but to know so much more than me. I am surround by beauty, talent, love and expertise. I don't want to to go mucking with that!

The team at Windham Fabrics–on every level of the company–is amazing. They all know how to make, design, create, produce, sell and distribute fabric. I don't. So I just trust them. All of them...whether they are producing the catalog, selling the line, or interpreting the art. They just know. All I do is send them the art part. It becomes like a mind-meld at a certain point–for example: the woman who interprets my art, Rosemarie. She receives my raw art...and she makes it into a repeated graphic file for fabric. I don't have much input in that process because she doesn't need it. And I am always amazed by how she GETS IT!

And so it is with the dazzling array of my talented artist/designer/sewinista friends. I don't tell them what samples I want or need. I ask them to Celebrate Your Inner Artist™. 

I consult my tribe. The incredible women of my tribe move mountains to get their creations into me on time for the photo shoot.  And then all that gorgeous stuff zooms to my studio and I am stunned each time I open every package. I see beauty and love in every box–the beauty and love of friendship, kindness & support, and of human creativity and ingenuity. People are thrilling and astonishing and magical to me. People are so talented and blindingly creative. All I do is get out of their way and offer them some fabric...they make the magic.

Today, brings us to the work of two beautiful women...two totally different quilts made with love.
The first is Julie Goldin (chickenjulie on Flickr and Instagram). She just has an innate eye for color, composition and intricate design. This year she made this stunner:  

Quilt pieced and quilted by Jules Goldin using Stacked Squares Quilt pattern designed by Erica Jackman.
Then Sally Keller celebrated her inner artist in the most splendid, creative collage-y way with a tire swing and flowers she fussy-cut from my Lotus print and a tree!!! Amazing.

Sally Keller, Summertime quilt, Instructions available on her blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Time for a PAINT party!

Yay! So excited to finally share my next fabric collection, PAINT, for Windham Fabrics with you. As a designer apparently you just learn to sit on your hands and endure the waiting. I designed this line in September and sent it to Windham. We had some back and forth and it was done by October. And ever since I have waited as we go through the process of strike-off's and color correcting and then ultimately they send me fabric.

I'll let you in on some insider secrets during this week-long blog party and I'll share the work of 15 of my crazy talented designer friends who sewed shockingly fab projects with PAINT. I'll link to their sites each day. Most days there are two designers so make sure to leave a comment on both of their sites! Leave a comment to be entered to win a charm pack of PAINT for yourself!

April 9 April Rhodes
April 10 Sally Keller + Julie Goldin
April 11 Shea Henderson
April 12 Ramona Burke + Jenny Kelly
April 13 Sam Hunter + A Vintage Fairytale (Staci Barrett)
April 14 Rachael Gander + Erica Sage
April 15 Karen LePage + Tia Curtis
April 16 Shelly Figueroa + Fabrications2b (Bonnie Bobman)

About PAINT:
PAINT is now selling to shops so tell your favorite local shop to place an order with their Windham rep. The line ships to stores in July/August.

"The PAINT collection celebrates creativity and expression. As a creativity enabler, Carrie intends to help you Celebrate your inner artist™! The collection includes bold, playful prints inspired by a painter’s tools. Color wheels, paint swatches, paint brushes and other collaged images create an artful pastiche of sewing possibility. Carrie loves to make something from nothing. She showcases up-cycling and recycling by creating her imagery from brown paper bags, paint swatches and colorful newsprint. PAINT tells the truly inspiring story of stepping into a creative life. Additionally, we are pleased to rerelease her wildly popular Newsprint in three color ways."

Our first featured designer of the blog party is April Rhodes. Lovely April is known for her simple, elegant sewing patterns for chic, easy garments like the Riding Peplum she made with my Weave print. It is stunning and flattering and so easy to wear with skinny jeans! LEAVE A COMMENT APRIL'S Facebook page HERE TO BE ENTERED TO WIN ASOME PAINT FABRIC!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Introducing the PAINT collection

The lookbook is here...the lookbook is here! Gawd, I hate waiting to share my creations with the world for months on end...but the wait is over. Woot!

This week marks the beginning of our blog party to celebrate all the amazingly talented designer friends who, in lightning speed, whipped out samples with my newest fabric, PAINT, for Windham Fabrics. I am so excited to share the line with the world.  Over the next week, I will share all the fab projects and give you some of the back story about how my second fabric collection came into being. The whole line is about what my brand is all about and even my tagline: Celebrate Your Inner Artist!™

In the meantime, click here to go see the lookbook–the virtual online catalog of PAINT! Stay tuned this week for lots of fun and fabric and book giveaways. Follow along on Facebook here and Instagram here. I just love a good party. :)

World, meet PAINT!