What a thrill to CQA/ACC when we heard that a fabric designer was going to have a booth at Quilt Canada 2016! We were able to grab a few minutes of Tamara Kate's time to find out a little more about this extraordinary woman! You are going to want to read to the end to find out some very exciting news for those attending Quilt Canada 2016!
Tamara Kate is a licensed fabric designer with Michael Miller Fabrics. She is selling fabrics from all 7 of her collections, as well as copies of her 2 just-released adult colouring books. Come peek into her world of colour and pattern. (Booth 148a)
Tell us a little about yourself?
I have been designing fabric for 3 years now with Michael Miller Fabrics, with the last, Nature Walk, having come out a few months ago. Two colouring books that I illustrated last fall have just been published, and should hopefully soon be available in Canada. I also recently teamed up with Janome Canada to design the logo for a sewing tote collection. It’s a set of luggage to carry your sewing machine and accessories with you in safety and style.
Do you quilt?
Yes, I have been quilting for the past 3 years. Whether making quilts to help market my fabric collections, for corporate clients or for my family and friends, I almost always design my own. I strive to emphasize colour above all, keeping things on the simpler, more modern side. I started by hand quilting (which I still love, but don’t seem to find the time to do lately) and then gathered the courage to tackle machine quilting once I got my hands on a fantastic Janome machine. I am a walking foot girl to the core.
Big & Juicy
us a tiny glimpse into the world of a Canadian fabric designer?
While not exactly what I would consider glamorous, for me it was and is truly a dream job. Each collection can take quite a bit of time to create and I tend to jump around a bit in terms of how I create designs. My very first collection, Flight Patterns, was a watercolour one, then I created a few that were entirely computer generated. Now I am back to the watercolour though, and loving working by hand again.
Once I have, what I feel is a balanced collection of prints (variety of scale, direction, some geometrics, some more linear prints, etc) I pitch different colour options that Michael Miller then sends to the mill half-way around the world to do some test prints (strike offs). We go back and forth (hopefully not more than twice) tweaking things here, trying different variations there, and hopefully you, the quilter end up with something you will love working with in the end. The entire process, from when I start designing to when the fabrics are available in stores can take about a year.
Like my quilting, my design work is largely about colour, which I adore. I try to evoke happy, youthful feelings in my work, while telling a story (without necessarily always being geared toward children).
Picking a favourite collection… well, you know that’s like asking me my favourite colour or child… next to impossible. I suppose the last is usually my favourite, as it is still fresh for me. In this case, Nature Walk, a collection based on my weekend wanderings with my family has a lovely light, etherial quality, and as is the case with many of my collections, emphasizes little flying creatures (the happy ones, that is).
What’s next on the horizon for you?
In the past year, I have been branching out to other licensing opportunities. This means that my designs will be available on other fun products. A few examples are: I have a line of bath accessories (shower curtains and all those cups and dishes we love) that will soon be available in the US & Canada, a line of dishes should be coming up at some point next year and I have been working hard on a whole range of colour-your-own stationary products that are offshoots from my colouring books. Of course I will continue designing fabric, working on my next collection this summer.
What is your favourite food?
Thank you Tamara! Can't wait to meet you in your booth, now here is the exciting part that Tamara just unveiled:
There will be a daily draw for a limited edition Tamara Kate tote bag, part of the brand new "Whatever the Weather" bags created by Tamara for Blue Fig's popular designer series of sewing totes. The collection is designed for sewists on the go, and is suited for multiple brands and sizes of machines, sewing accessories, threads and project supplies. See the collection at both Tamara's and the Janome booth. Enter to win daily at Tamara's booth, 148a.