The first featured artist in this series is Melody Miller, who has been active as a fabric designer in Atlanta. Melody’s retro and stylish fabrics have attracted public attention since she released her first collection “Ruby Star Rising” in 2010.
Several years ago, I was trying to decide what to do next as a designer, and I thought I might like to design a line of baby bedding. I decided to design all of the fabrics for the baby bedding. After I spent several months designing fabrics, I thought that I would take my portfolio to the International Quilt Market in Houston, and see if I could show my work to Kokka, as they were my favorite fabric company. I was very excited when they wrote to me 2 weeks later and asked me to design a fabric line.
My background is in fine arts. I used to be a painter. I also studied industrial design.
I am inspired by vintage objects, floral fabrics from the 1960’s and 1970’s, and old magazines and catalogs. I love to shop at estate sales and flea markets for inspiration as well.
I have 2 children who I wake up and take to school every morning, and while they are gone I have my work day. Some days I design fabrics, some days I sew, and I spend a lot of time planning and organizing my business as well. I also stay on social media, especially Instagram, so I can interact with other people in the sewing community.
I don’t live in a large space, so my sewing space is in my dining room. This means I try and keep everything tidy and attractive because it is right in the center of our living space. Also, I have lots of shelves, cabinets, and drawers so that everything is very organized. I try and keep all of the pretty things (like books and fabric and vintage objects) on shelves where people can see them while keeping notions and art supplies in cabinets and drawers.
There are two designs that I am most excited about in my spring collection. One has portraits of my grandmother, who I have been including in my art since I was 15 years old. She used to work at the Singer sewing machine factory when I was a child. The other design I am excited about is a series of arrows with feathers on the end. All of the designs in the spring collection have golden dots, so the collection is called Ruby Star Polka Dot.
I’ve used my fabrics as upholstery for furniture, for pillows, in quilts, in dresses…. I’ve used them to cover the outside of boxes and suitcases, to make gift bags, hand bags, and kitchen items like pot holders and tea towels.
I found the people of Japan to be very polite, and find that Japan is so safe and clean! I’ve visited Tokyo several times, and always love stopping in at Tokyu Hands, so I can bring many gifts back home for my friends. The bath salts and washi tape are stickers are some of my favorite things to buy. Also, my favorite candy is Meiji Almonds.
This book is meant to be inspiration and ideas for gift wrap that does not get thrown away, but is always reused. This is healthy for the environment, and also makes a gift feel meaningful, when you take the time to make the package as well. I was inspired by how the beautiful way that people in Japan package their gifts.