art gallery fabrics
AGF Limited Edition, Fabrics with Purpose
Interview with Sara Lawson, the City Living Lover

Interview with April Rhodes, the Dreamer, Crafter, Wife and Mother!

Hi everyone!

When I was introduced to Limited Edition, I knew right away I wanted to interview the collaborating designers and share it here on the blog so that you guys could get to know more about them and their respective collections.

The first designer I had the pleasure to chat with was April Rhodes. This very talented woman that can’t live without a creative outlet, designed the collection Arizona for our Limited Edition project, which is inspired by tribal and Native American prints. 

Get to know April and fall in love with her collection, Arizona: AprilIG

Q: What's the story and inspiration behind your collection?

A: The short story is that I LOVE tribal and Native American prints, combined with simplicity and geometry. I have been surrounded by Native American art from as early as I can remember. My father and grandmother, both artists, drew much of their personal inspiration from this same source. I’ve wanted to use simple tribal prints for garments but found that what I was looking for wasn’t readily available in our industry. So, when AGF asked me to collaborate with them under the Limited Edition concept I knew exactly what I wanted to create for fabric. I took my love of native design and my fantasy of a nomadic, bohemian life in the South West and put that into printed form.

Q: What does the AGF Limited Edition concept mean to you, and what mood or point of view have you brought into this project?

A: The Limited Edition concept is a very freeing idea. AGF has trusted me to express myself through my designs. It’s a dream come true! I hope that I have produced a unique and inspiring collection that excites the modern crafter who wants to sew everything from quilts, to home decor, bags and apparel. The line, as a whole, is very romantic, yet I have tried to offer several gender neutral prints. I definitely bring a modern and edgy point of view.

Q: How did your collaboration with AGF come about?

A: Pat Bravo contacted me with a fun proposal and her call couldn’t have come at a better time. I was on the fence about another project, debating signing a very binding contract with a heavy heart. Pat and I chatted via Skype and I instantly knew that I would politely say “no” to the other idea and “YES” to this amazing opportunity!!!

Q: How has your experience been working alongside Art Gallery Fabrics on this project?

A: Working with AGF has been wonderful! I’ve learned so much from Pat and her team. For example my Adobe Illustrator skills were limited, but while working with Pat I learned to use tools I already had in a brand new way. I have felt encouraged and welcomed and I can’t wait to show my work along side them at Quilt Market this Spring.

Q: Describe your creative process when designing fabric.

A: When designing this line I began by journaling and gathering inspiration. I sketched and wrote quite a bit. I made a secret pin board. I studied my favorite fabrics from other designers and asked myself what it was that I loved about those prints. I studied the shape of objects and looked at all types of things, from pottery, to Native American symbols, quilt patterns, bathroom floor tiles and my children’s toys. I thought a lot about what I would be making from these fabrics and as I designed I was sure to try all my ideas. I edited, added, recolored. It was so fun and minutes quickly turned to hours while I worked on each print!

Q: Can you choose your favorite print from the collection and tell us why it's your favorite?

A: My favorite print would have to be Desert Blanket, because it reminds me of my youngbohemian self who wanted to travel to the South West in a pickup truck with a patterned blanket over the bench seat. A single suitcase and my camera in tow. Ready to ride horses and watch the sunset... I wanted to be a cowgirl and Arizona was my dream destination. In addition to the sentiment, I also think this print is very versatile. It would make a beautiful full skirt or a whole-cloth quilt. It’s perfect for large bags or throw pillows, and it would even be fun to cut up into small patchwork pieces.

Q: What's the one thing you can't live without?

A: A creative outlet! I absolutely must have time for making, sewing, writing, editing, curating... doing. I don’t sit easily and I can’t have idle hands!

Q: What other designers, makers or artists inspire your work?

A: I draw direct inspiration from the un-named artists, and creators of ancient Native American designs. As for modern creative, I am very inspired by Hannah Ferrara of Another Feather, a jewelry artist with an amazing eye for shapes and light, and Ariel Alasko, a woodworker who makes the most incredible patterns with salvaged lumber, her work looks like wooden quilts. I really admire Karyn Valino, owner of The Workroom, for her amazing sense of color and clean simplicity. I adore everything she makes. ... I draw inspiration from all of these women, as well as the many diverse and talented fabric designers: Anna Maria Horner, Leah Duncan, Rashida Coleman Hale, Carolyn Friedlander, Sarah Watson, Amy Butler, I could go on and on... we have such an amazing community of makers!!!

Q: How do you stay on top of current design trends?

A: I love to shop. Even if I’m just browsing, I frequently pop into my favorite local boutiques as well as Anthropologie and others shops like that. I snatch up all the crafty magazines I can get my hands on, especially Mollie Makes! Plus, I also love connecting through Instagram and Pinterest!

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or philosophy you live by?

A: "Cherish your visions.Cherish your ideals. Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. For out of them will grow all delightful conditions, if you but remain true to them, your world will at last be built."

James Allen, As A Man Thinketh

Q: What are you up to when you're not sewing or designing?

A: Most often you’ll find me cuddling my little girls, or singing and dancing around the house. I enjoy antiquing, home decor DIY and rearranging my furniture. I dabble in photography and I love to read a good mystery. As a family we love to camp and explore our national parks and little historic towns.

Q: Do you have any other upcoming projects lined up for 2014?

A: I plan on traveling to visit some shops in Denver this Spring, then maybe more in the Fall. I hope to teach more classes and women’s workshops. Also, I have a few more patterns in the pipeline.... but mainly I want to make time to sew personal projects, for myself, my girls and our home... and to expand my quilting skills and maybe even finish some of my UFOs!

Hope you enjoyed our chat and thanks for reading!