us a bit about your background -- what led you into fabric design?
I started out designing in the music industry. I spent a lot of my time
drawing menacing skulls and working band names into mock beer labels for
merchandise and album covers. I was always a secret quilter and sewist.
I never intended to make this my career, but sometimes life takes me
down a path and I try my best to just go with it. I designed a fabric
collection for fun and it was picked up by a manufacturer and the rest
is history. I have been working with my current manufacturer, Free
Spirit Fabrics, for my last five fabric collections and I couldn't be
happier. Filling up my days with drawing and sewing is basically the
best thing ever.
us a bit about your owl design and the story behind it.
The owl is the main print from my very first fabric collection called
Full Moon Forest. When I began designing my first fabric collection I
started playing with hiding animals and little images inside the design
as a second read. I love hearing that A-ha moment from people who are
looking at my fabrics for the first time. Hidden images are a sort of
trademark now after 12 fabric collections. People get excited to see
what's "in there." The owl was the first and has always kind of
represented that moment when I decided what I wanted to do with my life
and just went for it. The fabric is long gone now but he is an important
image for me and seemed like an appropriate image to do my first
embroidery design with.
inspires your designs?
The inspiration for all of my work comes from narrative. I love a good
story whether they be from books, movies, fairytales or folklore, read
in private or told out loud. When I sit down to design a fabric
collection or make a quilt I am telling myself a story and I let the
illustrations emerge from the narrative. Some stories are more obvious
than others. I don't look too far outside of my own imagination for
inspiration. When I look around me things are what they are and even
though I see possibilities there are still physical limitations to what
something is and what it can be made into. In my head these limitations
don't exist. I can make my world into anything I want it to be. There is
excitement and anticipation when I sit down to a blank sheet of paper. I
can't wait to find out what will appear in front of me. I love that
feeling right before I start drawing.
What’s your studio/workspace like?
My workspace is usually pretty organized depending on how busy I am. I
want to be completely emerged in what I am doing and I hate to waste
time or energy on mundane tasking like looking for my scissors or
digging for a specific piece of fabric. I have a drawing station,
computer station and a large sewing area. All of my fabric is bolted and
shelved. I rarely have to look for things; I try to keep everything out
in the open so I can get right down to business.
your favorite handmade craft you’ve ever made?
I just finished a 1000 1-inch hexagon quilt all sewn by hand. I had
always wanted to make a quilt by hand and that was really a lot of fun.
My favorite machine quilt would probably be my Spacedust quilt. I enjoy
making quilts over anything else because they are like large functional
paintings. The pieces themselves are so graphic and then you fill it
with pattern and color and it's like an explosion of happy. You get to
make this giant piece of art and then you get to wrap yourself up in it.
Quilting is very hands-on, they are meant to be loved and touched and
Finally, if you were a Crayola color, what color would you be?
I think I would be Razzmatazz or Hot Magenta. With a last name like Pink
you either have to embrace it or rebel against it. I embrace it. It's a
bold color to live up to but I do my very best.
See more of Tula’s work and her fabulous fabric lines at