Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fabric Designer Patty Sloniger

  I first heard of Patty from the Spoonflower newsletter. She won their recent contest and is Michael Miller's newest fabric designer as a result! 
I tracked her down and found out she lives a few mere miles from my house, in Katy, Texas.  She lives with her husband and kitties except for a fun and crazy month in the summer when her four step sons visit!  
She and I met for coffee at Starbucks on Sunday, May 15 and ended up talking for two and a half hours about fabric, creating and designing.
Patty grew up in Maryland, in a creative family. She feels that her mother and brother are much more artistic than she is.  Patty's favorite childhood memories are of building forts and playing in the woods and creek with her older brother. 
Patty Sloniger
She drew a lot as she grew up and studied for a BFA in graphic design at East Tennessee State University, hoping to be a packaging designer.  She now does that as a day job for a cookware manufacturer in the Sugarland area but her first job out of college was doing stationery design.  Now her goal is to become a licensed freelance illustrator.
She has played with several mediums but is really loving the fabric for her designs. She loves how a piece of fabric she designed can then be turned into something wonderful- a quilt, a bag, clothing etc...
She got started designing when planning for her wedding.  She wanted very specific designs but, having anything custom made was very pricey. She surfed around on Etsy and eventually stumbled onto Spoonflower (a company that will print as little as a fat quarter size piece of fabric with your own design on it).  She was thrilled to find this company and actually ran to the other room to tell her husband about it!  Now she has designs in her head all the time, she said it was "Definitely an addiction!"  and plays on Spoonflower so much, that her husband jokes that it is her "other man".
When I asked her what inspired her designs she said, "You never know where it will come from." Some of her favorite haunts for inspiration: the internet, her husband who is great for bouncing ideas off of - and often thinks about things "out of the box",  getting outdoors, and doing something to break routine.
She has an etsy shop called beckandlundy. She came up with this name herself, it is a combination of her mother's maiden name and her father's surname (her own maiden name). 
"It was like the two sides of myself coming together, to make stuff!"
Photo by Patty Sloniger
She is currently working on the girls half of her fabric line for Michael Miller which will debut at Fall market in Houston but, she also enjoys: cooking (and would like to cook more), making things for her house and working with wood. 
I asked her what she thought the difference was between art and craft. After careful thought she said, "I have a different answer for that now than I would have had in college, I think craft is a subset of art and not mutually exclusive. Craft is a more practical form of art."
Her favorite time to design is in the early morning. "It feels so good having the whole day ahead".  She usually begins designing fabric based on a project she wants to make. Gathering items or images in the theme she prints out pictures of looks at items and does some sketches or paintings. 
Photo by Patty Sloniger
Note from Mandy: I have no idea why it is transfers to blogger in the negative but you see the idea.
These sketches get scanned into the computer and using Photoshop she fine tunes and manipulates her designs. "I love Photoshop. I don't know what I would do without it!".  

Photo by Patty Sloniger
She doesn't want her work to look computer generated - going for a more hand sketched look is her goal.
Patty does do some sewing and quilting but finds binding a little intimidating, " I have three quilts waiting for me to get up the nerve to bind them!".  
She treats me to a sampling of her designs made on Spoonflower one a sateen, several cotton and a linen along with some adorable bibs she made with her fabrics! I can't wait to see more of her work and play with her fabric myself!
Just for fun some random questions:
Favorite color: Green
Favorite food: Beef Stroganoff
Food you wouldn't ever want to even try: Liver, fish eggs
Which super power would you choose: Invisibility
Favorite thing about yourself: Never bored, always find things to do
Nick names growing up: Patti-O furniture, Honey-child
Least favorite household chore: Laundry! "How does it pile up so fast with only two of us?"

My thanks to Patty for being so willing to let me pepper her with questions and for sharing so much! I wish her the best of luck with her first fabric line.

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