Fellow bloggers: have you ever had a post that seemed so big, so overwhelming, and so daunting to write that you just keep putting it off and putting it off, until you eventually realize you may never write it?
My Quilt Market blog posts have fallen into that category in the past. It just seems like it will take hours to upload all of the photos I want to share, edit them all, and write the perfect blog post in which every word is witty, selectively chosen, insightful, and entertaining. It seems like a tall order.
Well, this is another one of those posts. After sitting in my blog dashboard as a draft for the past 15 months, I'm just going to write a few words and click publish. Because, you know, I have this OCD thing going on that won't let me have closure on an event until I blog about it.
So yeah, that's me and Heather Ross in July 2010. Heather, who has been pregnant, carried a child to term, given birth, and survived her first few months of motherhood, all while this post has been sitting in my draft folder. No big deal.
Last July, I traveled to Portland, Oregon (for the first time ever) to take Heather's class, Introduction to Fabric Design using Photoshop, at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Heather was a GREAT teacher -- fun, laid-back, super patient, inspirational, full of tips & tricks, and HILARIOUS. She was pretty tickled that a man was taking her class. In fact, I seem to remember that she called me "THE MAN" all weekend. Did I mention that she was hilarious?
Heather started the class by quickly walking us through her design process by quickly drawing up a design, coloring it, moving it around, and setting up a basic repeat. It was a basic, but very Heather Ross, sketch of rainbow-striped toe socks. Looking around, I could see everyone's jaws were hitting the ground at about the same speed that mine did. We all agreed that, within 20 minutes or so, Heather had just designed a fabric that we would all happily purchase.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few days in Portland. The city was everything I had hoped it would be, and was extremely welcoming of us east coasters. And the PNCA was the perfect venue for a weekend of creative thinking.
Here's the Whole Foods that was just about halfway in between my hotel and PNCA, right in the heart of the Pearl, where I had breakfast each morning. I still drool when I think about the beignets they had there. Our Whole Foods here in NC doesn't carry beignets. : (
It was during this trip that I also got to meet some of my sisters from some other misters, the Sweet Hot Yams themselves. They were like my personal welcoming committee in Portland. Here we are on a beautiful July evening enjoying a yummy dinner at the Paragon. From left to right, that's Mo, Monica, me, Terri, and Violet. It's funny -- looking back, I can remember how very nervous I was to meet them all.
Monica even slipped me some cuts from her not-yet-released (at the time) fabric line, Holiday Happy. Of course, when I had planned on writing this blog post 15 months ago, this was going to be the "nyah nyah, look at this super top secret fabric that I got from the designer herself and it's not even out yet" picture.
Here's Violet and Terri again with another super sweet and amazing Yammie, Ms. Traci of Hip Fabric.
Here's a picture that Violet took of me at dinner that night.
Um, so I just realized that my photos kind of reveal the type of traveler that I am. Notice that I made it a point to not only visit, but to remember for eternity by taking pictures of, both a bakery ...
... and a cupcake shop. Hmmmm, guess I'm not too good at keeping my sweet tooth under wraps.
(Fun fact: the photo below of Cupcake Jones was recently spotted on Flickr by a company putting together a visitor's guide to Portland, and they asked if they could include it. Sure!)
Here's a photo taken by Abi of the classroom setting. One of these things is not like the other! Can you spot me sitting over there by the window, deep in design thought?
Here's a pic that fellow classmate Megan of Lucy & Norman took when Heather was showing me something in Photoshop. It probably had something to do with repeats, which is why I look so bewildered and am trying SO hard to remember everything that she was telling me.
BTW, it was great to meet Megan, a long-time Flickr friend of mine, in person for the first time. Here she is with Heather. She doesn't look quite as bewildered as me.
Megan designed a really cute cheater print featuring pigs and bacon.
Here's Heather towards the end of the class, when we all printed out our fabric designs and laid them out on the floor to really take in what we had accomplished in just a few short days. Here, she's giving some advice to Amy from Amy a la Mode, another Flickr friend that I was glad to have the chance to meet in person.
So do you want to see the fabric that I designed? Here's my print -- a couple of cute foxes that I sketched in different poses, along with some floral rings that I drew and designed. I began with a few pencil sketches and, with Heather's help, learned how to digitize and color my art, as well as create repeats in the pattern.
I also played a bit with each sketch and auditioned different color combinations. You can see better here how Heather influenced our work -- she taught us how to keep the rough pencil sketch feel to our art, which is the technique she follows when creating her own designs. She also taught me how to do the shadow effect that you see here.
What an amazing experience. Even now, 15 months later, I can still recall how grateful I was to be able to take 4 days away from my everyday life to take some time for me -- to feed my creative soul, pursue my passion, and imagine what might be possible in the future.
We've set up a Flickr group, so if you want to see more photos from the weekend and my classmates' designs, just click here: Fabric Design with Heather Ross Flickr group.
(Whew. Y'all, you don't know how much of a relief it is to finally press publish on this post!)