“Hey, nice bag!” says kind stranger.
“Thanks!” says proud owner.
“Where did you buy it?”
“Oh, I made it…” proud maker says, blushing.
“Oh, no way! I really like the fabric! Where did you get it?”
Here’s where I’ve always wanted to say,“Oh, yeah, I made this fabric.” Well, wish granted!! I have, literally, CREATED MY OWN FABRIC! The exciting story about how this came to be is as follows.
So. When I was at Purl Soho (which is just straight up ridiculous, by the way, have you been to that place?) back in February, I found this book which inspired the emotions on the right:
If you’re unfamiliar with Heather Ross, you are (like I was only a few months ago) living in a world of boring fabric designs.
Not only are her prints rich in color, but they incorporate original drawings and artwork that evoke happy nostalgia. I am particularly drawn to how she combines hand-drawn art and Photoshop… and ever since I discovered this book, I have been DYING to dive into this challenge:
And challenge it was: Several really ambitious artistic endeavors all wrapped into one.
First: Decide to draw the chicken.
Choosing my subject was actually a piece ‘o cake. Meet Maude.
I found this card in probably 2005 at 16 Hands when it was on Main Street in Ann Arbor. (Note: I have since tried to get more of them, but it doesn’t seem they are making them anymore!) And, since Maude has made her way with me to all of my various homes, front and center on my wall, and she ALWAYS manages to make me chuckle… I decided it was time to pay homage to her and her foam yoga mat.
What is it about her that is so captivating? I mean, she not only asks us a good question around life and work ethic, but she also exudes personality. Something about the way her little plastic chicken legs angle in towards each other, or how one eyeball is just a tiny bit larger, or the fact that somehow her little plastic hip juts out to one side ever so slightly… Sass and angst all wrapped up into one plastic chicken.
Maude, you are my hero.
Second: Draw the chicken.
Wow. I guess I hadn’t drawn in a while. She’s not only complex in her emotions, but Maude is difficult to duplicate. Truly a rare bird.
Third: Photoshop the chicken.
So here’s where my fabulous Photoshop training came into use! I got down and dirty with the polygons, the command T function, the marquee tool, and I got up close and personal with Maude, pixel by pixel.
After some deliberation, I decided on a chevron pattern and tried to stick to the original color palette as much as possible, in order to honor the original card.
Here are some thrilling screen shots of the process:
Fourth: Print the chicken.
Do you know about Spoonflower? WOW. I have known about them for a little while now; I follow them on Instagram, and my friend Susannah has printed fabric with them before. But now, I truly am a believer. Essentially, you upload a JPEG file and they PRINT FABRIC WITH YOUR DESIGN ON IT. That’s it! So simple.
Here’s the process (Captured in a mere three photos!)
And now… I await my yard of “Maude the Yogi” fabric! So exciting! What should I make with it? Leave me a comment below if you have an idea!