Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LinkedIn and the price of design

It seems quite fashionable right now to say "I am not doing Facebook anymore."  Even more frequent: "I have no use for LinkedIn."

I won't get into Facebook here, but I have to say that I find LinkedIn quite worthwhile.  When I first joined, like many people, it was because I got a request from someone, and thought, "why not?".  Then my account sat idle for a very long time with a terse profile description and the odd connection being randomly added.

Then I found out about the groups, and it changed everything.  Depending upon your industry, there are hundreds of groups of people with similar interests who are chatting away about something or other that may have real relevance to things you think about every day.

I hasten to add, though it is referred to as a social network, I view LinkedIn as a network for making business connections.  So, I am a textile artist and designer, and I want to talk to other people involved in similar pursuits.  In particular, I would like to have more design clients, more design opportunities, so I have joined groups of people who are working toward similar goals and sharing information about them.

I belong to Textile Designers, Freelance Textile Designers,  The Art of Licensing, Design Sourcing, Jacquard Designing, sustainable Textiles, among others.  Some groups are quite active, others don't have much bearing on my interests and I really should kiss them goodbye.

This post was inspired by a discussion I read tonight in The Art of Licensing, a very active group of all kinds of licensing artists from illustrators to cartoonists to textile designers like me.  It was about pricing your work, a very dodgy issue, which people are quite secretive  about.  I can't tell you how hard it is to figure out what to charge, and you don't want to seem like an amateur and flat out ask, do you?  Every job is different , in some ways, and every job has a different value.  So, for those of you interested in such arcana, here is what I was referred to.  I hope it is as helpful for those of you who are designers, as it was for me. I am posting the direct link to the article which was discussed on LinkedIn.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Radiant Orchid 2012

I was going through my vast number of uploaded designs yesterday at Spoonflower, the online print-on-demand fabric service (Spoonflower has a great option in that you can offer your own designs for sale and receive a nice commission whenever someone else buys fabric printed with one of your designs).

 All designs copyright Laura Foster Nicholson 2012-2014.  All rights reserved.

I did a big collection in a colorway I called Plum in 2012, and as I came across it yesterday I realized there it was! Radiant Orchid!  I have written about this rather curious color a couple of times already, commenting on how "outside" the norm it seemed to me, and yet here I had used it with a generous hand in a design collection 2 years ago.  OK, proof that color trending is indeed insightful.

I wonder how many of you have had this color creep into your wardrobe or your home or your creative work in the past couple of years? Yes, that is how a trend is spotted.  Most of us unconscious of it until it reaches a critical mass, and someone like Faith Popcorn or Pantone points it out and shout, "AHA!"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Making Posters

I confess, I never took a graphic design course in my life.  Add that to the fact that I have a certain amount of wry appreciation for the fact that nowadays, with computer options, "everyone is a designer", that I am a rank amateur along with the hordes of people out there with Photoshop and maybe Illustrator in their toolkits, and, well, let's just keep this in perspective.
Hearts in Harmony, Laura Foster Nicholson (c) 2014 all rights reserved

Nonetheless, I have had a lot of fun in recent weeks making various posters for town events here in New Harmony.  One bleak afternoon in early February I had to make a poster for a fund raising event for our spring art fair, and I was browsing the web for source imagery for a different project altogether when a few images jumped out to me and made me laugh.  I was just off balance enough to grab them, throw out what little I thought I knew about design, and make some silly posters.  I think it was the most creative thing I have done since the solstice.  And note, of course, the keyword here is FUN.

The fund raiser was a great success and I got my shot in the arm of creative sunshine.  Maybe I have a future!

Friday, December 27, 2013

and then there is the new RUG for Crate & Barrel

Here is a new rug I am thrilled about.  Designed around the same time I designed the pillows but what a difference color makes!  One of my favorite palettes.  To quote from the website: "Ochre, sage and lime green spiral in a kaleidoscope of organic shapes, inspired by the feathery forms and subtle coloration of lichen. Laura Foster Nicholson's abstract medallion design is masterfully realized in hand-tufted 100% wool."
Cecily wool rug
"Cecily" wool rug by Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel

new designs for Crate & Barrel

Petal pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel
I always love it when my new designs come online.  Today I found that the trio of pillows I designed for Crate & Barrel for Spring 2014 are online.  They are fun!  Falling into the Suzani tradition, they are screen printed linen and then embellished with embroidery and crocheted flowers.  Love them!

Petal pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel
Vinova pillow, Laura Foster Nicholson for Crate & Barrel

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Radiant Orchid?

As a designer I have been involved with Pantone for some time, often with a quizzical attitude due to the impossibility of naming and numbering every single possible color (I never seem to find Pantone numbers for the colors I choose!).  And yet I have the privilege of writing for Pantone View, their quite wonderful online magazine about color, and I have a great time doing it.  I love color.  I often have said that an artist (or designer) can't afford to love or hate any color -- it is all about context.  So, here all week I have been digesting the news about Radiant Orchid, Pantone's Color of the Year for 2014.  (18-3224 TPX)  Oh, dear, not my favorite color.

from PantoneView.com

But!  now there is an opportunity to be challenged!  I am not very interested in overtly following trends but there is something of a thrill in taking on a difficult subject (orchid?) and making it work in something beautiful.

I remember many years ago working on a commission for a very highly respected interior designer in Chicago.  One of the women on her team was examining a tapestry I was presenting, and landed her beautifully manicured nail on a spot of color in the piece and uttered, with barely disguised contempt, "Pink?"  It really was a kind of orchid/fuschia pink, as I recall.

Yet what would this piece be without it?  So I am going to play with this one.  Slip it in, here and there.  Use it as a witticism, or a little hint of passion.  Watch this space.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Houston International Quilt Market 2013

A week ago I was in Houston, Texas, finishing up 3 days of introducing my new collection of quilting weight fabrics, Lush Harvest, with Troy Corporation’s Riverwoods International brand.    A year ago I went down to the legendary trade show to spend time with Renaissance Ribbons, who manufacture and distribute my LFN Textiles Artist’s Ribbons line, and strolled around shopping for someone who could produce quilt weight fabrics with my designs.  Dorothy Troy stepped up to the job and was delighted to take on the new vegetable designs and text-based towels I had been working on, and now here they are!
That isn’t the real story here, though.  In order to gear up for this new market I have had to take a steep learning curve.  Being a textile and ribbon designer is not the same thing as being a designer of fabrics intended to be cut up and made into pieced items!  Some crossover is there, of course, but there is always the context of how the fabric to be used to be grappled with.  So instead of waiting demurely in my booth to speak with potential new customers, I kept venturing out to try to get a feel of what goes on here.
I took away a fantastic impression of intensive activity.  What a complex network of creativity goes into this business!  You have the people like me, who design repeat pattern.  You have the fabric companies who get that fabric manufactured and distributed to the retail shops (who come from all over the WORLD to buy).  You have the professional pattern designers who delight in contriving new ways to cut up and piece these various fabrics into sometimes traditional, sometimes modern, compositions.  You have the publishers, selling books and patterns to showcase the work of the pattern makers.  And you have to have very deep pockets and a genius for display to catch anyone’s eye in this hugely kaleidoscopic arena.
Herein I will simply post photos of some of the marvels I saw, starting with my own humble first effort.

Aardvark quilt patterns

Andover Fabrics

Blue Underground, quilt patterns and fabric line for Troy

Kaffe Fassett art quilt

Kaffe Fassett art quilt

Kaffe Fassett for Westminster

Kaffe Fassett for Westminster

Kaffe Fassett

Modern Quilt Studio patterns and books

Aardvark quilt patterns

Weeks Dye Works, hand dyed fibers & fabrics

Aardvark Quilt Patterns

Andover Fabrics

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Starry Night Hollow for Troy

Weeks Dye Works hand dyed threads