Six Questions with Designer Gail Pan
I love shopping for new fabric, and I am fascinated by the design process. As I mentioned in our first blog post, I have a long-term goal of designing my own line. So, I thought it would be great to speak to some of the designers we feature here at The Country Quilt Shop, to get the inside scoop on bringing their creations to life.
We recently chatted with Gail Pan - fabric designer for Henry Glass. Gail lives near Melbourne, Australia, and is a mom who started out making clothes for her children. Once they grew, she turned to sewing as a hobby, working with all types of fabrics and techniques. She did so well, in 2003 friends encouraged her to design and release her own patterns. “I don't have a very arty background. I just like making things! I was designing patterns and was asked if I would like to do fabric,” Gail told us.
Gail has three fabric lines with Henry Glass so far, including the “Birds of a Feather” panel we offer here at The Country Quilt Shop. She also has three lines with Red Rooster Fabrics. Gail told us, “I do all the designing on my own, however, I do have a good friend who I run things by for a second opinion!” She says it takes about a year, or even longer, before a design idea becomes a fabric line available to purchase.
We wanted to know what inspires her when creating a new line of fabric. Gail said “I don't really look for trends, just what I think people will like and what I like.” She said it’s not hard to find ideas for a new design, telling us it’s “all around me, garden mostly, but also things I have in my house or patterns that I have designed.”
As for the process, technology helps those who are less artistic in the traditional sense. Computers and apps can assist, but Gail is more old-school, saying “A lot of designers don't really ‘design’ as such but reproduce fabrics or use a computer program. I design with paper and pencil, my own drawings. Then I scan into my computer and use photoshop and illustrator to design the layout.”
In addition to designing, Gail is a published author and travels the world teaching. And she left us with the best piece of advice for aspiring designers, and quilters too, saying “Do what you love, not what others want you to do. Be yourself.” Words to live by, for sure!
Thanks to Gail for taking the time to chat with us here at the Country Quilt Shop. And click here to visit her website for much more!