On this episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about becoming a fabric designer with my guest, Katarina Roccella.

Katarina was born in 1975 in Belgrade, Serbia where she lives with her husband and three kids Nina works as a licensed artist for Art Gallery Fabrics and has created 14 fabric collections for them.

We begin the conversation by talking about growing up in Belgrade the child of two artists. Nina talks about going to college and graduate school to study art at a time when her country was going through political unrest and how the scarcity of available materials, while quite difficult for the citizens, also forced a good deal of creativity among the students and faculty at her school.

Katarina Roccella quilt

Soleil is a free quilt pattern made with Katarina’s fabric for Art Gallery. 

Nina talks about refurbishing her mother’s vintage sewing machine and discovering the world of textiles after her daughter was born. She launched a children’s clothing brand, Like Flowers and Butterflies, and began selling online via eBay around 2006 which was her first introduction to the online sewing world. That experience led her to want to design her own fabrics. She discovered Spoonflower and used the Spoonflower design contests as a way to hone her skills creating repeat patterns over the next several years.

Esoterra by Katarina Roccella

Esoterra by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics.

We discuss how Nina pitched her first collection to fabric manufacturers in the United States, got rejected, and then pitched again several years later and was accepted. It’s a great story! Through her work with Art Gallery Fabrics Nina traveled to the US for the first time to attend Quilt Market. She recalls that trip and what she learned from that exciting experience.

Art Gallery Fabrics booth at quilt market

Katarina in her Spring 2018 Quilt Market booth in Portland.

Nina says that in Serbia there is no modern quilting culture and there’s no word for “quilt” in Serbian. We talk about what its like to do something as a profession that the people around you don’t quite understand.

If you’ve been following Nina’s Instagram feed then you know that her three children are competitive ballroom dancers. They’re amazing! I ask Nina about them as well.

And, of course, I ask Nina to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Nina recommends:

Keep up with Katarina on her blog and on Instagram and purchase her fabrics in your local quilt shop or online.


Studio Art Quilt Associates

This episode is sponsored by Studio Art Quilt Associates. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year,  Studio Art Quilt Associates is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the art quilt and the artists who create them. SAQA offers a wide range of exclusive resources and professional opportunities for its members, including access to a museum-quality exhibition program that travels artwork around the world.

If you want to see and hear more about art quilts, join SAQA’s global community of over 3500 artists, professionals, collectors, and art quilt enthusiasts. Visit www.saqa.com/join to find out more details about SAQA’s membership benefits. Use the discount code NAP to receive $10 off your first year of membership.


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