Friday, March 17, 2017

Designer Spotlight - Nidhi Wadhwa of Blue Fish Designs

From time to time we are sent art submissions from agents and artists alike, but when Henry Glass was contacted by Nidhi’s agent with some of Nidhi’s artwork, her artwork really stood out. We were looking for someone who could create adorable characters with a lot of personality. There was definitely something special about Nidhi’s artwork and knew right away that she would be a perfect fit for Henry Glass. We started to work together via e-mail, since we were  located so far away from each other, but it was so easy to get started with her. We just clicked and the design ideas started flowing immediately. Right away we created her first line for Henry Glass “Woodsy Wonders” and we were already talking about her second line, when she said she was planning to come to the U.S. for the Surtex design show. We were so excited to finally meet Nidhi in person. She is an amazing designer and she has a wonderful personality, which she brings to life in the characters that she creates. It has been a great partnership and we are excited that she continues to come up with wonderful collections for Henry Glass.

Woodsy Wonders was her first collection, which is now in quilt shops.
Frogland Friends which is shipping now.

Penguin Parade which was just released and is selling now.
Let's Build is new for March and a surprise until next week!!! 

Henry Glass: Tell us about where you live, and what is it like to live there? 

I live in New Delhi where, as one travel magazine aptly described, time travel is feasible. One can drive through centuries amid ancient Indian ruins, Mughal forts, colonial bungalows and new-age skyscrapers all in one day and perhaps also stop and find a corner to immerse oneself in the happenings of that time like food, art or culture. I love this diversity which makes it forever interesting. The city has been home to me for a very long time now. Here, I went to college; got my first job, got my first independent assignment; started my own studio; experimented, failed and learned; expanded my business; got married and forged many thick friendships which continue to make it feel like a smooth ride.

HG: How did you get started in the art world? What were you first products? How did you get confidence to begin?

I have been doodling for as long back as I can remember holding a pencil or crayon properly. Sheets of paper, notebooks, textbooks, walls, clothes, furnishings everything could work as a canvas for the little me. The itch to express was so strong that in high school I was sketching characters like a professional. It was also during this time that I created greeting cards, which I convinced a local gift shop to store and sell. Surprisingly, I couldn’t keep up with the demand!

I love illustrating baby animals. Even in those days, I experimented with creating a range of expressions and moods which would imbue joy, playfulness, happiness, purity, cuteness, mischief, love, sadness and innocence, just as I observed in children. More experimentation with styles, methods, material and software after college, led me to create more professional products like illustrating books, puzzles and learning aids for global clients.

HG: What sort of things do you use for inspiration?

Children inspire me! 

I observe them closely and through my characters try to voice their thoughts, moods, actions, feelings, behavior and imagination. I hope children will connect with these characters as one among their own. I often also take children’s feedback on my characters. For the longest time my nephews have been my buddies. Playing pranks with seven-year olds is easy-peasy for me. Certainly, there is a lot to learn from the simplicity of things during childhood and I must say children are also much wiser than we give them credit for.

HG: Transferring art to fabrics - what were some adjustments to the creative process?

After several years of illustrating for books and learning aids, I needed a new medium to fully apply my creative energies. It was then I started experimenting with designing characters for stationery items and subsequently making art for furnishings like bedspreads, towels, carpets etc. as well. I bought and read many books and researched online sources, I also interacted with printers and marketers, I focused on changing my colour palate, experimenting with new styles, creating a line of items with the same character, etc. Throughout this transition, what remained unchanged was that I was and am still passionately designing for children and it is what l love most about my work.

HG: How often do you travel with your products to shows? Is this fun for you?

Fortunately, my products have traveled far and wide before I started traveling with them. I used to walk through book shows for networking and my own learning. Soon after I was illustrating books for European clients solely through virtual connections. I have only very recently started traveling with my work. My first two shows were in the U.S. in 2015, one of which I literally gate-crashed at the last minute. Preparing for shows like Surtex and Licensing Expo is a lot of hard work but standing in my booth, just being in that moment, on the opening day was so humbling and exciting that I went on to do another one in 2016 and have now made it an annual affair. 

I feel very blessed to have had opportunities to showcase my work and grateful that it garners so much appreciation in such events. I also take out time to enjoy looking at other’s work and reflect on their perspectives. I find it very refreshing.

Before shows, I used to travel mostly for leisure. I love trekking and adventure sports. Now I try to combine the two and make the best of work and play.

HG: What is your studio like?  

It is my favorite place to hangout – morning, noon or night. A four-room set covered in sunlight, funky characters on the walls and lots of plants, houses me and twelve other crazy minds.

In the studio, there’s never been a birthday we don't celebrate with cakes, balloons, streamers, caps and our fun designs.  Around here, I thrive on several rounds of coffee, chit-chat and lots of mischievous ideas! 


Quilting Jeannie said...

Your characters are so charming and friendly. Love your use of colors and expressions. thank you for continuing what you love doing. You are so good with it.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Cute fabrics!

Unknown said...

With the amazing talent that Nidhi has, I think this is just a beginning. Any medium, and she's bound to excel. Great going Nidhi, keep it up! Feel proud to see you going places....

Unknown said...

No matter how big a crowd may be, a person like you always stands out! There’s no one who has worked as hard as you have in the last years...You are so creative....This is truly above and beyond. Continue to make us proud as you face new challenges and adventures....

Unknown said...

Amazing ! Your work a speaks volumes and is an extension of you. The characters you make have a soul of there own. Great going girl cheers !