Tula Pink has been curating thread collections for Aurifil for years. She was one of our original designers… one of the few who helped to launch a whole new way to view and consume thread. She is a natural, with a keen eye for color and a strong creative vision.
We are endlessly inspired by her distinctive designs, her quilty innovation, and what she brings to the whole quilting industry on a business level.
Last month, at Spring Quilt Market, we launched Tula Sunrise. A stunning collection of 20 Small Spools of 50wt thread, the collection also marks a brand new style of packaging for Aurifil. Presented in a matchbox style, the cover slides off to reveal two smaller collections, perfectly constructed with a bit of extra Tula artwork for good measure. We love the element of surprise with this one and thought it only fitting to introduce it to the world with a bit of Tula flair.
As usual, the curated colors are stunning and are the perfect companions to any project planned with Tula’s fabrics… particularly Monkey Wrench, her newly launched collection with Free Spirit Fabrics.
We’re so grateful to have had a chance to chat with Tula… to learn more about Monkey Wrench, why she selected the thread colors she did, and what quilts simply blow her mind. <3
Make sure to read through the end to find a chance to win your very own Tula Sunrise partnered with some fabulous fabric!
BUT FIRST… BREAKING NEWS!
We all love a good success story and we know that our readers will be particularly entranced by yours. How in the world did you make the shift from the music business to the textile world?
Both careers were focused on design just in a different way. It wasn’t a huge transition except that I am making self directed design now rather than client based work. I was always sewing and quilting. At the time there were only a couple of designers making the kind of fabric that appealed to me. I began designing fabric because I needed more fabric to work with. The transition came out of necessity for me. I needed more fabric and when a designer can’t find what they need they tend to make it themselves. I never imagined that it would have blossomed into this career that I have now. I still feel really lucky to get up every day and do something this awesome!
Was art something that had always been a part of your life?
I have always been a doodler. I have always made things. I was really lucky that my parents were nurturing of my artistic leanings. They were not really artistic themselves but they always put a big emphasis on passion with all of us kids. They didn’t care what we wanted to do with our lives as long as we were passionate and gave it 100% effort. My mom always told us that we can do what ever we want as long as we gave it everything we had.
What is your favorite part about working within this quilty medium?
I love drawing and I love putting things together. There is an art & math overlap to quilting that I love. It’s sort of architectural, structural, but also really creative. I am more drawn to art that is useful. I have never been fully satisfied with making art for walls. Painting has never been my thing. I love sewing because it’s so utilitarian and there is a great deal of beauty in that. I love that I will never truly master this craft. There is always more to learn and new techniques to develop. I love the history of quilting too. It’s such a layered and dense craft.
Your latest collection, Monkey Wrench, just launched at Spring Quilt Market and your booth even grabbed a booth ribbon! What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Monkey Wrench was a really fun collection to design and work with. Everything is always so serious and this collection is about joy and mischief and letting go and stirring things up! It felt like time to stir some things up. I can’t stand being bored and when things get too comfortable, they get boring.
Monkey Wrench is about a mischievous Monkey, a sort of mischief spirit that shows up just when you are feeling comfortable, predictable ,and maybe a little bored and throws his mischief wrench into your plans and forces you to take a new path. Only half of the Monkeys in the print are holding a tiny wrench in their tail because you never know when he is going to show up.
The next print is a pair of Parrots hidden in wildflowers, you don’t see them right away, they are the Monkey’s side kicks, Hiccup and Buttercup. They push you to join the Monkey and take the path less traveled. They are meant to be like an angel and a devil on your shoulder except they are both on the side of having fun and doing the least expected thing.
One of the funnest prints in the collection is the banana print. It is a tossed print of solid, striped, and polka dotted bananas in purples, teals, and hot pinks. The print is titled “Don’t Slip”. The 108″ wide backs show a giant blown up version of this banana print titled “Seriously, Don’t Slip”. Giant cartoon bananas are not the obvious choice to back a quilt with but that is exactly the point. Have fun, do something different, take a new path and don’t make your life so serious that you suck all of the joy out of it. This is quilting, we are not saving the world we are saving ourselves, so we might as well have a little fun with it.
Your coordinating thread collection features some of our favorite Tula hues – how does this release fit within your overall creative vision?
I put this collection of thread together while I was hand piecing one of the Quilts called Tula Sunrise which is my newest English Paper Piecing kit. It has so many fabrics in it, Monkey Wrench of course, and also dots, stripes, and solids. It really covers the gamut of my overall color palette. While I was sewing I wrote down every single color that I used in the quilt and that is what the collection is. It’s like the Tula Pink starter kit of color. This is why I called it Tula Sunrise — it’s your comprehensive introduction to the Tula Pink color palette in thread.
What excites you the most about getting these collections out into the world?
I really just love sharing the things that I love with everyone. I adore this palette of colors and the quality of the threads. Most people don’t have the time to sit down and curate their own beautiful palette of thread colors and then design a gorgeous package for them to live in. I do that so you don’t have to. If other people buy this and love it then that makes me super happy. I love joy and happiness. It makes me happy to put this together and then someone gets it and they are happy and then they post their happiness on instagram and I see it and I get happy all over again. It’s this awesome, never ending cycle of warm fuzzy feelings.
Do you have a favorite featured project?
I think the quilt that was made to go with the fabric is my favorite. The Tula Sunrise quilt is pure joy. It’s bright little sunshines with a cool pieced border and tons of cute animals hidden in each center. You can’t be mad looking at the quilt unless you are a monster with no capacity for joy in the first place. I can’t help you with that.
And just for fun… what is one thing about yourself that our readers might not know?
I don’t feel like I am that interesting for the most part. Mostly I keep to myself and draw and make quilts. People always want to know what I do when I am not making quilts and the answer is nothing. I get really focused on things I love doing. As a kid I loved Karate. From 12 to 18 years old I was a competitive fighter. I was involved in martial arts from the age of 5. I earned my first black belt at 13. I won tournaments all over the US and back then they didn’t have a separate girls division, there weren’t enough of us. There were about 4 of us girls who competed and we all knew each other. We were way more aggressive than the boys because we had so much to prove. The boys were always a little shy about trying to hit us at first, but then we would explode and they would get over that really quickly.
Our sincere thanks to the incomparable Tula Pink! <3
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 20 Small Spools (220yd/spool)
2520 – 2515 – 2479 – 2588 – 2530 – 2255 – 5002 – 2220 – 1133 – 2135
2545 – 1200 – 1128 – 1148 – 2835 – 2860 – 1147 – 5015 – 2311 – 2692
Get inspired with a Tula Pink prize pack to super charge your Summer Sewing. We’re giving away a Tula Sunrise (20 small spools) AND a bundle of Tula Pink fabrics (courtesy of Free Spirit). To enter-to-win, simply click HERE to head to the rafflecopter entry page. This giveaway is open to all of our thread-loving friends, worldwide. We’ll accept entries through 11:59pmEST on Wednesday, June 19. We’ll contact the winner via email. Good luck!
Tula Pink is an illustrator, a fabric designer, a quilter, an author, a maker and a generally good person who enjoys talking about herself.
Tula graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA. It was fun but she was tired of being broke so she decided to get a job. Tula worked briefly as an Exhibit designer for Museums in Southern California, where she grew up, and when that became too quiet she relocated to the music industry. After about 5 years of that her ears began to bleed so she left her job and California and went in search of a new home. The plan was to move as far east as she could get without renting a boat and work her way back west until she found a place she liked. Tula got about half way and then she ran out of gas money so she stayed put.
Tula now lives in a small mid-western town outside of Kansas City, MO in a house that used to be a barn and still sort of looks like one. Tula’s main function in life is fabric design. She lives for it. Her signature designs have been adapted to fabrics, woven ribbons, paper products, needlepoint kits, embroidery patterns and sewing machines and can be found in independent fabric shops and retailers all over the world. Tula is most recognized in her industries for her dark sense of humor, a flair for hiding animals in the strangest of places (artistically, not literally) and her boldly unique use of color and pattern. Tula comes from the “more is more” school of design where there is never enough space and always room for that one last thing.
Today Tula Pink works closely with the good people at Free Spirit Fabrics to develop multiple fabric collections every year, is an Ambassador for BERNINA sewing machines, develops collections for Aurifil Threads and Renaissance Ribbons and writes books for F+W Media about quilting and sewing. She works all day everyday and gets very cranky when she is asked to leave the studio or if Tula Pink is her real name.
For real deal up date info on Tula Pink, her Studio and projects follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
[Bio text and most image courtesy of Tula Pink! <3 ]