Spoonflower strives to ensure that our fabrics are good for you and good for the earth. From our low-waste digital print process and organic fabric options to paper options certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), we seek to provide products made safely and sustainably. While the textile industry is rife with sustainability problems, see how Spoonflower has worked hard to reverse this direction.
digital textile printing
Kim and I actually had to upgrade our cable package yesterday so we'll be able to watch the show, which airs on Lifetime. Maybe we'll see some of these designs on Spoonflower soon.
Details on the contest, including the rules & terms, can be viewed HERE.
Crayons. The next contest is restricted entirely to fabric designs created using wax crayons and digitized using a scanner or digital camera.
The goal is to see designs that have not benefited from a lot of digital editing or manipulation. Deadline is Monday, January 18, 2010, at noon EST.
The entry form is HERE.
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:
- Aimee Elisabeth: Cardinal
- Ali_C: quail_2
- Alisha Humphrey: A spotty dotty bird
- amberbop: Going to the Birds
- Amy possum: Bird With Babies
- András Csilléry: Exbirds
- Angela McGrew: Apples and Birds
- Annelie H: birdmusic
- Antonia Manda: two hens
- carey perez: birdfabric12-09.tif
- Cynthia Reynolds: kissing birds
- Cynthia Strickland: MorningSong
- Deborah Mote: Birdnest
- Denise: Tweeting
- Eleonore Lafleur: Série de Mésanges – Bird Theme Submission
- Elizabeth Goodspeed: Chirp
- Elizabeth McKenzie: duck…duck…GOOSE!!!
- Emily Tyers: Bird Repeat 3
- Ginger Leigh: Miss Mess-Hen Extraordinaire
- Gretchen Little: Little Gold Bird
- Gretchen Schroeder: Flowers, Birds and Swirls
- Helen Klebesadel: Salt Crows
- hongphi nguyen: crane gems
- JamJax: JamJax 850A Aloof
- Jen Addotta: Birds Bees & Butterflies
- Jeni Paltiel: Swalloweave
- Jo Clarke: bird
- Joe Kraus-Hales: Bird With Worm
- Jone Hallmark: Jone's Yellow Birds
- Jordan Duff: Birds
- Julie Arnold: MotherHen
- Julie Shaw: Birdsong
- June Jewell: Winter Cardinal
- kari: Birds
- Kathy Howard: A crystal bird 004
- Kati Meden: Vogel & Erdbeere (Türkis)
- Kelly Grooters: Bird Circle
- Kenan Fulks (ironage): Fågel
- Kerry Youde: It takes 2 to tango
- Kim Lennox: birdslovesky
- Kolleen Fortenberry: Enjoying the Sunshine
- L.M. Davies: Winter Cardinal
- Laura Powell: Spoonflower_Bird
- Lee Heinrich: Peacock Paisley
- Leora Effinger: Birds of a Feather
- Lisa Ackermann: uncaged
- Lisa Howard: Illusive flocks
- Lori Howe: Loon in Contest colors
- Lucy Daigle: Back To Bird
- magpi: blackbird
- Malinda Lloyd: Regal Red and Green
- Maritess Madrinan: Young Love Birds
- Mary: Bird Challenge
- Mary Brewer: Lovebirds
- Meghan: Chipper Birds
- Melia Newman: Retro Birds and Dots 2
- Melissa Hiester: Birds in the Bush
- meredithjean: Blissing Bird
- Nadine Westcott: BLACK BIRD
- Nalo Hopkinson: Go Back And Get It
- Paul Moschell: Birdie
- Payal: Patterned Birds
- Rachel Galloway: Yellow Love Birds
- Rebecca Sobas: Among the Branches
- Renule: Spoonflower Birds
- Sarah Melancon: Birds of Paradise
- Shirlene Perini: Folk Art Birds
- Sophia Barras: peppermint_patty_copy_copy
- Star Primm: bird wreath brown
- Stephanie K: birdbranch
- Sue: SPOONFLOWER_BIRDS_PATTERN_TWO
- Susanne Krogh-Hansen: bySukro Birds
- Sylvia Ion: Baby's First Flight
- tomatojam: Birds And Flowers
- Vanessa Carnevale: Cheepy Birdie
- vicki jenkins: crow_and_berry_digital_enhanced_birdcontest
- Victoria Lasher: vll cardinal 1
- vo: winter_harvest
- Webicka: SUMMER MUSIC
- Wilma Boekholt: flying birds
- Yih Chwen Poh: Ducklings and Chicklings
Yes, digital textile printing is terrific for photos. Pictured here is a pillow — a gift for a family member this Christmas — that I put together with the help of photos from my Flickr photostream, Picnik’s collage feature, and Kim’s sewing talents. This pillow is made from Spoonflower’s linen-cotton canvas, which makes for a nice sturdy pillow fabric, and a 16″ pillow form (from Amazon).
First I set up a front panel on Picnik with 8 rows and 8 columns of photos, which at “high” quality produces a collage image exactly 2400 pixels x 2400 pixels in size. 2400 pixels conveniently prints at 16 inches using 150 dpi. [Note that the 8×8 layout is available only to Picnik premium members, but you can do the same thing in almost any image-editing program, including the basic program that probably shipped with your digital cameras.] After setting up a back panel the same way I saved both files to my hard drive.
To save a bit of time, I used Photoshop Elements to arrange the front and back panels into a single file, leaving room for a quarter-inch seam allowance on all sides (on Kim’s advice). I uploaded that file to Spoonflower and ordered it on linen-cotton. Two 16″ panels are slightly too large to fit onto a fat-quarter of linen cotton (27″x18″), but you can still economize by arranging several sets of pillow panels onto a single yard ($24.30). One of the advantages of using the linen-cotton canvas is that the fabric is preshrunk, so if you set up a 16″ panel and wash it before sewing you’ll get very little, if any, shrinkage.
Photos on fabric often turn out well, but it’s important to keep a few things in mind when selecting photographic images for digital fabric-printing:
1) Start with a clear, high-resolution photo. A typical digital camera these days produces images that are 4000 x 3000 pixels or larger. You could print a 4000 pixel wide photo on Spoonflower at up to 26 inches across. Keep in mind that you can always reduce the size of an image that’s too big (you’ll see a size editor on the lower right of the Spoonflower fabric preview page ), but you can’t make a small photo larger. Blowing up small images creates pixelation.
2) Find images with good contrast. Fabric can’t hold the same level of detail that photographic paper can hold (which is why 150 dpi is our default resolution rather than 300, the resolution used by printers working with paper). Good contrast between the foreground and background is essential to make the subject of your photo clear when it is printed on the fabric. I’ve seen people do some lovely work with old black and white photos and postcards, for example. But if you have a lot detail that is lit the same way — in mixed light and shadow, it probably won’t print very well. In the detail photo on the left, the photo just to the right of the black & white portrait printed badly because the faces weren’t well-lit and there wasn’t enough contrast in the features to make them distinct.
3) Look for evenly-lit subjects. Especially if you’re printing photos of people, look for subjects with good, even lighting, like the baby in the photo on the right. Textile printing systems are designed to handle one-to-one color matching very well, but don’t do as well reproducing subtle gradients, which is the forte of photo printers. You can get around this issue by choosing photos that don’t rely so much on gentle transitions between light and dark shades of color to reproduce well.
Lots of people write us to ask how they can learn to design their own fabric, which is sometimes a challenging question to answer. Textile design is, of course, something many people spend years studying. But if you make the question a bit simpler, there are lots of ways to create lovely designs on textiles. Many, many people have access to digital photos these days and some familiarity with doing simple edits and uploading them to web sites. Creating a photo pillow — per the simple instructions above — is one way. Creating fabric using a scanner and some simple objects — leaves, for example — is another. The best way to learn is to experiment. One of our goals at Spoonflower is to make digital textile printing easy enough, fast enough and affordable enough to make that sort of experimentation possible.
Congratulations to Deborah Mote of Middleburg, PA! Her Celestial Stars design won Fabric of the Week for the world's first digital fabric design competition based entirely on artwork that originates in a non-digital medium. The competition, as usual, was inspiring.
Final voting tallies were:
- Celestial Quilt by Natalie Kelsey 16
- Sun and Moon by Julie Shaw 35
- img059-ch by Jean 11
- here comes the sun by Pamela Corwin 68
- Starstreak4 by Candice Held 133
- Celestial_stars by Deborah Mote 333
- Celestial Doodle by Gretchen Little 112
- Atlantic_sunset by Lyn Slade 70
- celestial_sun by Jane Marlow 31
- Many_Moons by Jen Addotta 48
- startree by meghan 283
- Good Night Westies IV by Kim Niles 120
- sweet dreams van gogh by Elizabeth McKenzie 77
- Celestial Chandelier by Kolleen Fortenberry 69
- vll_blackholes_eat_everything by Victoria Lasher 46
- robots in space on blue by zomo 106
- Cats in Heaven by Gila von Meissner 52
- sun_earth_moon_jkp2 by Jennifer K Perrella 208
- ZodiacSky by kari 69
- dreesstarcube_unit by dedree drees 130
- Celestial Moon Goddess by Tara Crowley 50
- Winter Solstice Sun I by Cindy Eubanks 139
- Luna by Natalie Hamade 62
- planetary polka dot by raven erebus 174
- sun-moon-stars by Stefanie von Hoesslin 80
- Heaven and Wings by Angela 63
- cassini's division by Cat Kane 228
- Man in the moon by Jane Marlow 20
- Starry Night by Aimee Elisabeth 197
- CELESTIAL DEEP SPACE by Anne Edwards 58
Thanks to all the participating designers!
We'll post a list of upcoming design themes and deadlines later today.