Guest Post: Meet Tara at Art Tree Designs

Hello, dear readers!  I am still away on vacation, and I have another guest post for you today.  Tara is a very dear friend of mine from college.  We played two of the Mundy sisters in a production of Dancing at Lughnasa and have called each other "sister" ever since!  Tara has several businessy things going on in her life:  she writes kids' books, sells items via Zazzle and Society6, and designs and sells fabric via Spoonflower.  In fact, she is here to tell you about Spoonflower today.  (FYI:  I make no money from my blog, so this is not a sponsored post.  This is a friend doing me a favor by filling in, and telling you a bit about herself and something she loves.)  - Danzel 

Thank you, Danzel, for asking me to guest post on your fabulous blog!!  How could I say no to that?!  I can't even tell you how many times I have taken notes or highlighted a post that you have shared so that I can turn around and share the wealth of information with my kids.  You know how they always say that you know you have a good friend by how you feel when you leave them after a visit...well I always leave your posts with skip in my step and a smile on my face.  I leave feeling inspired.  

Okay, so for my fifteen minutes I thought I would share with you all a fabulous site called Spoonflower.  Spoonflower is a place online where you can design your own fabric, wallpaper, decals and gift wrap.  They are located in Durham, North Carolina and over the last few years have created a large community of artists and buyers from all over the world.  You can choose to be a designer or a buyer and you can choose to make your designs public or private. Click here at Art Tree Designs to view my shop, so that you can see how it's all set up.  

I started doing this over a year ago because being a stay-at-home mom with three kids under the age of seven, I needed an outlet.  I needed a creative outlet bad!  I have always had an interest in fabric design so I went searching and stumbled across Spoonflower.  Every week, they have contests which are so much fun to do.  The contests have helped inspire many of the fabric designs that I have for sale in my shop.  This is my design titled Synchronized Fireflies that I have entered into the Fireflies Contest that is currently going on at Spoonflower.

Synchronized Fireflies by Art Tree Designs


To vote you do not have to be a member.  You just go online to Spoonflower's site and scroll over Connect and then click on weekly contest and vote for your favorites.  If you would like to go straight to the contest page you can click here.  The contests are a great way to see other designers work and also to see the different designs that people come up with when given a theme.  

The cool thing was that when I started doing this, I began noticing that my kids were paying a lot of attention to what I was doing.  I would be on the computer designing in Photoshop and look over to see them at their desks with a piece of paper drawing their own designs. They would run over to me all excited, asking what I thought of them. So it got me thinking why not put some of their work out there.  Here is my daughter Kate's design titled Apple Pie.  She drew the apples which I scanned onto the computer and then in Photoshop, brightened the colors and added the text.

Apple Pie by Art Tree Designs


Spoonflower has a connection with a group called PicMonkey. When you become a member, which it is free to do so, you can then create and click on custom fabric.  From there you can either download your design that you previously worked on in photoshop or you can create a design using the features from PicMonkey.  I usually choose fat quarter for the kids to create their designs.  There are so many colors and shapes and special effects to choose from.  

You will need to be there at first to guide the kids by letting them know of all their choices and showing them how to click and drag the images.  On the side you'll see hearts, stars, nautical, bubbles and, my kids' most favorite of all, facial hair.  They think that option is just hysterical.  After they are completely done creating their design, you click save and that will take it to your design library.  There you can set the design to be on repeat, half-drop, half-brick, center or mirror.  Then you can adjust the size of the images to be smaller and then save the layout.  Under marketing and selling, you can title your design, give a description, give tags and decide if you want the design to be in your public gallery.  

This can be hours of entertainment for the kiddos, and the best part is it is a no mess kind of art day.  Everything is done on the computer.  If you and your kids love what they have created and you would like to see it on fabric, all you have to do is add it to your cart.  You can purchase a test swatch, fat quarter or one yard on your fabric of choice.  I think for the kids especially seeing something that they design actually become something is truly the best part of it all.
  


When I first started at Spoonflower, I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at how the community treated each other and how I would be treated.  Fortunately those fears quickly disappeared.  The support from the team at Spoonflower and the support from fellow designers and buyers is truly amazing.  The comments that you receive are supportive and kind.  Most of the time if there is a glitch in my work I will receive an email from a fellow designer offering constructive criticism.  I've learned so much just by seeing and admiring what others create.  One very popular designer at Spoonflower named Ottomanbrim is a fine example.  She creates such fascinating and unique designs and her textures are amazing.  Here is one of her designs titled Crossing.

Crossing by Ottomanbrim


If any of you are interested in joining Spoonflower and you have questions, please by all means contact me.  I feel like I have been given such a gift to create with this group that I want to shout it out to the world!  My email address is arttreedesigns@hotmail.com.  You can also reach me through my Art Tree Designs Facebook Page and my blog at http://arttreedesigns.blogspot.com.  I would be so happy to share what I have learned and be there to support anyone who has a mutual interest in fabric design.  Any questions that you have I will do my very best to answer.  Thanks again, Danzel, for letting me take up a little space here on Silver Shoes & Rabbit Holes!  It was such an honor to be asked! :) 

Awww, Tara, you're so sweet!  Thank you so much for all your kind words.  And thank you so much for helping with my blog this week!  And thanks for sharing your talent with us!  

As I say every Friday, Merry Weekend!  Happy Reading! 

Comments

  1. This is a very interesting concept! I am looking forward to try this activity with my kid! Thank you for posting about it!

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  2. Awesome Jane! If you have any questions please contact me. I'd be happy to help! :) -Tara

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  3. Thank you, Danzel! This was fun!

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