Kathy Davis’ fabric lines are not just stand alone fabric lines. Instead they are just a small part of a collection that Davis puts together. She is an artist who uses greeting cards, watercolors, writing, fabric, and more to tell a story. Her work flows together to create a body of work that can be viewed as separate parts or as one overlying piece. I was able to catch up with Kathy to learn more about her fabric lines with Free Spirit Fabrics, read on to see what she had to say.
Also, as an aside, the people at Kathy Davis Studios were nice enough to put together a goody bag for one lucky (and randomly picked) Quilting Arts Community member. Leave a comment at the end of this post and let us know what you think for your chance to win the goody bag! The winner will be announced on my blog next Monday (December 6th).
How did you get interested in Fabric design?
While I have always loved fabric and textile design, when I started my company in 1990, I began by designing greeting cards. Today, my relationship with American Greetings has taken my greeting card designing to a whole new level! With a lot of help from my team at Kathy Davis Studios, I design approximately 1000 new greeting cards a year!
But ever since I was a little girl, quilting and anything handmade has always captured my fancy. When we recently began a new licensing program, fabric was at the top of my wish list. So, it is a dream come true to now have my own lines of fabric with Westminster / Free Spirit!
One of my most prized possessions is a butterfly quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was young. While I didn’t follow in her footsteps as a seamstress, my cousin surely did! Some of her quilts and creations helped to inspire me along this new path.
Did you always have an interest in being a professional artist?
Well, I didn’t think about it quite that way, but I was ALWAYS making things (and making a mess) as a little girl! Paper dolls, Christmas ornaments, perfume, a neighborhood newspaper…I guess you could say I had an entrepreneurial instinct and love for creativity. In high school I continued my love affair with art, but lacked the confidence to pursue it as a career path. Instead I chose to go to college for elementary education and taught sixth grade for six years. I returned to get a Master’s degree in Art Education, teaching art at the high school level until my two children were born. A divorce later motivated me to go after my dream of working for myself. It took a lot of work and dedication, but now I have a company that employs approximately 20 people, and am very fortunate to have a brand that continues to grow in many different directions.
So, today I am still making things…(and making a mess, too, of course!)
How are you inspired to create your Journeys fabric line?
The Journeys fabric line came into being out of a new collection of art and writing I developed called Awakenings. This collection was born during a time of deep soul searching and self-discovery. It represents the journey I took to find the answers I had been seeking. To my surprise I didn’t need to travel far for the guidance; it was always right there. The answers were within me.
Journeys comes to life on fabric with images of dragonflies in flight, watercolor flowers, leaf patterns, bold geometrics, and inspiring words! In fact, watercolor art and calligraphy, two of the signature aspects of my artwork, help to distinguish my fabric from the many other beautiful designs in the market.
My brand promise is to “Scatter Joy”, so it is always a goal of mine to inspire others to feel the joy in life and to share it with those around them. I can’t think of a much better way to do that than by designing fabric that I hope might spark creative juices in others to make beautiful things!
(In addition to Journeys, Kathy now has a new collection available called Blossoming, please check Freespiritfabric for a store near you.)
What was the most challenging aspect of creating your first fabric collection?
Staying true to my visions, my artwork and my brand while developing in a new format. I feel proud that while we have infused variety into my fabric lines with bold pattern and tiny prints, the collection remains cohesive and still manages to showcase my watercolor style and inspiring messaging.
What was your favorite part (of creating the fabric line)?
My favorite part was actually seeing (and touching!) the first printed samples for review! Since most of my artwork is reproduced on paper, the texture of the fabric sent tingles up my spine!
What is the best piece of advice that you ever got in regards to art?
Not much different from “life lesson 101”…stay true to yourself, trust your gut, don’t be afraid to be different. All easier said than done, I must say.
Your website, kathydavis.com, seems to be all about helping to inspire other people to create. Do you have any tips on finding time to do art or finding new inspiration?
It sounds kind of crazy, since creativity seems to be such an enigma, but you must be disciplined about making the time, instead of making excuses that there IS no time.
So, after you MAKE the time, you must TAKE the time! Even though creativity can be super fun and rewarding, it can be SCARY staring at a white piece of paper, a blank canvas, or an empty sewing machine. You need to overcome any fears of failure and dive in. Give yourself permission to play. Welcome mistakes and make magic with them…or just toss it and try again. When you get past your fears and get into the flow, the feeling is second to none!
You may also find it helpful to sign up for an art or craft class or join a group where you have company and support. Art and creativity can be such a joyful experience – and a great way to connect with others. Grab some of that joy for yourself!
I hope you will visit my website (www.kathydavis.com) and become a “friend” of Kathy Davis Studios on our new Facebook page, as well as follow us on Twitter, You Tube and Flickr! We are planning lots of great prizes, give-aways, and ideas to share. I’d love it if you would share photos of your own projects made with Kathy Davis fabric. I can’t wait to see what you create!
Thank you Kathy!
Remember, post a comment for your chance to win a goody bag from Kathy Davis Studios!