We’re excited to share our interview with designer Joel Dewberry about his new book, Joel Dewberry’s Sewn Spaces: Fresh and Modern Projects for Your Life and Home. Joel brings the fantastic design aesthetic we’ve come to love in his fabrics to new projects in his book. We have ten copies of the book to give you lots of chances to WIN one today. Leave your comment on today’s post (tell us about your love of Joel’s prints, the first project from the book you’d tackle, thoughts on Joel’s collections, etc.) for your chance to win Joel Dewberry’s Sewn Spaces: Fresh and Modern Projects for Your Life and Home. We’ll announce winners on Monday (including winners for the Berry Season Fat Quarter Designer Pack— which features some of Joel’s Modern Meadow collection– too).
Sew,Mama,Sew!: Congratulations on the publication of your new book, Joel Dewberry’s Sewn Spaces: Fresh and Modern Projects for Your Life and Home! We loved seeing your beautiful fabric collections in action, in projects throughout the book. Do you have a personal favorite project from the book?
Joel Dewberry: My favorite project from my book would have to be the bird sachet project. For one of the smaller projects included, it sure demanded a lot of our time and attention, as we refined the shape through trial and error and added details like the embroidered wings and beaded eyes. Perhaps all the time I spent on it contributed to my fondness for these charming little friends that have worked out brilliantly as pin cushions, pattern weights, decorative embellishments, gifts, ornaments, and aromatic sachets. The ease of their creation also makes them appealing for a quick and satisfying project that can be completed in an evening.
SMS: Are any of the projects ones you give as gifts yourself or have in your own home?
Joel: Absolutely! Selfishly, we multipurposed our efforts to ensure we included projects that we loved enough to share as gifts, to include as decorative elements in our home, and to incorporate as elements in our efforts to host a dinner party or family event. Honestly, every project has been adopted into the Dewberry home and now plays its part while bringing us a little extra satisfaction knowing we had a hand in its creation and it is one of a kind. It is particularly rewarding to see
my wife Laurie retrieve her yoga bag from the closet prior to her morning yoga session or to watch my daughters fuss over one of the many teddy bears that are a result of our refining process. There is always a new function for the pocket on the bear’s tummy; an iPod holder, piggy bank, treasure keeper, baby bear pouch, and snack tray to name a few.
SMS: We loved the Teddy Bear project, naturally, and Apron and Bird Sachet are on our “must-make” list too. Where did your design inspiration come from for the projects in the book?
Joel: My design inspiration was driven by the idea of adding a little personal flare to various aspects of our lives. It has been our philosophy, Laurie and I, to enrich life with a personal touch whenever possible. Sometimes the speed of life demands we be efficient and settle for the mundane, but whenever possible we make the attempt to create things ourselves. We enjoy improving on the good that is out there and letting others know how much we care by “custom creating” especially for them.
SMS: Many of the projects take advantage of the wonderful graphic silhouettes we appreciate in your fabrics. Projects like the Pocket Memo Board with the appliqué designs and the Glass-Etched Fabric Art so beautifully utilize the templates (provided in the book). Do you always try to integrate strong graphic elements in your work?
Joel: I wouldn’t say I purposely try to integrate strong graphic silhouettes, I just kind of end up there. I have to admit I am very fond of the simplicity and purity expressed in a beautifully contrasting silhouette. I believe it often reveals a detail that may otherwise be overlooked in a flower, a bird, or other design. In the book, I had many opportunities to implement this technique. One of my most memorable projects for this was the glass etched fabric art. I loved the effect achieved by glass etching the simple silhouetted forms. It was amazing how, even without color, such a stunning look could be achieved. The subtle manipulation of the glass surface with a distinctive silhouette created a sense of depth and beauty I was delighted with. I guess you could say strong graphic elements are a part of my design palette that help me to achieve my signature style, Eclectic Modern.
SMS: What’s next for you?
Joel: It’s always hard to say what is around the corner. In addition to new fabric collections on the horizon, Laurie and I are working feverishly on releasing our first sewing patterns. We are just a couple of weeks away from having the printed, tested, ready to ship patterns in our hands. We had no idea of the undertaking we were getting into, but we are ecstatic with the result.
SMS: Can you tell us about upcoming fabric collections?
Joel: Sorry, I must refrain. For the time being, I prefer to keep it a secret except to say that it is my goal to stun the industry with a beautiful new collection, booth, and other extraordinary product range at spring market 2011 in Salt Lake City. We are preparing diligently now and I hope to see you there!
In the interim, I will be releasing some exciting new color palettes of some my most popular designs including the Aviary Sparrow design, the Aviary Woodgrain design, and my signature damask to name a few. We expect these new designs to be available later this Fall.
Thanks so much, Joel! Remember readers, comment for your chance to win one of ten copies of Joel’s new book!