An interview with Alison Glass

I’m thrilled that Alison Glass‘ debut collection for Andover, Lucky Penny, is arriving in the UK any day now! As a brand new designer, you may never have heard of Alison so I pinned her down to ask a few questions about her inspiration for the line and how her background in interior design influences her art. Read on to find out more about Alison and the click over to the shop to take advantage of our pre-sale offer – £5 off our Lucky Penny fat quarter bundle until the collection arrives in the shop!

Alison Glass, Lucky Penny, Andover Fabrics, Field Day

The Village Haberdashery: Your first collection for Andover, Lucky Penny, has just hit stores. How do you feel?

Alison Glass: It is really such a lot of fun to begin to see what people are making with Lucky Penny. To me, this is one of the best parts. I feel so honored to get to be a small part of the raw materials aspect of making, and completely appreciate whenever someone chooses to use fabric I have designed.

Lucky Penny, Alison Glass, Andover

TVH: What is the inspiration for Lucky Penny? How did you choose the colours?

AG: I have always loved architecture, especially the details found in many older buildings and structures. My kids poke fun at my constant photo taking when we are visiting a new place! There is inspiration all around, and it is so fun to notice. The Lucky Penny collection comes from this interest, and the designs really started in my imagination a number of years ago, especially the Mural print. I wanted to take a bunch of those details, translate them into 2D, add tons of color, and put them all together in a mural form. The Mural print has twelve different elements, some are inspired by things I have seen, others are completely made up. One of my favorites was inspired by a photo of my son, Jack, at about four on a trip to the Detroit Science Center. He turns nine this week! I loved the gorgeous and very worn finial from years of real usefulness, and made him stand there for a photo. It’s a cute picture, but also a great example of beauty in everyday objects, how possible that is with a great deal of thought and effort, and how worth it that hard work really is.

Here is the write up about the fabric line:

Lucky Penny is about taking the time and having the eyes to notice the details in the world. Like finding a penny on the ground, one must choose to look in order to see. Seeing the details artisans have put into their work, the expert craftsmanship, brings connectedness with others, and to some, simple happiness. These designs are a collection and celebration of a tiny sample of those details. The name of each design in the line (Mural, Fountain, Stoplight, Bike Path, Fallen Leaves, Column, and Grate) expresses an aspect of the objects found in everyday city life. Objects that are common, yet at the same time made in beautiful ways and with great skill. The color palettes, morning, noon, and night, refer to the impact light has on how the details are perceived.

Lucky Penny, Alison Glass, Andover

TVH: Your background is in interior design. How has that influenced your fabric designs?

AG: Well, it influences it a lot, hopefully in a good way! Particularly, I think, in the usability, color, and scale of the designs. When I am designing it tends to always go back to how a design will fit in with a home or space, especially color wise. I love bright, vibrant color, but I also want the colors to stay sophisticated and lasting, more than trendy or silly. Is it funny to think of a color as being silly? If someone is going to put all of the time and work into creating something by hand then the materials should be worthy of that effort, so deigns with lasting qualities that will grow with the person is my aim. I do really like large scale prints! With this in mind, I have personally grown through the quilt industry to have a much deeper understanding of the importance of a range of scales within a collection. For home items though, those large scale, possibly complicated designs are key to having a starting place, so I think I’ll keep making them!

lucky penny, alison glass, andover

TVH: How do you create your designs? What is the process when working with Andover?

AG: It is so fun to hear about the different processes designers use to create repeat designs. My process is generally something like this: I start with a rough sketch of an idea, more as a way of taking notes on ideas so that I remember the thoughts. I have a drawer full of these sorts papers! It’s a messy drawer. From there the sketches become groups that form a new collection. When I really start the drawing process I use the sketches and redraw those ideas in more detail and in repeat. The next step is another redraw on tracing paper to get all of the lines right where I want them. That image is then put into Illustrator and traced by hand to form all of the shapes that will become the design. Once the design and repeat are set I move on to coloring. I do work in color, but start out with all random colors, focusing on the shapes. The color is very important to me, and in reality often takes longer than the drawing portion of the design.

lucky penny, alison glass, andover

TVH: What have been your favourite things to make with your fabric?

AG: I am working on reupholstering a vintage chair in the Mural print right now. This is kind of a dream come true type of project, to have fabric I designed on furniture! I also finished my first two real quilts, yes ever, so you all can laugh at that idea, for last Quilt Market, which I really enjoyed. It was so nice to get to see the fabrics all together, as they were intended. I also have a thing for pillows, and keep making them. We are running out of room for them though!

TVH: What is a typical day like for you? Are you designing fabric full time now?

AG: Everyday is different, which is part of the fun. I am designing full time, which includes a lot of business-y stuff too. I have a Moleskine with a master list of things that I want/need to get done, with subsections for all of the different parts, and I work off of that, trying to stay well ahead of the deadlines, so that the work stays more fun than stressful.

lucky penny, andover, alison glass

TVH: You have another collection launching later this year, Field Day. Tell us about it!

AG: Field Day is really a follow up to Lucky Penny. It takes the same concept of noticing the details in man made things, and applies it to nature. I am very excited about it and am looking forward to the release, especially the colors, which came together more easily. A third line is also in the works, which I am really looking forward to showing, hopefully soon.

Write up:

Field Day is a collection of prints representing the growth of plants in their wild and natural settings. The designs represent the beautiful and often unruly nature of growth. Like Lucky Penny, it is also about seeing the details, however the focus is on the details in nature, specifically the time of growth when blooms are reaching their full potential, and giving it their all. The color palettes are different from Lucky Penny, yet have some similarities, in hopes that the two collections will work nicely together. The names for the specific designs in the line represent different aspects of untamed growth, and human interaction with that growth. The names are: Spent, Roots, Rows, Sun Print, Collection, Pressed Flower, and Overgrown. Bike Path will also appear in three new colors.
field day, alison glass, andover

TVH: Any other big plans for 2013?

AG: Well, yes, I’m always full of plans, but I guess the summary is that I see 2013 as a year to really figure out my place in this industry and how I want to contribute to it!

Thanks Alison!

Want more Alison? You can also find her on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and her blog.

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