Today, we are super excited to have Amanda Murphy sharing with us a little about her new Christmas Collection for Blend Fabrics, Holiday Bouquet! We recently got these prints into the shop and I was just SO happy to see a classically styled, modern arrangement of Christmas fabrics that just seems perfect for all that handmade holiday décor! So now, without further adieu...I present to you a little get to know time with Amanda Murphy!
Cabbage Rose: Share with us a little about your design process and what makes you tick creatively!
Amanda Murphy: I think about a collection a lot before I actually draw it out. I draw upon different imagery, mostly from the decorative arts and the natural world. Then I do some rough pencil sketches before scanning them into the computer and refining them. I do all coloring on the computer, although I usually have the idea for a palette when I start the collection. I do lots of color variations to finalize placement and make sure I have a balance of dark, medium, and light tones. I might draw up to 20 different prints for a collection, although only a portion of these get used. Also, I usually have some quilt designs in mind as I draw, and that influences the scale and style of the prints.
AM: I always loved textile design, although I went to school for industrial design. The mixture of art and math in both these disciplines appeals to me. And yes, but I only discovered quilting as an adult. As for how I got into the industry, I sent a portfolio to fabric companies and was fortunate enough to have some call me that. My pattern line grew out of my first fabric lines and my books developed from there.
CR: We LOVE your new Christmas Collection, Holiday Bouquet! It's a great blend of classic and modern elements! Is designing for the holidays more fun or more challenging than a typical collection?
AM: Thanks! It was fun to design. I love the holidays so much that my first book, Modern Holiday, is centered upon them. I wanted to do a collection that was both a little traditional and a little sophisticated with a modern touch. And I wanted all the prints to be fun to quilt!
CR: I especially love the trees and ornaments in this collection! Where they inspired by anything? How do you like to decorate your Christmas tree?
AM: Can you believe that, ironically, we hardly decorated at all this year (except for the tree) because all of the Christmas quilts and projects were still at C&T Publishing! I was the proud owner of 20+ Christmas projects with nothing to hang or decorate with. Our tree right now is dark green with turquoise, green, white and red accents. It looks like it stepped out of the book, which is no surprise.
CR: What's the one handmade Christmas decoration no home should be without?AM: Stockings! Or maybe a TREE SKIRT *(oh hey! we have a CLASS FOR THAT!!)
CR: What are you listening to while sewing these days? Or are you a sew in silence type of gal?
AM: I listen to Podcasts. I’m a big fan of This American Life. I also love Planet Money and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, although I'm awful at word games so I hardly ever know the answers to any of the questions! I also listen a lot of books on tape. I love history and biographies.
CR: You've designed fabric, quilts, written patterns and books...any new ventures for you on the horizon?
AM: Yes, and I’m so excited but I can’t talk about that quite yet! Ask me in a couple of months!
CR: We LOVE that you point folks to try LOCAL SHOPS first before they shop from you directly! Since this is Independent Retailer Month, can share why shopping independent/local is important to you?
AM: I do feel very strongly about supporting local shops. I think the local shops are the backbone of this industry. They are where a lot of people learn how to quilt - I learned to quilt at a shop and my local shop support has been really important for me as I grow my business in this industry. Shops are where we learn new techniques and they are one place we can all go to form new friendships. (One can always find something in common with a fellow quilter, no matter their background.) We need our shops to keep this industry as healthy and vibrant as it has been for the past couple of decades.
And local shops provide us with an opportunity to see all those beautiful collections first hand!
THANKS SO MUCH AMANDA!! We're just loving these fabrics and can't wait to start decorating for Christmas with them! What will you create for this holiday season?
*Hint: Make drawstring bags for wrapping gifts!