Meet the Maker: Elisabeth Wing of Wingmade

OCT 23, 2017 updated Jun 2, 2021
Family portrait illustration by Wingmade

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.”

Elisabeth working on a lovely handmade quilt featuring her specialty: family portrait illustration

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!”

Elisabeth of Wingmade in her studio

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!”

For a truly unique family heirloom, Wingmade’s Family Fabric Throw Quilts are the perfect keepsake.

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.”

Smiles for miles! Family Fabric Throw Quilt by Wingmade

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.”

Get your own family portrait ornaments and pillows, animals included!

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.”

Arizona on Sweet Pea Gauze and winning design, Ranunculas, made into a beautiful pillow (& featured in the 2017 Fall Spoonflower Magazine!)

My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is:

Organic Cotton Sateen for my family fabric quilts and Eco Canvas for my pillow faces. I have been waiting for and LOVE the new Organic Sweet Pea Gauze as well! Can’t wait to make more with it.”

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!

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  • Elisabeth is talented beyond anyone I have ever met. Her creativity is built into her DNA. She has made beautiful illustrations of my family and they are cherished. My children sleep with their quilts and they are frequently talked about during bedtime. It is fun for children to see their own illustrations. I can’t wait to have more Wingmade items in my home!

  • I am a huge fan of Lis and her work! The quilt she made for my mother-in-law’s birthday is an absolute treasure. She’s done a couple of family illustrations for me and they are so fun and unique. She’s a joy to work with!

    • Elisabeth Wing

      Thanks for your comment. I loved working with you and your family! You and that quilt helped spread the word about my work, you’re wonderful! Thank you for the support!

    • Hi Melissa,
      That’s so great to hear you’ve worked with Lis. You’re right–her family illustrations are so unique, which is one of the many reasons why we can’t stop swooning over her work!

  • Terri RaFalik

    Congratulations. Your story is inspiring. My self-confidence is slowly growing.
    Curious, what Brother machine do you have?

    • Elisabeth Wing

      Terri, Thanks for your comment! It was great to hear from you. Run for your dreams, they await you!

      I appreciate Meredith letting you know about my machine. It has been so reliable and user friendl, and yes, very inexpensive. Good luck!!

    • Hi Terri,
      Elisabeth purchased her machine, a Brother Xr4040, almost 10 years ago on coupon for $130!

  • I have ordered from Elisabeth before and the items are some of our most cherished! We have her Christmas ornaments (which my kids LOVE) and a family motto illustration hanging in our home. Working with her was a delight and many people have commented on the beauty of her work when they see it. Her quilts are beautiful too. Highly recommend!

    • Elisabeth Wing

      Thank you so much for the comment Farrah! I loved creating those pieces for your family. Just thinking about those freckles on a certain brown eyed boy…😀