I am an illustrator who licenses my work on products, and I also do product development. I work with over 30 manufacturers on all kinds of products such as giftware, party goods, fabric, tabletop, flags, kitchen products, and more. I have been licensing my work for over 12 years now and still find every day an adventure. I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts, and when I went to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, I stayed in Brooklyn for another 8 years until my husband and I decided to move back to Massachusetts to start a family in 1997.
These days, life is busy with two young boys, and work life is going 360 degrees all day long, but when it’s not busy, I get a little stir crazy. I have recently re-discovered my love of exercise, and when I am not working out you may find me gardening, hanging out with friends and always looking to do something creative.
I went to Pratt to become a fashion designer but soon realized I was better suited to illustrate instead of sewing and draping. Upon graduating, I worked in the children’s-wear industry designing clothes until I decided to break free and freelance print studio work. It was in the print studio where I designed many prints that other manufacturers bought for their fabric lines, and it wasn’t until I decided to start licensing, that I had my own lines of fabric.
Bird Talk was created partly from my first collection, Woodland Friends. The original Woodland Friends collection had an all-over bird pattern that went with it, but we felt that we would keep it small and use it in the next collection. However, when I began showing Clothworks some of my new work, they liked the birds I had and thought we could really tell a story with just the birds themselves; thus began the creation of Bird Talk.
My inspiration for doing birds is the fact that this past year, I have had such a fascination with birds, and I just can’t stop. I loved playing around with their shapes and patterns and how they interact with each other. I have come to really love birds even in my own surroundings. I go crazy when I see an Oriole bird fly by with its bright orange and black colors. We have had several robins build nests on these dwarf spruces on our deck, and it’s always exciting to see the babies. So I have no idea when I will stop creating fun birds; maybe never, but for now I am enjoying it.
My vision for Bird Talk is a couple of things. Since it has such a light colorway, I really see it for nurseries, but I also envisioned it to be used for pajamas, fun stuffed toys, and lots of beautiful quilts. I think it’s a very versatile design that can be used for boys or girls simply by using the colored stripes and patterns that are either blue or pink in the collection. The fabric would make great baby blankets, bumpers, curtains, pillows, you name it, for a little boy or girl’s room. Who just doesn’t love cute birds??
What I have next up my sleeve is getting ready for a big trade show in Vegas in June, the Licensing Expo. I will have a booth set up and ready to meet new and existing clients, showcasing my new characters that I am branding. In fact, I am already talking to Clothworks about an animal fabric collection with some of them, so who knows! I am also thinking I would love to have a floral collection. I have designed so many of them, and I have a black and white collection, Midwinter Garden, but I really want to do a fun and bright floral collection, so maybe you will see that next. I am always working on something though, so you never really know what you might see next from me!
Ellen’s Etsy store
Ellen’s Facebook page
Very Tweet, so cute Stephanie
I just love these little birds and as my mother in law is a lover of birds I might have to use some of these fabrics in a quilt for her.