This is part of a series of “behind the scenes” posts about my Sunday & Seurat designs for the Guthrie. Click here to see all of the posts in this series.
If you look closely at the Sunday on the Isle painting, you will find a black dog whuffling in the grass. Those of you that know me know that I have a fondness for black dogs.
This is Chester and Leo. They are my black lab mutts. Brothers from the same litter. 3 yrs old.
So, I had to use the black dog as the inspiration for a design. When we were talking about what kinds of pieces we wanted for this collection, I felt like there should be something that wasn’t necessarily a kids item, but something that would appeal to kids. And there are a lot of people who love dogs. So this one seemed like it would be pretty popular. (Turns out we were right, but more about that in a minute.)
I made two versions of the dog from cut paper and I added a little colored pencil shading to them. I scanned the cut paper designs and layered together with a painted background that was just a swirl of different colors. And I added the paintbrush from the Red Yellow Blue design as if the dog is holding up his paw to be painted.
That turned in to this, which I call Brush to Paw. I printed it on eco-canvas. The hidden “easter egg” in this print is that the dogs have a different colored collar on each side of the bag, which match my dogs (red for Chester and turquoise for Leo).
And when you sew it together, it makes a little bag that looks like this. I use these as travel bags and keep my phone charger, jewelry, bandaids and those kinds of odds & ends.
We quickly realized that this little guy was going to be a hit, so we added a piece to the collection and I gave him a place on a tea towel as well. I just got this fabric yesterday and I am going to spend the rest of the afternoon hemming and making some linen/cotton tea towels which should be in the Guthrie shop very soon.
It always catches me off-guard but one question I get asked all the time is “Who does your sewing? Or where do you get them made?” The answer is: Me at my dining room table.
That part is just as important to me as the design is. I have no interest in designing things to send off and have mass produced overseas.
The fabric for all of these is printed by my friends at Spoonflower in Durham NC. They are friends and I have been to Spoonflower HQ and have seen my fabric coming off of their printers. I can’t own the kinds of machines that they have (They cost more than my first house did.) so I am thrilled I am able to work with them to make my designs happen.
Part of the cost of making these is paying myself a fair wage for the time spent sewing them. I work hard to make that part as efficient as I can because I don’t want to spend 24 hours a day sewing, but I can be confident that they are the quality that I want and that the person sewing them isn’t working in a sweatshop. This week I have been drinking tea and watching the Great British Baking Show as I sew. I can’t complain about my job this week.