When I was three, my parents packed my brother and I into our small red VW bug and took us to an apple orchard in Western Illinois. I distinctly remember my mom’s outfit. She wore a flouncy shirt tucked into high-waisted, dark denim jeans. The shirt had a small tight floral pattern on a navy background. Despite having been so young, I still retained snapshot images in my mind of the trip: sticky rotten apples below the trees, my mom’s wispy brown hair tucked behind her ear and under the bandana kerchief she kept wrapped around her head, AND that shirt, its pattern.
When I was 16, I had a favorite shirt, adopted from the racks of vintage baseball tees and 70s velour sweatshirts at the Thrift Town down the street from my high school. That shirt, long sleeved and polyester, had a navy paisley pattern and though not quite floral, it was reminiscent of the shirt my mom wore on that fall outing.
You may not consider fabric patterns to be tokens of nostalgia.
Memories, those deeply imbued memories, are often conjured by the senses. Smells! The smell of the chocolate chip cookies that Nanny baked every time we visited. The salty air of the ocean after a rainy morning. Taste. There’s nothing quite like bratwursts on a charcoal grill to evoke childhood birthday cookouts. Or give me irish stew and I’ll step back into my childhood kitchen on a winter evening. Even now, I can see the darkness of the backyard through that kitchen’s dutch door window. Or sounds! How Patsy Cline, in my mind’s ear, is so inextricably, and unexplainably, intertwined with thoughts of christmas tinsel and eggnog.
But the biggest waves of nostalgia come over me when I think about fabric.
Which may sounds strange, so let me rephrase. The biggest waves of nostalgia come over me when I think about the wood-paneled den of my childhood home. That den – my favorite room. The coziest of cozy places. It was tiny and wood paneled and dark. And what I remember most are the patterned fabrics: the tweed wall to wall carpeting, the tweed upholstered rocker in the corner, and the tweed couch. Yes, tweed, small narrow striped tweed, thick, prickly checkered tweed. Even today, if I see someone in a tweed jacket, my head feels warm. It simply conjures cozy and comforting memories of coloring books and crayons on the floor of that den.
Not just fabric but wallpaper also holds a strong place in my memory.
My childhood bedroom was wallpapered in a floral and butterfly repeat pattern, intricate and winding. I’d stay up on dusky summer evenings tracing the vines to each familiar butterfly. Now that I’m designing my own patterns and fabrics, I’m thinking back to those early impressions. Nostalgia is what I want most to invoke with the items I create. Memory makes every custom pet portrait so special. Each portrait recalls time with a beloved pet.
I want you to connect with the items I make.
This is why I’m so excited to finally be working on patterns. Patterns on fabric or paper exist in the background of your everyday, woven into your environment. With my new patterns, you’ll be able to create a nest with a cozy pug-patterned pillow on the couch. Or carry change to your favorite coffee shop in a fat cat zipper pouch.
Square pillows and pouches coming this October!
I started with the basics, a repeat floral with a furry creature, earlier this year. I created five patterns, but I decided to keep only a few of them. The pug fabric works really well on zipper pouches and provides a pleasant sage colored accessory for the couch when made into a larger throw pillow. The fat sitting cat pattern was a hit as a zipper pouch at craft fairs this summer. I’ll keep adding to these. I’ve been playing with the idea of coming out with a set of square pillows, or zipper pouches, or baby bibs, or maybe just yardage. For now, though, I’ll start with pillows and pouches.
I decided that I’ll release my first line of square throw pillows and pouches will come out officially this October! So now I’m getting to work finding the right pillow size and creating some more new patterns.
I can’t wait to show you. In the meantime stay tuned for sneak peeks of designs in process.