Designer Spotlight: Elizabeth Silver
Artist, business owner, and teacher. Designer Elizabeth Silver does it all, and does it so well we wanted to highlight her work on this edition of “Designer Spotlight.”
Silver has more than 20 years experience as a surface pattern designer, starting out working for some of the biggest home and apparel companies in New York City. After a few years, she decided to start her own business, which is now based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Among her first tasks: experiment with quilting fabric design. “Three years after those initial submissions, I signed a deal with Camelot Fabrics through my art licensing agency, and have been designing fun themes with them ever since. I think I’ve released about 15 collections with Camelot thus far,” Silver shared.
Among those collections, Silver’s “Pumpkin Spice Latte” line has been one of our best sellers here at The Country Quilt Shop. Since our primary focus is on novelty prints and designs, it’s not a surprise that Silver’s collection has been a hot seller. She told us, she focuses on novelty themes during her creative process as well. “I love conversational prints, so I’m always looking for offbeat icons to mix in with more saleable imagery like florals and geometrics. Because of that, I’m definitely aware of what’s trending and often bring those icons into my work,“ Silver said.
As for the process, Silver shared that hers is a more collaborative effort with the creative minds at Camelot. Even with that assistance, it can take up to a year from start to finish. “Once it’s approved, Camelot’s in-house design team takes the collection art and sometimes make slight color tweaks or scale adjustments. Next, they’re released for wholesale purchase, so retailers can choose what fabrics they want to stock in their stores. It usually takes about 8-12 months from initial sketches to final printed fabric to be available in stores for quilters and fabric aficionados to purchase.”
Silver told us she gets inspired mainly by what’s trending, in stores, by season and by other products like stationary and gifts “I take some of those icons, whether they are animals, plants, phrases, or objects, and try to push the idea further by considering what other things fall in a similar category. For example, I recently worked on a sunflower collection, and I considered all the things that signified late summer to me besides sunflowers themselves, and the designs ended up with bicycles, white picket fences and bees in the mix, Silver added.”
When not designing, Silver shares her knowledge and expertise by helping to teach a new generation of artists through classes she offers on her website, which you can check out here. She shared this advice for those considering a design career. “Start by designing collections that you’d like to see in the market. Give yourself assignments and deadlines as if you already have a fabric client. Without a portfolio of work no one knows what you can do, so it’s all about designing what makes you happy while you refine your skills and style.“
Many thanks to designer Elizabeth Silver for taking the time to answer our questions, and as always, Happy Quilting!