I was lucky enough to catch up with Jessi and Lauren Jung, a mother – daughter fabric designing team. Their second line of fabric, Hideaway, is brand new and a must have collection from Moda Fabrics. Throughout the interview it is clear that Lauren and Jessi are a winning team, they have complimentary talents and interests. Read the interview below to see their take on the fabric design process!
How did you get into fabric design?
Jessi: Being a quilt maker myself, my love for fabrics goes hand-in-hand. The more I collect, the more I want! Today the variety of themes is endless, color combinations are daring, and the graphics are more sophisticated. This is where Lauren entered the scene. Two years ago, she graduated from the Portfolio Center, an art school in Atlanta, GA, where she studied graphic design. She was having difficulty finding employment. While visiting home, she suddenly became interested in my “fabric stash”, and curious about various designers.
You are a mother/daughter team, how did this come about?
Jessi: As Lauren studied my fabric collections, she had a brainstorm…”Let’s design our own fabric!” she said. After all, she had plenty of time on her hands! She thought it would be a breeze. Without her, this venture never would have happened, because I tend to hesitate, where she sees no limitations!
Lauren: From a graphic designer’s point of view, I liked “clean, white space”. Knowing nothing about the art of quilt making myself, my mom explained that quilters do not like blank space… So it took a little while to get “in sync”. We each have separate and different skills, so we need each other. We have a great time working together. And since we’re mother and daughter, we can be frank with each other, and not worry about hurt feelings when we disagree.
Do you split up the work or are you both involved with all the processes of the designing?
Jessi: We don’t live near each other, so splitting up the responsibilities is a must. When we begin a new line, I do the initial sketching…. anything and everything that may be relevant to the subject matter. I draw all of my designs in a gridded sketchbook. Then we get together and Lauren enters the designs into the computer. We work side-by-side, and non-stop for at least a week to revise, add to, delete things, and bounce ideas around. We find that we can’t work on this stage separately, because one thought from one of us leads to another idea from the other one, and so on. After we finalize design patterns, Lauren works on color – combinations, blends, shading. Finally we send our prototype off to Moda Fabrics for review.
Your new line Hideaway is adorable. Where did the inspiration come from?
Jessi: Cuckoo clocks…. we both have a fascination for them. I love their whimsical little dioramas of Swiss and German life. We tried to capture cuckoo clocks many features, like pinecone weights, clock faces, tiny people, pendulums, and of course the main attraction – the cuckoo bird!
Lauren: The cuckoo clock. There is so much material to work with. I am intrigued by Dutch hex signs and folk art. And using that as my jumping off point I wanted to merge that feel with a more modern flair. Hideaway’s design is more intricate, tight and symmetrical than the artwork in Botany (our previous line).
What is it about the fabric design process that you love the most?
Jessi: I love the concept of “complete fabric lines”, rather than separate or individual designs. Once a theme is decided, it takes all kinds of patterns to create a line. You have to consider print sizes, color combinations, simple as well as detailed graphics, and how the various designs relate to one another…. the big picture.
Lauren: My favorite part is actually the exact opposite from my mom's. Whereas she likes to be the idea person and get all of the initial brainstorms down onto paper… I like to take her pencil sketches and really bring them to life. I'm able to really fine tune the designs down to the tiniest detail, the perfect job for someone that is as meticulous as I am. I've always felt that the difference between something good and something great is that extra 20% of effort that comes at the end of a project and that's the part I love.
I hear that you have other projects besides Fabric designing that you work on. I particularly loved the mini quilt that you put on your blog. How did you guys come up with these ideas and patterns?
Jessi: We produce quilt patterns. We design at least 4 patterns to compliment and promote each new line. But the patterns obviously work with any fabric choices. You’ll find 6 free patterns from our Botany line posted on our website, http://LaurenAndJessiJung.com/. Lauren also designs the header image for Moda Fabrics' homepage every two weeks, which she loves doing. She designs wedding invitation sets and our blog features the invitations she created for her sister, Carrie’s, wedding. Finally, we have added Scrapbooking paper design to our list. Carrie heads the scrapbooking section of our website (currently under construction). Carrie is our brand manager. (Dad handles the financial books…making it a family affair)! Oh, and Lauren also has full-time employment as an Art Director for a web design firm in Princeton, NJ!!!! (We're all especially excited because she was just promoted last week!)
Are there any humorous/interesting facts or stories that have come out of designing your fabric lines?
Lauren: We love to mention our “Easter Eggs”…. a term referring to unexpected surprises. If you examine our fabric, you will see a spider web included somewhere in the artwork of every line – current and future! We feel like they bring us luck.
Where is your fabric sold? What about your patterns?
Jessi: Moda Fabrics manufacture our fabric designs. Our lines can be found in quilt shops and on-line wherever Moda is represented. Currently, United Notions (www.unitednotions.com) distributes all of our quilt patterns. But we are in the process of submitting them to additional distributors.
Thanks Lauren and Jessi!