Designer Tidbits: Sue Zipkin - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Tidbits: Sue Zipkin

Take a stroll down Peppermint Lane, where snow has fallen and the houses are cheerfully decorated for the Christmas season. Sue Zipkin paints this magical picture with Peppermint Lane, her latest collection for Clothworks Fabrics. Keep reading for a closer look!

Q: Where did you find your original inspiration for this collection?
A:The original inspiration for this collection begins with the Christmas season. I adore the Christmas season, everything is sparkling and the mood is quite exuberant. I just started sketching some swirly peppermint candy and I built it from there, adding swirling Christmas trees, stripes, dots, and snowflakes. This original artwork was used on some other products such as cards and melamine; then the wonderful Clothworks team asked if I could come up with a fabric collection is this style.

Q: What projects do you hope to see made using Peppermint Lane?
A:As much as I dream of creating fabric projects, I am not a quilter; however I can live vicariously through the amazing quilters who create projects with my fabric. I actually adore the project that your website is featuring, the Christmas Cards Quilt Kit. I think this collection would also make fabulous table runners and placemats.

Q: What TV show or movie does your collection fit best in?
A:I would have to go with the original Dr. Seuss “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” because of all the swirly whimsical motifs. I think the Whos would appreciate this style. I also grew up loving it, nothing like watching an evil grinch turn into a kind gentleman.

Q:What is your favorite part of the fabric industry?
A:My favorite part of the fabric industry is designing for it and working with Clothworks. I love being able to create patterns that end up in quilts all over the world. It is so exciting to me to know that for each and every quilter who chooses my fabric, it is personal to them, and it might live on for generations to come.

Q:From what aspect of your life do you draw creativity?
A:I would have to say from every aspect. Wherever I go, whoever on with, I’m always seeing the beauty in the little things. I am inspired by nature, and the beauty that surrounds me and the natural world.

Q:What is your design process?
A:I am most well known for my watercolor technique. Although I have had art school training, this particular style I developed on my own; it is not the traditional way that people are trained to work with watercolor. I am currently doing more experimentation using mixed-media, and old ephemera. I am incorporating the ephemera more for texture, not for the main image. Whenever I create by hand, I then scan my artwork into the computer and experiment using layers, changing colorways and layouts in Photoshop.

Q:What is your favorite print in the collection?
A:My favorite print is the viney toss print, available in red, light olive and dark olive.

Q:What is the most challenging part of the design process?
A:The most challenging part of the design process is adapting my artwork for each different market that I work in. This takes up a lot of time. For example when I design something for fabric, that same artwork might not translate into a flag. I have to rethink, revise, and rework. I enjoy it, but it is challenging.

Q:What are your favorite and least favorite colors and why?
A:In general, I love color combinations so it’s hard to pick one favorite. It really depends on what I am working on. There are times when I am in a yellow mood, and I enjoy working with all warm tones. Other times I love working with cool tones like blues, greens, etc. When working on a Christmas project I love icy winter colors, or classic Christmas reds and greens. I even love browns and neutrals when working on things like coffee collections.