An interview with Jeni Baker

Jeni Baker is a prolific quilter, popular blogger at In Color Order and, of course, designer for Art Gallery Fabrics! Her fabulous new collection, Nordika, will be here in three weeks but in the meantime you can learn a little bit more about Jeni in our interview! We’ve picked out just a few images of her gorgeous samples to feature below, but you can find more Nordika inspiration in Jeni’s Nordika Flickr set.

Jeni Baker
The Village Haberdashery: Nordika is your second collection for Art Gallery. How did this partnership come about?
Jeni Baker: It came about in a very interesting way actually! I volunteered to be a part of their monthly featured sewing room series. I was already a big fan of their fabrics, and shortly after the feature we started working together on a quilt for share on my blog and in one of their videos.  One thing led to another and next thing I knew, I was one of their new designers!
Nordika
TVH: The new collection is very different and much broader than your first, Color Me Retro, and you’ve said that you were confident and comfortable designing it. In what ways does it have more “Jeni” infused in it?
JB: I definitely felt a lot more comfortable designing this collection for sure.  It has a lot more hand drawn elements in it, where as the designs in Color Me Retro is more geometric based.  The imperfection of the flowers and scenery in Nordika gives it more whimsy, and certainly more “Jeni”!
Nordika Triangle Baby Quilt

Nordika Triangle Baby Quilt

TVH: You made about a million samples with Nordika for Spring Market and they really show off the collection’s versatility. When you’re designing are you consciously thinking about how the prints will work in quilts, garments and accessories?
JB: Absolutely.  That’s the beauty of Art Gallery’s basecloth, it is great for not only quilts, but garments, bags, home decor projects, etc.  I supposed I am primarily a quilter, but I love to sew all kinds of things, so I want my lines to be able to work for more than just quilting projects.  That’s really important to me!
The Nordika booth at Spring Quilt Market

The Nordika booth at Spring Quilt Market

TVH: Some of our customers aren’t sure what to do with panel prints but we love the Whimsicöl panel. What are some of your favourite projects for this design?
JB: When I was first considering doing a panel, I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with one either! Thankfully, as soon as it arrived, the ideas just kept coming! I’m loving using it for simple tote bags, dresses, and pillows. I’m anxious to make some curtains with it and perhaps a simple whole cloth baby quilt!
Nordika Staple Dress

Nordika Staple Dress

TVH: What is your process for creating your designs, choosing your colours and putting together your collections?
JB: I still feel terribly new at the whole process, but I am finding a few things that work well for me.  I spend a lot of time collecting inspiration via the internet and venturing out to my favorite shops and parks.  From there I start sketching straight into the computer with the help of a Wacom Tablet.  Once I’ve started sketching, I work on a color palette.  The designs and the colors tend to evolve as the prints come together.  It’s a interesting process and I often find that I’ll work nonstop for a while and then need several days away from it.
Jeni Baker sewing space

Jeni’s sewing space

TVH: What’s next for you this year?

JB: The rest of this year is jam packed! I’ll be teaching a class at Sewing Summit in September, attending Fall Quilt Market in October to debut my next line, and teaching again at Camp Stitchalot in December.  In between I am hoping to release some new patterns, sew a lot, and hopefully relax a little!

Thanks Jeni!

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