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Dry Flowers



It's an honor to share with you the behind-the-scenes story and making of this collection. The Nature Book 1957 collection is based on a nature book that my dad created in 1957. 


Growing up we referred to my dad's nature book as the bird book because it had a bird on the front that he had painted (pictured below).  It wasn't until my dad passed in 2018 that I really began to look at every page of the book and it was then that I realized it was actually a nature book. It was in fact a nature book assignment he was given in middle school.  As a child, I was enamored by the thick wood cover and those But as an adult, I am completely in awe that a teacher expected thirteen-old kids to bird-watch for two months, create hand-drawn birds, write poetry, and collect so many flowers and foliage. My husband is a middle school principal and I have to be honest this kind of a  big project just isn't assigned anymore.

The amount of work that he put into every page is amazing. There are over 150 pages in the book. It's such a treat to see his writing and artistic skills at such a young age. I love that I was able to use his own writing to make the logo for the collection. And the Morning Dove pattern is done with his drawing as well. (You can see the logo and Morning Dove pattern on the collections tab)

My favorite part of the nature book is of course the dried flowers and foliage. My heart somehow knew I had to use these beautiful dried flowers in some way to make a collection. I really had no idea how I was going to do it but as I learned more it became clear that there was a way to make it happen. I am so surprised at how well the foliage really held up over the years. I wonder what brand of tape was available to use back then? Well, I googled it and Scotch tape began to be invented in 1925 so it was most likely Scotch tape.



From the beginning, I made a commitment to keep the original foliage as exact as possible. I wanted the patterns to feel as though they were picked up right from these sixty-year-old pages. I wanted all the imperfections and age to show. In order to keep things looking this way, it required an extensive amount of photographing each item and image tracing. I mean a lot of image tracing! Image tracing with all of the tape on each page was a challenge. I wanted to give a nod to the pressed flowers with all the tape and I did so with the Pressed Flower pattern. I love seeing the tape in that pattern.

The photos below are an example of the process behind making the Dancing Petals pattern. To me, this flower reminds me of a ballerina's tutu. The first is a photo of the flower in the nature book. The second is after image tracing in Adobe Illustrator, the third photo is after I clean up and remove the tape. The next one is when I put some color on it and see how I might start making the pattern. And then the finished pattern!

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From a design point of view, I had to make hard decisions on how to use each item. Was I going to take bits and pieces from a flower and make a new sort of looking flower? How was I going to get movement into a pattern when I couldn't manipulate the original flower? With each decision, I kept coming back to my original commitment...I am going to keep the original foilage as exact as possible.  And so the patterns you see use the foliage in the original form. I was limited by my original commitment but I was also bound by it which ultimately laid the foundation for the collection.  Sometimes limitations help to create our art in a way we could have never expected. It forces us to use our ingenuity and creativity in new ways.


Finding the right color palette was very challenging for this collection.  My color palette choices as a designer are muted, soft, monochromatic colors. However, since these patterns didn't have a lot of movement in them I needed to find colors that I felt passionate about in order to put life into each pattern. It was especially challenging finding the right colors for the Morning Dove pattern in the Woodlands April colorway. Finally, with the support of my design sisters, I found a compromise I could feel good about. And believe it or not, at one point one colorway in the collection was all mauve. It was a really pretty muted mauve using various different shades. But after some critique, I could see that the limited colors actually did not show off the beauty of the foliage enough.

Deciding which pieces of foliage to use was exciting but many of my ideas did not pan out. I have about five patterns that did not make the cut.  My heart was really set on using one of the poems but ultimately I chose not to put it into the collection. Maybe it will appear on its own in some way at a later time. 

I am so pleased with the way this collection has turned out. But ultimately I am surprised that my dad's legacy will live on in a way I could have never dreamed of as a little girl admiring the book. I hope my future grandbabies will be wrapped in their great grandfather's legacy with my creation on the fabric of their baby blanket.


One of my design sisters pointed out that the reason she thinks this collection resonates with so many is because of the story behind it and the fact that I stayed committed to the story in order to bring that vision to life. Designing with a story or a  firm foundation keeps us grounded. It gives us a north star to keep looking back to when we get lost. I know this collection is very unique in its story which I believe did make it easier to stick to. 


It was a profound honor to tell this little story and carry on my dad's legacy. While designing this collection I kept going back to the Ohio woods in my mind and thinking about him running around for two months trying to collect all the information he needed to complete this school assignment.  I truly am touching a piece of the past quite literally. I think it was a good reminder to me that even the most simple things we do in our lives mean something to someone. Our current lives will touch our children, grandchildren, family member, friend, or even a stranger. Our story and journey through this life matter.

If you are a designer, sewist, or decorating your own home with beautiful wallpaper and fabric I challenge you to create or purchase designs that tell a story for you. How do you want your home,  home goods, or clothing to look and feel? Design and create your space with intention and you will be surrounded by beautiful things that tell your story every day.

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