81 Birds Of A Color: Vote for your favorite feathered fabrics (Fabric Of the Week)

JAN 7, 2010 updated May 30, 2016

A few of the designs in this week's Birds contest - vote!

Click here to vote in our Bird-Fabric Challenge The challenge this week was to create a fabric design using 'birds' as a motif, and employing a color palette we specified (pictured at right). While most of the eighty-one participating designers embraced the limitations of our guidelines as a way to spur their creativity, a few opted to meander in their own directions. We didn't eliminate any of the entries for bending the rules. As always in our contests, it's up to you all to decide which of these designers you feel was most inspired. As you look through the entries this week, I think you'll agree that this is one of our best contests yet.

To access the voting page (all four of the voting pages, actually), click here.

We've made a change this week in how we eliminate duplicate votes so this week, for the first time, you'll be able to go back to the contest to look at the entries without getting locked out by a browser cookie that says you've already voted. If you do go back, be aware that the pages, as well as the individual designs on each page, will load in a different order each time you visit the survey. So the best plan is still to try to push through and do all your voting in one visit.

The talented folks sharing their work with us this week are:

  1. Aimee Elisabeth: Cardinal
  2. Ali_C: quail_2
  3. Alisha Humphrey: A spotty dotty bird
  4. amberbop: Going to the Birds
  5. Amy possum: Bird With Babies
  6. András Csilléry: Exbirds
  7. Angela McGrew: Apples and Birds
  8. Annelie H: birdmusic
  9. Antonia Manda: two hens
  10. carey perez: birdfabric12-09.tif
  11. Cynthia Reynolds: kissing birds
  12. Cynthia Strickland: MorningSong
  13. Deborah Mote: Birdnest
  14. Denise: Tweeting
  15. Eleonore Lafleur: Série de Mésanges – Bird Theme Submission
  16. Elizabeth Goodspeed: Chirp
  17. Elizabeth McKenzie: duck…duck…GOOSE!!!
  18. Emily Tyers: Bird Repeat 3
  19. Ginger Leigh: Miss Mess-Hen Extraordinaire
  20. Gretchen Little: Little Gold Bird
  21. Gretchen Schroeder: Flowers, Birds and Swirls
  22. Helen Klebesadel: Salt Crows
  23. hongphi nguyen: crane gems
  24. JamJax: JamJax 850A Aloof
  25. Jen Addotta: Birds Bees & Butterflies
  26. Jeni Paltiel: Swalloweave
  27. Jo Clarke: bird
  28. Joe Kraus-Hales: Bird With Worm
  29. Jone Hallmark: Jone's Yellow Birds
  30. Jordan Duff: Birds
  31. Julie Arnold: MotherHen
  32. Julie Shaw: Birdsong
  33. June Jewell: Winter Cardinal
  34. kari: Birds
  35. Kathy Howard: A crystal bird 004
  36. Kati Meden: Vogel & Erdbeere (Türkis)
  37. Kelly Grooters: Bird Circle
  38. Kenan Fulks (ironage): Fågel
  39. Kerry Youde: It takes 2 to tango
  40. Kim Lennox: birdslovesky
  41. Kolleen Fortenberry: Enjoying the Sunshine
  42. L.M. Davies: Winter Cardinal
  43. Laura Powell: Spoonflower_Bird
  44. Lee Heinrich: Peacock Paisley
  45. Leora Effinger: Birds of a Feather
  46. Lisa Ackermann: uncaged
  47. Lisa Howard: Illusive flocks
  48. Lori Howe: Loon in Contest colors
  49. Lucy Daigle: Back To Bird
  50. magpi: blackbird
  51. Malinda Lloyd: Regal Red and Green
  52. Maritess Madrinan: Young Love Birds
  53. Mary: Bird Challenge
  54. Mary Brewer: Lovebirds
  55. Meghan: Chipper Birds
  56. Melia Newman: Retro Birds and Dots 2
  57. Melissa Hiester: Birds in the Bush
  58. meredithjean: Blissing Bird
  59. Nadine Westcott: BLACK BIRD
  60. Nalo Hopkinson: Go Back And Get It
  61. Paul Moschell: Birdie
  62. Payal: Patterned Birds
  63. Rachel Galloway: Yellow Love Birds
  64. Rebecca Sobas: Among the Branches
  65. Renule: Spoonflower Birds
  66. Sarah Melancon: Birds of Paradise
  67. Shirlene Perini: Folk Art Birds
  68. Sophia Barras: peppermint_patty_copy_copy
  69. Star Primm: bird wreath brown
  70. Stephanie K: birdbranch
  71. Sue: SPOONFLOWER_BIRDS_PATTERN_TWO
  72. Susanne Krogh-Hansen: bySukro Birds
  73. Sylvia Ion: Baby's First Flight
  74. tomatojam: Birds And Flowers
  75. Vanessa Carnevale: Cheepy Birdie
  76. vicki jenkins: crow_and_berry_digital_enhanced_birdcontest
  77. Victoria Lasher: vll cardinal 1
  78. vo: winter_harvest
  79. Webicka: SUMMER MUSIC
  80. Wilma Boekholt: flying birds
  81. Yih Chwen Poh: Ducklings and Chicklings

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20 comments

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  • Turukhtan, I use most of the criteria you use for my votes in each contest. I’m looking at them functional fabric design.
    I envision using it as a fabric to sew: Is the design one way? Is is making the best use of all of the fabric? Are the colors useable in wardrobe or decor? (this last contest was difficult for me because I didn’t like the color scheme, I barely used the green).
    I loved the winner of this last contest…the design. I disliked the placement and size of the design as it wastes a lot of fabric unless you use it for curtains. It’s a clean design, it deserved to win (imho) for straight up design but leaves a lot to be desired as a piece of multi-functional fabric.
    There were other designs that I felt met the whole cloth criteria that I have in my head…but either voters are not looking at the whole of the cloth or I’m being too strict. I find it interesting I have a whole bunch of criteria that I use when assessing fabric design.

  • Also, I’ll add that even though the boundaries can be a bit blurry sometimes, fabric design is artisanry, not fine art.
    This is what I look for when I choose which designs to vote for, and what I personally think makes for good fabric design:
    1. How original is the design (generic vector graphics and all too common illustration styles are out) – and how much character and “soul” does it have?
    2. How well does it repeat? (Just smacking the same graphic/artwork in a row, with no relation within the design to what is on the other side of its edge, is usually out, unless it’s an ingeniously simple design that works great that way. Repeats that look stilted and lack “flow” are out.)
    3. Does the fabric look good both close up, when you can see all the details, and from afar, when you can only see the general shapes and colours?
    4. How could it be used? (The more versatile a design is, the better it is in my book.)

  • If I have understood it correctly, the folks at Spoonflower can and do reject designs that they feel do not adhere enough to the contest rules. Then the “people’s vote” here decides who wins, and if the majority thinks the rules are important, only an obviously rulebreaking design that is really stunning can win.
    For other analogue artists like myself, I’d like to point out that it’s quite possible to adjust the colours of your scanned images in Photoshop so that they do correspond (more) with the given swatches. Think of it as something like a commission for a company that wants these very colours in a fabric design that will fit with a line of various matching products.
    I personally didn’t take part in this contest because I don’t particularly like this colour scheme. Simple as that. 🙂

  • oh… I was a TOTAL rule breaker… Sorry.. I make my fabrics from my paintings that take me days and sometimes weeks to finish… not graphics or retro inspired already has been done designs. So when a contest is posted, it is very difficult for me to produce the theme AND color palette in such a short amount of time. So… sorry to those who are struggling with the rule breakers… I can kind of understand your frustration. but then again… I have been breakin’ the rules my whole life~ and I kinda love it. 🙂

  • Thanks for the reply Stephen. I’ve already changed my ways and am designing larger to accomodate the fat quarter view. I’m also planning to upload 2 versions of my designs: 1 for contests and 1 for people who prefer smaller prints. I’m also stating in the comments of my newer designs that all designs are available to be resized.


  • In the majority of cases, the fat quarter shows the design to better advantage than the swatch — which is why we use the fat quarter preview for the contests. Using the fat quarter size is a disadvantage for 20-25% of the designs that become too small to be able to see well. For most of the designs, using a swatch size doesn't allow you to really see the effect of the repeated image. We are very aware of the limitations of doing it this way, but unfortunately it's better than any other approach available to us at this time. If you are designing a fabric specifically for the contest, it's a good idea to keep in mind that it will need to be something that previews well at a fat quarter size.

  • In terms of size, how about changing the contest so that all contest entries be sized for a swatch instead of fat quarters. That allows for smaller or more intricate prints to be seen better and would only exclude larger designs greater than 8 inches. Large scale designs could have their own contests. This might help designers also think about scale and repeats.
    I’m thinking that (generally) smaller scaled designs sell more often than larger ones and holding the design size to 8 inches allows for (what I consider) large scale designs. Items such as calendars or 1 yard childrens clothing items would need to be called out the size parameters as it’s been done in the past.
    It’s a thought. Nothing like being stuck between a rock and a hard place, eh?

  • Well thanks for trying! I know it is frustrating when limits of the technology you are using ties your hands.
    I can always just have another window up and with the artist list and check it that way if I am that interested.


  • Sarah, we've tried to add a link to the Spoonflower design page on the polling page, but SurveyGizmo doesn't support that as an option at this point. We used to use another service that did have that option, but didn't do some other things as well. Sorry about that. I agree that it would be helpful.

  • Actually I don’t mind so much about the folks breaking the rules, but I acknowledge it is a drag when you work really hard on your own design within the rules and somebody else throws caution to the wind. The truth is we are all artists here and breaking the rules is what we do everyday. It is how great art is made.
    If someone who breaks the rules WINS, then I suppose debate is open for great wailing and gnashing of teeth. 🙂
    What I did want to say is some of the more intricate designs I am unable to see the detail which is frustrating for me. I feel like I missed out out voting for things that I might really love because I couldn’t see the design well enough. Is there a way to have a link to the public page of the artist under the entry so we can adjust out the design and see the detail in the test mode?

  • I agree with the three posts above; that a designer shouldn’t enter if they don’t want to follow the rules. I noticed the mention in the voting announcement that no one was eliminated for “bending the rules”. A couple of these designs “bent” the rules like making a paperclip “bends” a wire. I feel that allowing the designs that broke the rules in the contest, even if they get just a few votes, skews the results and isn’t fair to the people who did follow the rules.
    Personally I think it spurs more creativity to work with-in the rules; that’s part of what makes it a challenge. Only a few of the contests have had real restrictions; so lets honor them when they’re there. I know some people may have had a problem matching the colors; especially if they hand draw their designs. And they couldn’t be matched exactly by using the color chart. It was very useful to have the HEX numbers; I just typed those numbers into my program. In some cases, certain tools created varying intensities of the colors; but that was allowed.

  • There are a lot of great entries this week! Has never been so many I want to vote for…..but I do agree with those above about the rules. PLEASE do not enter a design that doesn’t follow the rules, in this case the color palette.
    I kind of makes the idea of a contest meaningless…..

  • I’m afraid I found out about this contest too late to enter, but I didn’t let that stop me from making a bird design with the color pallet! LOL!
    I agree with the poster above – I noticed several none color pallet designs submitted as well, and one of those non color related designs not only was the wrong color but had no birds either! I wonder, since Spoonflower has several contests to enter at once, if maybe they submitted their designs via the wrong form?

  • PLEASE, If you cannot use the required colors, enter a different contest. I almost voted for a great design that had all kinds of colors in it. It will not be fair if that one wins. Several others did not follow the color rule either. There would be fewer designs to view if only those who follow the rules would enter. This is a colors contest — not just a bird contest. It may take a little longer but I am suggesting again that you only vote for designs that follow the rules since Spoonflower probably doesn’t have time to screen every entry. Thanks.

  • I can’t find the fabric that is pictured in the bottom row middle of the compilation of bird fabric when I go to vote. Can anyone tell me what number it is on the list above?Tx.