Today we’re traveling to sunny Berlin, Germany to meet designer, author and maker Anda Corrie of the wildly popular Spoonflower shop, anda. Her instantly recognizable smiling characters and motifs are a big hit in the Marketplace. As she puts it, “Almost everything I draw ends up with a face—my inner world is totally anthropomorphized.” Her biggest project this year? Writing the brand new The Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book featuring 34 DIYs organized by the size of fabric needed (from swatches and fat quarters to multi-yard projects). Jump ahead to watch our interview with Anda in her Berlin studio, Like a Dream. This designer feature could not get any more fun!
My day starts with…
“Dragging my kids out of bed, and lots of black coffee. Then I head to my studio, invent an errand to run, or meet a friend at a cafe because I don’t feel like the day has started until I go outside.”
When I’m in my studio, I feel…
“Calm and blissfully analog—we don’t have wifi there and it’s magical.”
What inspires you?
“Vintage children’s book illustration or educational materials, old books, toys, weird signs…my husband and I are voracious image collectors. Our apartment and studio (Like a Dream) are crammed with tchotchkes and souvenirs and found objects.”
When I was a child…
“I was one of those children who made stuff all of the time, for as long as I can remember. I can’t really do anything without approaching it from a design perspective; I actually am cursed with this career.”
What’s in your toolbox?
“For digital work, it’s just my lil iPad, Apple Pencil and Procreate. I also use Google Drive so I can work anywhere I want.”
Pro Tip: Check out Anda’s step-by-step tutorial on how to create seamless repeats using Procreate!
What is your process when creating a new design?
“If I don’t already have an idea or a prompt, I just draw a circle or solid blob of color and go from there. Almost everything I draw ends up with a face—my inner world is totally anthropomorphized. I work mainly on the iPad so I can save what I’ve made and then immediately upload to Spoonflower without leaving my couch.”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“I like to dress in solid colors then add one weird and usually oversized accessory. Giant earrings, an enormous scarf, or a huge boxy jacket. I have a jacket and coat obsession. Thankfully I live somewhere north enough to provide me with lots of weather.”
What drew you to Spoonflower?
“I discovered Spoonflower in 2008 and still remember being so excited about the concept. The ability to create custom fabric in small batches is what has kept me addicted for 10 years. I never seem to run out of new uses for it.”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is…
“I authored my first ever book, The Spoonflower Quick-Sew Project Book!”
How did you find inspiration for the book?
“I have an endlessly long list of project ideas based on stuff I’ve seen in the world and then thought, ‘hm, I could make that!’ I had been trying to find the time to design a faux bear rug for basically four years. The first half of the book I wrote while on holiday in Portugal. I’d be in a vintage shop and saw some old pop-up cone puppets and freaked out; ‘Ooh, cone puppets! I can make that for the book!” Then I’d sit on the beach all afternoon with an iPad, mentally cutting and sewing projects. When I got home to Berlin, I had to then go make everything—and fix all the problems that came with trying to write tutorials without any fabric or tools around on holiday.”
What are your favorite projects from the book?
“As mentioned above, I love the bear rug just because I finished it. I like the entire notions section because homemade notions and the concept of recycling your sewing scraps is really dear to me. And the play mat, mini banner and school chart poster—these are three projects that let you dive into basic fabric design. I am a total Spoonflower evangelist, always trying to convince people that anyone can make fabric, even if you think you can’t draw.”
Where else would you love to see your designs?
“Top of my list are rugs, knit sweaters, gift wrap and wall murals. It is too hard to choose between all the surfaces.”
The secret to a strong collection is…
“A thrilling color palette paired with an interesting motif…I think.”
My mantra is…
“When I am worried about something I tell myself, ‘someday, it will be the day after….‘ then fill in the blank with the deadline, talk, event, or whatever looming thing that is freaking me out. I find a lot of creative stress has its root in the fear of a negative outcome. I usually sort of ask myself, ‘what would John Cage do?‘, and then stop overthinking and just work.”
For someone new to trying the design challenge, what advice would you give them?
“Use the design challenges as a creative prompt and promise yourself you’ll enter as many as you can—they are so great as a weekly practice and really keep your work from falling into a rut; even if you don’t win.”
Inspired to get creating? Check out Anda’s tutorial for making Cut-and-Sew Matryoshka Doll costumes for kids!