Welcome to another edition of Spoonflower’s Meet the Designer series! This week we’re introducing surface pattern designer, Heather Dutton, who resides in the quaint coastal town of Kennebunk right on the southern tip of Maine. Heather began her career as a fashion designer in San Francisco but she quickly fell in love with designing seamless patterns in the process. Shortly after, Heather diverted her career to follow her heart launching Hang Tight Studio. We’re so happy to share Heather’s story with the community today—we know you’ll gain your own dose of inspiration.
My day starts with:
“An embarrassing amount of coffee while I check my emails and look at yummy images on Flickr, Pinterest & Instagram. Once I’m fueled up I head to the beach for a long walk with my sweet Sussex Spaniel, Gracie Mae, before I settle into my studio for a day filled with designing and Netflix binging.”
When I’m in my studio, I feel:
“Completely at home and in my ultimate happy place.”
I fell in love with design when:
“I took a surface design class when I was in art school and I remember loving it but I really fell in love with pattern design while I was working as a fashion designer in San Francisco. I would shop for patterns from large print studios and work with the in-house art department to have them design fun embellishments and prints for the garments I was designing. Being around all of that delicious fabric and pattern was really inspiring. Before I knew it, I was sketching fabric ideas more than I was sketching new fashion ideas. That was the moment that I decided to change my career and my wild journey into the world of surface design began.”
My mantra is:
“I don’t really have a mantra but I have a quote on my desk by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche that inspires me everyday : “There are no boundaries – only possibilities.”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?
“That’s a toughie because I’m inspired by so many different things… My morning walks on the beach, traveling, thrift and antique shops, being in the woods, Pinterest, Instagram. I could go on and on. I’m a bit of an inspiration junkie… the only problem is finding the time to get all of the ideas out of my head and onto paper.”
What’s in your toolbox?
“My toolbox is brimming right now because I got a subscription to ArtSnacks for Christmas last year (yay!) but my all time favorites are my sketchbook, loads of Staedtler pigment liner pens, my iPad, Apple pencil and Adobe Illustrator.”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is:
“I’ve been working hard to build up the licensing end of my business and it was a seriously big pinch-me moment when my designs made it into Urban Outfitters and American Eagle Outfitters! Weee! Both of those partnerships got me even more excited about licensing my designs and I hope that I’ll have a lot more pinch-me moments in the future.”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“I’m definitely a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl (I’m all about comfort and ease) but when it comes to style I have a serious weakness for cool jackets. In my opinion you can never have too many jackets. Ha! Ha!”
I’d love to see one of my designs turned into:
“Oooh… either a fun product line in my dream shop: Anthropologie or a line of scrapbook papers.”
The secret to a strong collection is:
“I think a strong collection begins with an incredible focal print that really draws you in and creates a mood. That print is sort of like the opening chapter in a book and it sets the tone for the rest of the collection. Carrying that same mood and style throughout the supporting prints and balancing the color palette throughout the designs is what makes a collection really shine for me.”
If I could live in a painting, it would be:
“Any painting by Janet Hill Studio. I’m completely in love with her sense of whimsy and the retro feeling of her paintings… not to mention the dreamy color palettes that she uses.”
If I could only wear one Spoonflower fabric it would be:
“That’s easy… definitely the Organic Cotton Knit Ultra. I’d be stitching up t-shirts and leggings to go under my growing jacket collection. If we’re talking designs, that’s a hard one! My list of Spoonflower fabric design favorites gets bigger every day and there are so many dreamy prints to choose from. Right now I’m crushing on Crystal Walen’s “Painted Medallions” print. It would make a seriously cool top to go with my jeans.”
If you’re not quite ready to let go of these visual treats, then find Heather on the outside by following her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. You can also see heaps more of Heather’s work by visiting her website, Hang Tight Studio.