This week, we’re beyond excited to introduce maker Elisabeth Wing, creator of Wingmade based out of Gilbert, AZ. Elisabeth’s life and creative passion is the heart of family, and as such her specialty is custom family portrait illustration. Her love of product design and sewing means that Elisabeth also turns her illustrations into colorful soft goods such as quilts, wall hangings, pillows and just about anything else she and her customers dream up together. We’re big fans of Wingmade here at Spoonflower and in fact, at least three team members have commissioned family portraits from Elisabeth because they truly are a beautiful and sentimental gift to cherish. Read below to find out what inspires Elisabeth and marvel at her stunning family-focused creations.
My day starts with…
“Pretending that I’m still asleep for 10 minutes while checking my inbox and news. I usually try to curl up with my 3-year-old and listen to her musings for a few minutes before overseeing breakfast while my boys ‘make their own lunches’ for the day. Morning sounds consist of the Vitamix spinning, my boys practicing piano and me reminding kids to put on sunscreen.”
I fell in love with making goods when…
“I was in college studying Product (Industrial) Design at BYU in Provo, Utah. I loved the process of brainstorming to solve a problem, sketching my ideas, and then ultimately creating a product from scratch. It was exhilarating to learn woodworking, plastics, welding and 3D modeling!”
What’s in your toolbox as a maker?
“I start by using pencil and paper for rough sketches of proportion. Then I throw it down on my iPad Pro and take it into Photoshop for fine-tuning and to create the repeating pattern. I have a rock star Brother sewing machine that has been known to sew through three layers of leather like a boss! There are also seam rippers…lots of seam rippers. They get lost and then show up right after I’ve bought a new one, of course. I inherited several tin mint boxes from my dad, which make the best storage containers for pins and clamps!”
When I’m in my studio/workplace, I feel…
“At peace and like time stands still. One hour feels like one minute. I’ve heard that when you are using the right side of your brain for creative work, the left side of your brain (the side responsible for keeping track of time and other important things) temporarily turns off. This would explain why I’m always shocked when my kids get home from school!”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is:
“Having the confidence to tell people about my work. I have always felt self-conscious talking about what I do, but I’ve learned that being proud of your work isn’t tacky — it’s necessary to be successful! You have to be your biggest fan. So there’s that, and I’m also having my fourth baby in a few weeks, which will be a big accomplishment too!”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?
“The family bond is the heart and inspiration of my business. I began illustrating families and printing them on fabric because of the emotional reaction that process evokes in me, as well as in the recipient of my work. Communicating with people about their families and hearing their stories makes me feel more aware and alive.”
“The first family fabric blanket I made was a gift for a friend whose sweet baby girl only lived a week due to a preexisting heart condition. The family knew early in the pregnancy that they would only have a short time with her and showed her unbelievable love during the time they had together. I felt desperate to make something that would bring them even just a small amount of comfort. At the time, I’d just learned about Spoonflower, which offered me an avenue to print my illustration of their family onto fabric. So my first family fabric blanket was born in an effort to celebrate their baby’s life. I felt like the repeating pattern represented my belief that family is forever. Ultimately, illustrating families also helps me remember to focus more on my own.”
Before starting a small business, I was told:
“That if you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone. To me this means that you have to be authentic. Create a style, let it evolve as needed and then shout it out from the rooftops! Your people will find you. Okay, I have a little bit of work to do on that last point, but being featured here is a great start! Also, your work should be something you would be happy doing even if you didn’t make any money, because at first you are definitely doing it for free!”
How does Spoonflower meet your business needs?
“When I learned that I could print my own designs on fabric I lost my mind with excitement! I immediately started learning how to create my own repeating patterns and fell in love with the process of pattern design. Being able to order 1-2 yards of fabric or less at a time has been perfect for creating my custom family fabric quilts and pillow faces. I also depend on Spoonflower to get wider widths than the standard 44 inches.”
What has been an important resource to you as a small business owner and why?
“My photographer Melissa Maxwell has been a lifesaver. Good product photography is the best way to show your audience that you have a good product. Adobe Suite skills and editing capabilities have also been crucial to my art.”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“I love handmade accessories, clothing and art that carry meaning and are simple and classic. For example, I commissioned a delicate opal necklace on a long chain from Diamond Jane Jewelry that goes with almost any top. I also own a pair of maroon ankle boots that remind me of a pair of shoes my mom had growing up.”
My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is:
Has Elisabeth captured your heart the way she’s captured ours? Keep up with Wingmade’s adventures on Instagram and stay on top of her latest creations on her website. You’ll definitely want to bookmark this one!