This is the seventh and penultimate in our series of profiles of the eight finalists in the Fabric8 contest, a competition from Spoonflower and Robert Kaufman Fabrics to discover a handful of the world's best amateur textile designers. Today we're featuring artist and designer Linda Mahoney. Enjoy, and look for our final interview post at the end of the week!
Butterflygarden by Mahoneybee, Linda Mahoney
I was born in Texas, USA, and now I split my time between Texas and New Mexico. I spend a lot of my time doing different types of artwork and taking photos. You can see an online art gallery of my work here. Spending time with my husband, family and our miniature schnauzer gives me utmost joy. Sneaking in a little time to read or listen to audio books while painting fills in the cracks.
I’ve always admired fabric and wallpaper designs and thought I would love to try my hand at it. I got a BFA in commercial art, but that was in the era BC (before computers). I am self-taught on the computer and am always looking for different challenges and opportunities to expand my artwork. I first found Spoonflower through a search engine about a year ago, and tried coming up with a few ideas, but the repeats were (and still are) somewhat of a problem for me. I didn’t get brave enough to put something out there until now.
I don’t sew and have decided to leave that to my friends who amaze me with those skills. My arts and crafts room threatens to consume me, so I keep trying to limit myself. I’m a signature member of the Colored Pencil Society of America and do free-lance artwork.
It’s so hard to narrow the field, but I loved reading The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene as an all-time favorite and more recently Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Temple Grandin and Crosscreek are two of my favorite movies. I like way too many different types of music to pick just a few favorites and the same with artists, but when it comes to fabric design, I'm inspired by William Morris and Kaffe Fassett and like to review the work of Klimt, Monet and the living artist, Joseph Raffael, from time to time.
My reaction to being in the Fabric8 top 100 was shock, and then becoming one of the 8 finalists was beyond shocking as well as humbling. I saw some beautiful, amazing work by incredibly talented designers in the top 100. Honestly, I have always been leery of contests that involve voting because I assumed you only had a chance if you had a giant and loyal social network. (A lot of my friends don’t have a clue how to navigate the Internet to even vote!) I was at home doing a quick check of email before 5:00 a.m. before I joined a friend to walk and I read it then. It jolted me right awake and I’m still smiling about it!
When I saw the theme of watercolor, pen and ink, I thought I wanted to create something a little loose to convey the feel of watercolor and include just a bit of pen and ink. I’m usually very technical with my artwork, so that was a stretch for me. I tried drawing out the elements first, but that felt too constrained, so I just did free hand work. I wanted to keep the colors bright and clear, too. I love flowers and thought of the light airy petals of poppies.
I have some ideas to develop for the rest of the collection but am not committed to them yet. I’ve been putting different colors together and am not sure which direction I will ultimately go with it. I especially like paisleys and plaids and will probably include at least one of those in my final collection.