An interview with Bari J
Bari J creates some of the most beautiful fabrics we have on our shelves! Her most recent collections for Art Gallery, Splendor 1920 and Lillybelle are stunning for both quiltmaking and garment sewing and we love that she inspires us to want to pick up a needle and embroider everything in sight. Read on to find out what inspires her, her favourite things to sew and her plans to bring her designs to a surface near you!
The Village Haberdashery: Your latest collection, Splendor 1920 is inspired by Downton Abbey. How do you go about translating an idea like that into your designs?
Bari J: I was inspired by the scenery, the costumes and the time period of Downton Abbey so much that it really just didn’t let go of me. I did a little research on the style of the time, and it evolved from there.
TVH: Last year you become Art Gallery’s first licensed designer but you’ve designed for several other companies previously. What is it like to work with Art Gallery?
BJ: Working with Art Gallery is really a dream come true. I had talked to Pat years ago, and we both knew that if we ever had the opportunity, we wanted to work together. Pat is the kind of art director that lets a designer really be themselves. She sees the potential in what you are doing, gives you hints and a little direction and then lets you fly. The way we collaborate is amazing. Art Gallery is so fashion forward, it’s a complete pleasure working with them.
TVH: You have a hand in so many different crafts, including the needlework blog We Love French Knots, fabric and pattern design. What is your favourite thing to make?
BJ: So hard to say! I think because embroidery was my first foray into needle arts (I learned when I was on bed rest for the pregnancy with my now 15 year old daughter), there’s a soft spot in my heart for it. And I am really a bag designing nut. My business initially was focused on finished handbags, and it seems I’ve made a zillion of them. My website had a “design your own handbag” feature in which buyers could choose their favorite shape and fabrics.
TVH: I just discovered your stunning stencil collection for Royal Design Studio. Tell us about them!
BJ: Oh, heavens. SO much fun. I “met” Melanie Royals, the owner of Royal Design Studio, years ago when she was a customer of mine. I always loved what she did and several years ago, we decided to work together on a project. It’s finally come to fruition, and features designs from several of my fabric lines. I’ve already used one in my own home, and I’m becoming addicted. If it were ok, I’d stencil then whole house. My next planned project, however, is to paint our coffee table, and then stencil the top of it. Can’t wait!
TVH: Your Quilt Market booths are always so lovely. How do you go about designing them?
BJ: My quilt market booths are a labor of love. I’m really into interior design and styling, and the booths really come from that passion. Each one so far has been a mini-room of my dreams… the next one, for my Spring line, Bijoux, is already taking shape in my head. I’m pulling photos from magazines and pinning inspirations on Pinterest… and already prepping my husband for what I might dream up for him to build… poor guy.
TVH: We got a preview of your next collection, Bijoux, at Fall Market. What is your inspiration for the collection?
BJ: Initially, I had seen a photo of a gypsy caravan all decked out in over the top textiles… I drew my version of a caravan. It never became part of the collection… though what was “in” it inspired the final pieces. It seems my fabric visions are usually a part of me that I dream but don’t get to live out, and Bijoux is no different. Bijoux, while it means “little jewels”, for me was the name of a woman. In my imagination she is a free-spirited traveler. She collects and saves the beauty around her, and she is a maker. Her home, a vintage trailer, is filled with these items. The fabric line is bits and pieces of her life and collections.
TVH: Any other big plans for 2013?
BJ: For years I’ve been saying I want to see my designs on other surfaces… I hope to make this a reality in 2013. The decor stencils are a good start.
Thank you Bari!