Carrie Bloomston‘s Story Collection for Windham Fabrics hit shops in September of last year and we were proud to offer a coordinating thread box. Carrie’s collections are always rich and vibrant. They carry an innate beauty and do always seem to tell a story of their own, making this collection’s title particularly poignant. We loved talking with Carrie, to hear more the thought process behind her creations and to gain some insight into how a collection comes together. Read on for some creative inspiration and a fabulous giveaway!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Carrie Bloomston, Story
100% Aurifil Cotton, 50wt
Large – 1422yds each, 12 Colors, Large Spools
For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.
You introduced the collection in an incredibly collaborative way, bringing together friends and loved ones within the sewing community and challenging them to use your designs to create their own story. How did this process come about and what did you love most about pulling it all together?
I loved the effortlessness of designing Story. I filled the collection with archetypes such as home, family, garden, nature, stars, moon, sun, etc. in hopes that people would use the prints to tell their own story.
I have a sewing tribe. There are about 15 people around the world who sew my samples for the launch of each collection for me. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to this community of willing, passionate sewists who sew for me simply out of love. I am honored to feel their support around me. The thing is, I’m the least controlling designer you might meet. I don’t tell them what to do, I just send them images of the fabric and ask them to mull it over and be inspired by it, then to tell me what they want to do. For some it is garments, others quilts and others home dec. It always works our beautifully. I send them their yardage and they play.
For this collection, I asked them, “What is your story? What is essential to you? What is your native tongue? Your family–your community–your country–your tribe–your village? What is your color story? Your personal mythology? The legacy of generations? Use this collection to tell it. Make it your own.” They created stunning pieces about their family, passions, desires, etc.
I’ve noticed that many of the projects made with your fabrics are incredibly creative, each one a small piece of art. What do you think it is about your designs that inspires people to explore their creativity and challenge themselves?
I design fabric that is meant to be cut up! As a creativity enabler, I intend to help people tap into their innate spark of creativity. I teach about this topic in workshops and in my book, The Little Spark–30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity. I encourage people to explore, fail, make a mess, try again, and play. Craft and technique are extremely important for sewinistas–but not at the expense of the desire to play and explore. Curiosity can take us to some amazing places if we are willing to make a mess and enjoy the journey. In our normal lives, whether we are parenting or working at our job, the stakes are fairly high and we really can’t afford to fail or make a mess too often in those areas. But, if we let our creative life be a laboratory for self-discovery, play, curiosity, and wonder, then we uncover the sleeping part of the self that is about…maybe six years old. Or nine. Twelve. And we become free again to play–to feel our way through things as opposed to thinking our way through everything–to listen to the whispers of the heart and to our intuition and passion. In so doing, we make meaning and we make magic. And we get to tell our story.
You have a strong and deep artistic background — how did you make the shift to fabric design?
I’ve been an artist my whole life and studied painting at Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, Painting,1994). Art is my love language. It is my reference point, my temple, my lens, my scaffolding. I didn’t start sewing and join this vibrant modern sewing movement until seven years ago when I was pregnant with my baby girl. She urged me to sew from the womb! I’m so glad I listened to her. Then I started designing sewing patterns and I was asked to design fabric for Windham Fabrics. I’m on my fourth collection with them now and it will release in October, 2016. (I’m in LOVE with it! Cant wait to share.) To be honest, I have no skills or training in the area of textile design. I can’t put a pattern into repeat and I don’t really need to. Windham does all that and I get to be me. The artist. Making stuff in my studio with glue sticks and paint and paper. It really is dreamy. Windham is a lovely company filled with fine people. Just splendid. I am grateful for the world they have opened to me.
How did you decide upon the colors for your coordinating Aurifil Thread collection and how do they add to the story?
I just pulled out my palette and started playing. I tend to keep a neutral putty colored thread in my machine at all times. So I was keen on getting several great neutrals in the collection. And as a painter, I just kind of feel into colors and come up with balance. It is very unscientific. I don’t think, “I need to balance this warm coral red with a cool aqua.” My mind is way behind my body and my senses. My body already knows so I just sit back and let it do its work and try to keep my mind out of it. I chose my favorite colors and shades of indigo.
What is your favorite Aurifil thread weight and color and why?
My Bernina always has an orange Aurifil spool in it!!! It is light but strong–delicate but durable.
What advice would you share with those just getting started on how to tap into their own creativity to make something special, something that will be a defining part of their own story?
Stop worrying. Stop perfecting. Stop trying. Stop editing. Stop judging. Stop doubting. Stop trying to prove to the world how awesome you are and just allow yourself instead to express, to feel, to play, to be. Just be.
Do a meditation before you create. As you sit down to sew or make something, close your eyes. Breathe in. Breathe out. For some that might be prayer, for others yoga or a visualization. But ask something bigger than you or your highest self to help guide you in your creative process. Ask what work you were put here to do in this moment. Ask for guidance–whether in subject matter, color choices, whatever! Try to side step your ego and your routine. Be OK with exploration and making a mess. Eat some dark chocolate. Dance. Let your creativity pour through you like water from a pitcher. And let the spirit of your work be filled with love. That’s all we have to do.
To enter-to-win, simply click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on April 7th! Winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday, April 8th. Good luck!
Carrie Bloomston is an artist, author, textile designer and creativity enabler. She aims to inspire creativity in all forms.Through fun, interactive and inspiring words and images, we help you get inspired and step into the creative life you want.
[Photography by Jill McNamara]