One of the things I enjoy about my job is the opportunity to meet some of the designers we work with in Quiltmaker. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with Margo Krager at Quilt Market and here in our office when she shared one of her antique fabric sample books with us. You can find her pattern To Market, To Market in our Jan/Feb ’10 issue.
Do you love the look of old fabrics? They are my passion! I love buying and selling them, designing reproductions, learning about their history as well as writing and lecturing about the chemistry, technology and skills that made it all possible.
Reproduction fabrics are the focus of my store in Bozeman, MT. We sell to quilters as well as costume designers from television, theater, the movies, re enactors and living history museums. Our website brings us customers from around the world. Recently, I did have to check the map for the exact location of Estonia as I was taping up the box.
Delving into the rich history of textile printing and design is my idea of a really good time! I try to include, in each order, a page of information about the fabrics in the box. That could be an essay on double pinks or violets, a listing of fabric colorations and styles popular during the Civil War or a short history on the advent of those much loved Depression Era prints.
My favorite lecture topics are Textiles of the Fur Trade Era and Indigos. Indigo dyed threads have been found in the selvedge of a 2000 B C Egyptian mummy wrap. A synthetic form of Indigo now dyes 1 billion pairs of jeans annually. From the 17th century to the early 19th century, North American Furs were a global commodity and exchanged for manufactured goods of all kinds. Merchant ledgers from New France detail an amazing list of products used for trade, including printed and plain cottons, woolens and silks.
Beginning in 1997, I started collecting antique fabric sample books. I now own nine of them; six from the 19th century and three from the 20th. I have been designing reproduction lines from these books since 2002 and just recently signed a contract with Blue Hill Fabrics. We hope to introduce my newest line, Little Pink Stars, at Quilt Market in Minneapolis this May.
There is a local Bozeman company that prints Vintage Images on fabric. Their collection of antique post cards and other old art work has been my inspiration for quilt and craft projects recently. Designing the “To Market, To Market” bag was fun! The Royal Anne Cherries and Black Raspberry can labels caught my eye—elegant designs from the 1930s. I thought the dramatic brass and rich indigos were the perfect balance for the delicate coloration of these fruit cans labels.
People often tell me I have a dream job. I own a fabric business with great employees and wonderful customers around the world. I get to write on a regular basis for my blog and travel around the country lecturing and sharing my passion for the history as well as the spectacular art and craft of antique printed cottons.