On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about fabric design and illustration with my guest Heather Ross.
Author and artist Heather Ross has won fame exploring themes of resourceful and creative living, the natural world, and handmade. Best known for her collectible fabric designs and books that appeal to the handmade and craft markets, she also hosts a wildly popular series of craft retreats held across the country.
Heather’s critically acclaimed memoir How To Catch a Frog chronicles her childhood spent in a remote corner of Vermont, in a wilderness setting that remains a major influence on her creative work. She is also a celebrated illustrator of numerous children’s books, including the best-selling Crafty Chloe series, winner of the Kirkus Star. Heather Ross was a regular guest on The Martha Stewart Show and one of the most-viewed artists featured on the how-to video channel Creativebug. She regularly speaks on a wide range of topics that include creative living, the modern craft movement, and handmade.
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We begin the conversation by check in on how Heather his doing during the COVID-19 crisis. She is in the Catskills with her family after recovering from being sick and is doing much better, thankfully.
Next, we talk about Munki Munki, Heather’s children’s clothing business, and all that she learned running it for several years in the late 1990’s, and eventually selling it. Heather explains some difficulties she ran into afterwards designing fabric while under a long non-compete with the company that bought her business. When it ended, she forged a relationship with Windham Fabrics where she’s been a designer ever since.
We talk about the financials of designing fabric for the quilting market and Heather’s ideas around how those ratios could be changed in the future. We also discuss reprinting her collections, designers who are also fabric retailers, and some ideas for new direct-to-consumer models.
Illustration for Far Far Away
Besides being an illustrator, Heather is also a wonderful writer. I loved her memoir, How to Catch a Frog. She’s working with a small team on a new writing project that will coincide with a new fabric line she’s releasing. More details about both are coming soon!
In our conversation we refer to:
- Munki Munki
- Lotta Jansdotter
- Podcast Episode #82: Mickey Krueger, President of Windham Fabrics
- Purl Soho
- Free Spirit
- Annabel Wrigley and Podcast Episode #78: Annabel Wrigley
- Brooke Reynolds
- Melanie Falick
Heather and her daughter, Bee
And, of course, I ask Heather to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Heather recommends: