Wednesday, August 26, 2009

HG Designer Nina Favata Blogs for US!

The Healing Power of Creating
How does an artist working on children’s hospital murals find her way to a wonderful fabric company designing for the quilt market? All I know is anything is possible in life, including dreams coming true. During the course of creating the Zany Animal murals, the hospital staff would stop by often and say how much they’d love to see these images on children’s fabrics. It occurred to me that I would too. Being an FIT grad who started her career in fashion, this idea
was never far from my thoughts. Combining two passions was a dream-designing textiles and creating images for sick children!
The newest collection of Zany Barnyard Animals was borne of a mural I painted at Saint Justine’s Children’s Hospital in Montreal in their Physiotherapy Clinic where children suffering from cancer and other traumatic illness were treated.It was all just waiting to unfold. Karen at Henry Glass was my muse as she encouraged me to write a simple story using the animal characters that would be printed on fabric and sold as a cut and sew baby book. In no time, it seemed, the book was written, pages designed, as if it was just waiting to appear!

My hope is that everything I create for HG people will touch the heart of the person using it, even tickle the sales people! That can’t hurt can it?!

I am thrilled to be a part of the talented group of HG designers. I look forward to bringing more to you in the coming months an wish you all a wonderful August.

PS My husband and I are bona fide city people who’ve just moved to Country Living in the Adirondacks. My next gig is creating a group of Zany Forest Animal friends for HG. With so much to refer to right out my studio window, it’s going to be a pleasure!

For more information about Nina please go to
For more about her organization Healing Art Environments go to

Monday, August 24, 2009

HG Designer Michelle Engel Bencsko Blogs for US!

I'm so pleased to finally show off some sewing projects using my 2nd and latest fabric collection, Shade Garden for Henry Glass, which will be available this fall. Each of these pillows is made with 5 prints from the two available colorways: Bluebell and Coralbell. I'm so pleased with how well Bluebell fits in with my "real" shade garden and Coralbell punctuates all the pretty reds and pinks from my shade lovin' annuals.

These pillows were very spontaneous- I didn't measure a darn thing... which, in retrospect, would probably have made the project go a lot smoother and faster! I just cut strips and sewed. Then I backed it with some batting and another piece of cotton, "stitched in the ditch", as they say and sewed it to some solid linen for a back with a simple envelope closure. This is a great project for longish scrappy pieces and can just as easily be on horizontally.

I hear the quilt that Cate Tallman-Evans designed in the works and that just makes me plain old giddy- she's done a spectacular job with both of my collections now and I am always excited to see what people do with my work. I am also working with my quilter friend who made my last quilt using my Dogwood collection and she's going to quilt up my own roughly sketched Shade Garden quilt design for my Fall bedroom.

So, I've had a pretty exciting summer! I've been busy designing new print collections: My 3rd for Henry Glass - which I'm super excited about- and my 2nd for my own business, an organic cotton fabric company, Cloud9 Fabrics. I've also been penning a book which will include lots of lovely examples of my work for the various companies for whom I design - more details of which I'll formally share in the near future (I hope!). I've also signed a contract to do some stationery items (again, all very hush-hush at the moment!). And in case you're wondering how much more I could possibly do, I've managed to squeeze in a little family R&R, too!

More recently, I had the pleasure of being asked by Mark Lipinski to join him on his new show, Quilt Out Loud! thanks to the gracious recommendation by Herny Glass' own Linda Lum DeBono. The segment was about being a textile designer. I was joined by Gail Kessler, designer and marketing director for Andover Fabrics and we fielded questions about how we work and the influence of trends, markets and business. Gail being very entrenched in the market and community, and me, sort of a fledgling newbie! It was a fabulous experience and I did learn a lot myself, not having come from a quilting background. I think it must appear funny to some that I can design, but not quilt... but I'M LEARNING! Slowly but surely, I WILL get my quilting wings one day!

Tune in to the show! Should be released this October, and I believe it's a two part segment. It promises to be a great one.
So, summer's coming to a close, the book needs attention and I'm also preparing for the Houston Quilt Market, so I better scoot. This, I type, as I watch my husband and boys drive away down to the beach for the day! Will have to squeeze in at least one more leisure activity before time is up.

See ya for now! And look for me at the Houston Quilt Market!!