I have recently had the pleasure of chatting with new designer on the scene Tanya Whelan of Grand Revival Design, Tanya has just released her first fabric collection and her first pattern. To tell you more here is Tanya herself.
Wow, I'm so happy Sarah asked me to blog. So here's a little about me...
Tell us a little about yourself - (where you live, your family, your hobbies, as little or as much as you like).
I'm a fabric designer for Free Spirit which has recently merged with Westminter Fibers and my collection Barefoot Roses was just introduced at Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City Utah. That's a whole story in itself, it was my first time to market and for fabric lovers it's kind of like fabric Nirvana. I'm also a sewing pattern designer and am developing a line of patterns. The first pattern, the Flea Market Bag pattern,was introduced at Quilt Market and is available through great retailers (like Sarah!) . I'm a married mother of 3 crazy, smart, sweet, sometimes quite naughty, exhaustingly lively children all under age 10. Other things to know about me, I LOVE old stuff (old houses, old furniture, old junk) always have, always will and I'm kind of a geek. I live in Norfolk an historic old city in Virginia.
How long have you been sewing?
How long have you been sewing?
I've been sewing since I was maybe 5 or 6 and I still have a lot to learn.
Where and from whom did you learn to sew?
I learned to love sewing and creativity in general from my mother who has always made beautiful things and who has a wonderful and sophisticated design sense.
Where and/or how do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes mainly from the past, old objects, architecture, textiles, even old movies and movies set in the past, inspire me. I see old things as a way to really connect with the past and this is what my design work is all about. My designs for me feel nostalgic but revived and refreshed for the way we live today hence the name of my company.....Grand Revival.
Your first fabric collection Barefoot Roses was released recently. Tell us a little bit about it:
My new fabric collection totally reflects this. The patterns include lots of old-fashioned nostalgic motifs like roses, dots and ticking stripes but rendered in fresh, clear, vivid colors. I wanted the collection to feel familiar and fresh at the same time. I also wanted to make a collection that could easily cross over to home decorating and accessories so that it could be used for a quilt or curtains or a handbag with equal success. This was important to me because I'm a bit on the frugal (ok, cheap) side and am always looking for fabric that I can decorate, quilt or make a dress or a bag out of that doesn't cost $30.00 a yard.
* was this a dream you always had or has it come about as a result of other things that you do?
This is definitely not a dream I've always had (I came out of college with a degree in philosophy for goodness sake?!?). It evolved from other creative businesses I've had over the years but it's ended up being the most natural fit for me. I have always loved textiles since I was really little I had definite and strong feelings (weirdly) about what kind of comforter I wanted for my bed. It's funny and a bit cliche but the things your attracted to when your little can really give you clues about what you should be doing as an adult.Where do you see yourself and Grand Revival Design in 5 years time?
This is such a good question. I've really gone back and forth on this one over the past year or so. Where this business takes me in 5 years really depends on my children and my own capacity to balance motherhood with everything else. My oldest son will go to middle school next year which makes me realize how quick this whole kid thing goes. I really want to enjoy and experience my kids while they're little and I am definitely not the kind of woman who can "do it all." I'm the kind of woman who must get 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night or I'm a really cranky baby the next day. So, I'm just not sure where I'll be in 5 years. For now I'm just going to take it day by day and make changes where necessary.
What advice do you have for anyone wishing to start their own business, whether it be in design, sewing or something completely unrelated?
I totally love this question! The main advice I have is that if your lucky enough to know what you want to do (for so many people this is the hard part) just have confidence in your own vision. Do not think that there is some magical barrier up preventing you from getting into the industry, job, business you want. I think this is the biggest hurdle to get over. If you have real confidence that there is a nitch in a field or market that you can fill then put your ego aside and go for it! You may get a lot of "no's" along the way but if you have confidence in your own vision the chances are good that someone else will take a chance on you. You'll absolutely never know until you try. Cliche but true.
Anyway, that's all the very limited amount of wisdom I have to offer. Thanks so much for reading this and please come visit me at www.grandrevivaldesign.com if you have a chance.
Take good care,
If you would like to purchase Tanya's pattern it is available here.
Quilt Fabric Delights is giving away a copy of Tanya's Flea Market Bag pattern to one lucky commenter - just leave a comment before the 25th July.