MATS A: Investing in Myself

matslogoPeppers | Katherine LeniusIf you read my last post you know that I, like many people I'm sure, often experience doubts about what I'm doing and how to get there. My goal for the year is to do as much work as I can. To help me with that goal one of the things I'm doing is taking the Make Art That Sells course from the Lilla Rogers Studio. Lilla is an international superhero art agent and I pretty much love every artist she represents, like Suzy Ultman, Carolyn Gavin, Lisa Congdon, and Rachel Taylor. I first learned about Lilla back when she first created the MATS online course and when she came out with her book I Just Like to Make Things. I love her enthusiastic and positive approach that is backed up with years of industry experience and insight. I signed up for her Bootcamp course that started back in January and knew that I wanted to join in on MATS as well. I've wanted to do the course since she first offered it but two things got in my way: 1) I wanted to feel like I was really ready to get the most out of it and 2) it's a big investment. Sometimes it's hard to give yourself permission to invest in yourself, especially in my case because I'm still trying to get into this industry. Of course you have to balance that with the reality of your finances and having a family, etc. But thanks to the support of my awesome husband I registered for the course just one day before it started and I couldn't be happier! The first part of the course (Part A) will last for five weeks (I'll do Part B in October), so I'll pop in every week to give you an update on what I've been working on. Each week focuses on a different art market. We learn about the market while at the same time getting an assignment that would be appropriate for that market. Week 1 was all about bolt fabric. I love this market. Like a lot of people, fabric is what got me interested in surface pattern design in the first place. It was only later that I learned I could license and sell my art for other products and areas (that's a JOB?!). I fell in love with sewing about 15 years ago, kind of at the beginning of the big resurgence in home sewing, and the fabric market has undergone such a shift from then. The sheer amount of beautiful fabric design and fabric companies out there is just incredible.

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The Assignment: we were tasked with coming up with a design for bolt fabric that was inspired by peppers and vintage Pyrex. Many designs expanded to other kitchen gadgets and food. I started, as I always do, with some research and a lot of sketching. I also did some painting to try out some other shapes and textures.

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I knew I wanted to design my print in a more grid like pattern because I mostly tend to arrange patterns in a tossed layout with bits and pieces scattered in an "organized random" way. I was also influenced by the very linear way that some people who collect vintage Pyrex stack their collections.

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I also added a couple of coordinating patterns to my main print so I have a nice piece to add to my portfolio called "A Pinch of Pepper." I always love getting these little briefs or assignments because it gives me a solid starting point and direction. Sometimes too many options or ideas is not a good thing. I'm very happy with my finished product and the gallery of my classmate's work is amazing. Tomorrow Lilla will give us some feedback on our assignments and I can't wait for Week 2!

A Pinch of Pepper | Katherine Lenius