It is a very exciting process to develop these collections. There are so many things to consider when you assemble it all: the scale of the patterns, the colors, the "feel" of the collection, among many aspects. It is a big puzzle of colors and patterns, and I really enjoy solving it.
Today I wanted to show you some of the steps, so you can take part in the process, and see how Bella came to be. This is how I work:
My studio (and shop) is located in Brooklyn NY. This is where I create my patterns and motifs, make product samples, hold workshops, pen my books and this is also where I house my shop..open to the public.
I create my print designs by hand and by that I mean they are not created in a computer. I cut out out shapes in paper, I glue them on paper..experimenting with scale using my copy machine. I draw motifs with india ink..using brushes, or simply use my Pentel pens to create some designs. I love how tactile this process is...feeling the paper, cutting with scissors, getting sticky rubber cement on my fingers or finding them black from the inks. This is such an important aspect of my process. I truly love exploring with the materials and having that hand eye connection.
Next step is to meet up with the designers and good folks from Windham (we often do this in my studio over a cup of tea and some pie). Together we look through piles and piles of designs that I have created (all in back and white at this point) - usually some of the designs sort of "pop out" of the piles and appeal to us. We start picking our favorites and finding patterns that work well together. What we have to consider at this point is how all the designs harmonize together and make for a complete collection. Shapes and scale of the patterns is what we focus on at this point. Once we are done with that I start picking colors for each of the patterns. I send all my color suggestions of to Windham to review.
Windham creates color prints in paper out of all of the suggestions and together we mix and match the different designs in different colors: "Does this design work better as a pink design or a brown design?" "Does this pattern need to be darker?" We also have to make sure that all the colors makes sense together..and that they can be combined with each other. This part of the process can sometimes be a little tricky; hard to strike the right balance..and sometimes it is super easy to pick colors. It is funny how that goes...you never know how hard or easy it will be to do this, but in the end, we always find the right combination. Next step is for me to decide names of all the patterns and hand write them to be printed on the selvedge of the fabric.
After we are done with color choices Windham creates a strike off..the first set of printed tests on the actual fabric. This is a very exciting step of the process, this is where you can feel the fabric and start visualizing the fabrics being made into all kinds of products. This is also my last chance to make any changes to the colors, if at all..a rather important step. Once all is approved, the fabrics go into production in Korea. Yeah! Bella turned out to be a bright, modern and sunny collection, with bold and simple designs. I can imagine so many different things that can be made out of these fabrics, perfect for home accessories, sweet dresses and creative quilts.
At the moment I am getting ready to make a catalog for the collection. I plan the photo shoot, (taking place in a few days from now) plan and coordinate sample making and the styling. I like to sketch everything out on paper so I have a visual log of everything and all the shots. This is a very fun stage and I work together with a great team of tailors, photographers and graphic designers..I sort of art direct the whole thing. I really enjoy creating catalogs and marketing materials. I like to tell the stories and share my creative eye and vision..the last steps of creating this collection.
Soon Bella will be on the market and in your hands and I am very excited to see what YOU will create and make out of my fabrics. It is such a great thrill to see all of your work , so many different styles, so many different projects. You are a great inspiration to me. Thank You all and I hope you enjoy my Bella.
The Bella collection will be available in stores in August 2012. Please visit my website www.jansdotter.com to learn more about what I do.