Evolution of an Organic Design

It’s funny how things work out.  I sent a quick note to Harmony Susalla of Harmony Art yesterday, just to let her know I had posted about her new fabric releases, and what did I get back in reply?  A terrific break down of the creative process that she had started writing as a guest post for TIR a while back, but never sent.  I’m so happy my little email reminded her, because it’s a really interesting post that I’m happy to be sharing with you.  Enjoy! – RH

People often ask me where the inspiration for my designs come from.  In my previous life, when I worked for a design house, they would send us out “trend shopping” the goal of which was to be inspired by what we saw at stores…. often high-end boutiques.  Trend shopping was my least favorite part of my job.  I know many people (primarily women) would love to be given a company credit card and told to “get inspired” but I always found this task to be rather soul-less.  What’s the joy in creating your own version of what has already been done?

Now that I am my own art director, I make it a habit to go “trend hiking” on a weekly basis.  I always bring along my camera instead of a VISA and look for new inspiration in the natural world around me.  Designs such as Fields of Honey are a direct result of such adventures.

However, sometimes, an idea comes from people in my life.  Such is the case with 40 Ginkgos.  I vividly remember having lunch with Rachel Hulan upon our first in-person meeting and having her tell me about her attraction to the ancient Ginkgo tree.  I think I was talking about my personal connection to the Redwood tree…

I told her then that perhaps I will do a Ginkgo print one day.  A couple of years went by.  Then one day I was visiting my friend Theresa in San Francisco.  Growing out of the sidewalk in front of her house on Divisadero Street is a Ginkgo tree.  I decided to take a few leaves off the ground home with me and those leaves transformed into the pattern 40 Ginkgos.  The color pallet for the design was inspired by my mother-in-law who LOVES the combination of red, green and white.  It reminds her of the red Geraniums that abound at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

I have had a few customers request “holiday” colored fabrics I thought this design in this colorway would be the perfect holiday print that could be used year round.

So, to break down the process of how I work:
1. Idea – thanks to Rachel
2. Reference – thanks to the tree

3. Sketch – almost all of my designs start with a Sharpie pen and white paper.

4. Color, scale and layout are then created in the computer using a vector based program.
5. Colors are chipped, and artwork is sent to the engraver and screens are made.

6. Initial strike off is received to test the color and screens… adjustments are made as necessary.
7. Approval is given and production begins.

8. The wait begins…. as the fabric is printed, rolled, packaged, palletized, and in this case put on a boat for its travel to the USA from India.
9. Fabric makes it through customs and is inventoried at our warehouse in South Carolina.
10. Orders are filled and fabric becomes part of our “in full bloom” collection.

I am happy to announce as of today, 40 Ginkgos has made its way through the long process and is now available for purchase!  Of course, this fabric has been printed on 100% organic cotton and is certified to GOTS standards for the processing.  Now that I “call the shots” I wouldn’t have it any other way!

3 Responses to “Evolution of an Organic Design”

  1. Green Bag Lady Says:

    Love it! I heart Harmony and her fabric!

  2. Deidrea Haysel Says:

    I am so glad you broke away from the clones & fashion droids that dictated what was fresh, refreshing and creative and actually DESIGNED what was in your heart & soul! Your spirit shows in your work and your fabric has its own voice, and for that I’m greatful!

  3. Kathryn Bogala Calgary Alberta Says:

    Love your design in this fabric it has both earthy and outdoor elements and is fun at the same time!

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