Designer Tidbits: McKenna Ryan - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: McKenna Ryan

The Fat Quarter Shop is excited to welcome McKenna Ryan to the Jolly Jabber. McKenna’s latest fabric collection is Mariposa Grove Batiks from Hoffman Fabrics.

Q: What was the first seed that grew into the Mariposa Grove Batiks collection?
A:The idea of a beautiful rich and jewel toned batik line with an exotic floral undertone came to me while teaching in France. Opening to what was next on the design board I asked my French students what they would like to see – it’s not surprising that they were in sync with what was already stirring in my heart – flowers! Several of my students had done one of my wildflower designs from years ago and wanted more! The color palette I used to create that older quilt design (Petals of My Heart) ended up being the color inspiration behind Mariposa Grove.

Q:What is your favorite project you have made using this collection?
A:“Bella Garden”, featuring wisteria, lily pads, butterflies and birds grew out of the seeds planted while designing Mariposa Grove. It is big, bold and beautiful. 🙂  I am also in the process of recreating my past classic pattern and one of my favorites, Petals of My Heart, as it was the inspiration for the color story of this line.

Q:What is your favorite part of working in the fabric industry?
A:It’s so hard to pick a favorite part! Obviously, I have a passion for my work and love everything about it! I love the endless and expansive creativity that I experience in the process of quilting and designing. What thrills me is that others will be inspired to create with what I’ve designed, and that my designs provides endless hours of joy and fulfillment for so many enthusiasts!

Q:Can you give us a sneak-peek of your next fabric collection?
A:Unfortunately I cannot, but I can tell you it will be nothing like this last one. I love to move from one color story into a completely new color realm. It will be a departure from the brighter, jewel tones found in this line.

Q:What is your absolute favorite thing in your house?
A:My daughter! And then, of course, my two dogs, cat and bunny. I’ve recently moved into a charming older home and have been having so much fun finding unique, one of a kind vintage/antique pieces. Among my favorites are a French silk antique quilt, my daughter’s French iron bed, an old pink vintage filing cabinet, a giant tin mirror, and an Italian chandelier… but one simple find that I think you all will appreciate is an old French laundry cart that I use in my studio to collect all of the pieces of fabrics that are currently being worked into a design. That way I can wheel them from one end of my design table to the next and not have them piled on the side of the table. It makes it easier later to have them all together when I begin the process of putting together the fabric list for my patterns.

Q:Which project stands out in your memory as your all-time favorite?
A:I have a special place in my heart for Storybook Farm. It was an inspired work that was so different from the Northwoods types of designs I had become known for. It was another example to me of the importance of following my heart and intuition when designing. It was very well received and so fun to see the response! I love the 3-D element of the clothesline.

Q:Where do you do your best thinking? Can we see a photo of your studio?
A:I clear my head of thinking when I run deep in the woods with my dogs. Then… I can do my best thinking again! 🙂 I often do my best sketching/planning when I am traveling. I love time on the plane, train or ferry boat and have probably come up with the majority of my conceptual drawings during a trip.

Q:What is your favorite snack food? Can we see a photo of your fridge or pantry?
A:Popcorn – or corn cakes with avocado and sprouts. If I’m really “living it up” I love popcorn with M&Ms in it 🙂

In regards to my fridge, having just moved and also just getting back from market I’d rather just tell you about it. 🙂   I’m a bit of a health nut so my fridge is stocked full of fruits and veggies, coconut and hazelnut milks, leftover quinoa and kale salad and some Thai green curry tofu and vegetables and rice. There are also lots of different kinds of dog foods as I navigate trying to figure out what my dogs will eat without allergies. I think one of them would prefer to be a vegetarian as he wrestles my bunny for her veggies and won’t touch any meat but fish. The other is a healthy carnivore 😉

Q:What is your one guilty pleasure in life?
A:Dark Orange Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice lattes.