Happy Monday, everyone! I am very excited to be hosting today's stop on the Sew Tina! blog tour. (For the full tour schedule, see here.) Sew Tina! is the new book by designer Tina Givens, known by many for her fabric collections (including her newest line, Opal Owl) and her sewing patterns.
I had the pleasure of meeting Tina at Quilt Market in Minneapolis last Spring, and was pleasantly surprised to hear that she lives right here in Raleigh, NC, with me! (Well, she doesn't live with me, but you know what I mean.) Tina was very gracious in answering my questions about her newest endeavor, and I know you will enjoy the brief interview below.
Tina was also very gracious in offering a giveaway prize to one lucky reader. The Tina Givens prize pack pictured below includes a copy of the book, 4 yards (!) of Tina's fabric with which to make some of the book's fabulous projects, 2 boxes of stationery, and 2 bonus sewing patterns.
Sound good? Details for entering the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.
Yes but never thought it would be a project book for anything including sewing projects. I thought I'd write a crazy novella or short story genius... even though I never excelled in writing... Anyway, but thought I'd do something in print! I am thrilled about this book though it was an enormous journey for me and a growth experience.....
Who did you have in mind as your audience as you were writing Sew Tina? Who will this book appeal to?
Oh the book will appeal to anyone who sews or who is learning to sew, and anyone who wants to sew something for children.... it's also a sort of remin der to stitchers everywhere, to relax and live with the mistakes you make in the project. I havea non-traditional sort of relaxed take on sewing because of time, energy, and a no worries attitude... just sew because you enjoy it and you're making something special and fun for someone you love....
Your book has a primary focus on projects for children. Are you especially inspired by children? Why are these types of projects your favorite to make & design?
I seem to gravitate to children for their playfulness, innocence and freedom of speech..... lol, my kids say the cutest things and they are honest and truthful.... Their energy inspires me too which seems to translate into full, swingy pieces with energy and color. I love to paint my little creatures for kids too, a few of which are in the book... bunnies and race cars, little crowned chics and everything crazy like a hippo on a unicycle. Happy imagery.... I do create for adults too, but this was a nice first... maybe adult things would be next... we shall see....
Is there a particular project in the book that you would say is representative of the overall feel of the book? Which one? Which is your favorite? And which one(s) are geared towards beginning sewists?
The Moses basket and canopy perhaps.... because it's beautiful and it's fun. A twist off the original rattan basket lined in fabric... the whole basket is made of your favorite fabric for the little bundle of life and love. The canopy because it is magical and can be made for any kid any age.... my 8 year old has one in her room! Don't just hang it over the baby on the changing table, bassinet, moses basket or crib, but make it a tea tent for kids to have a tea party within ~ on cushions of course! I have many other favorites of course! Are they representative of the book? Maybe with their simple make-anything you desire attitude... it's magical but yet doable! yes it's simple and beautiful ~ you'll be so proud. For the bigger kids start with the Zig Zag dress, craft apron and the beret.... The sewing techniques are simple, truly, just follow the directions and the illustrations will guide you. Don't be intimidated by any project in this book...
Anything is doable for a beginning sewer in this book. However start small and grow from there.... the booties, the hats, then make the canopy...
I am sure eclectic comes to mind for most people. I seem to fuse many different techniques from hand drawn, hand watercolored art; I inject a little detailed ink into some works, and then meld everything using technology. Then begin injecting the pieces with unique color combinations.... each collection always begins with the first color palette whatever that may be for the collection itself. Then I develop the next 3 or 4 palettes that seem to create a whole new look but being careful not to deviate from the original story. I am not a perfectionist thank goodness or I would never get a collection out the door, it's too complicated and detailed to second guess... at some point you have to say, ok it's done. And I do get to that point eventually. Inspiration is pulled from a childhood spent in Africa within a creative and big family, to a cultural change in Northern American society to my current life with friends, children, travel and everything I read and see. I appreciate both modern, vintage and some traditional design so it all seems to combine into one big concoction in my mind that somehow translates in some form....
What is your design process like? Are your designs completely hand-painted before you take them to the computer?
I begin with an idea and can be inspired by many things... but it starts eventually with one idea. I am starting a new collection and it's beginning with a childhood book I used to read and reread with passion... I just reacquired the book after years and years (I last saw the book at the age of about 9) and was amazed at the watercolor illustration and the story (including a sewing machine and a magic dress!!!). It's amazing w hat our mind remembers without us even knowing it.... So then I start sketching in pencil and a few specifics start to form. I then start to paint the different pieces, and some I use together and some are strong enough to stand on their own. I begin scanning into the computer system and the design process begins. I build the patterns and repeats and get to a point where I have to reduce the paint chip colors. This was the toughest part for me for a long time. Reducing the color from thousands of colors to within the print screening limitation of a maximum of 16 colors. That's it... and for other fabric types like laminate and linen it's less than that.... This is tough for me because when I paint in watercolor I build a transition in color and shade to create depth in my subjects. That means there's many different 'pinks' for instance, and then we must reduce those colors without losing the depth. Sometimes it just simply doesn't work and I have to try something else. Adding a layer of ink, outline a piece, add a color... or begin again with that particular print. . In some cases I am immediately pleased.... and in some cases I am horrified.... and we have to tweak color, depth, and so on. It's a long process and I do enjoy it.
The process after that is tedious and takes weeks and weeks to get back in 'strike-off' form which is like a proof of the textile. It is returned once the mill engraves the design, prints with the specified color chips which I detail, in fabric form
Can you tell us a little bit about your adorable new line, Opal Owl? It seems that the fabric line and the book will complement one another nicely. Would you agree?
Oh, I never thought about that... yes, I think so actually. When I released Opal Owl at the quilt market we re-created all the pieces in the book including the Moses basket in the new collection. And everything turned out beautiful... so I am ecstatic that the timing for this flavorful, kid oriented collection is now available at the same time as the book. In fact we are working on images to display on out site to encourage the use of Opal Owl because the projects looks so great. And the fact that there's a soft book panel in Opal Owl telling a story of friendship also encourages making for little ones... big yeah!
What's next for Tina Givens?
Well, I am working on that new fabric collection (working title: Miss. Z.), I am playing with a Christmas collection because I am working with Department 56 in creating 3-dimensional ornaments of characters and glass patterned balls. I have a very busy stationery collection, Cid Pear which keeps me occupied and I would love to tackle wallpaper ~ wouldn't that be fun? I am also brainstorming for a new book ~ adult clothing and accessories or maybe just accessories or perhaps another kid collection..... we shall see!
Thanks John, I am happy to answer your lovely questions. And thanks again for having me on your blog. I hope the book makes people happy and that they explore and encourage their own creativity.
Many thanks to Tina and to Lark Books for hosting such a great book tour. If you would like to enter to win the prize pack, simply leave a comment on this post. Are you a fan of Tina's work? Did you learn something new about Tina today? Of course, you can always just say "hi"! I'll leave the giveaway open until this Friday, 10/22, after which a winner will be chosen at random from the comments.