Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Designer inspiration: Amy Butler

There are so many designers, artists, creative makers whom I totally, very much admire and who have inspired me in my daily life. I possibly could base an entire blog of that subject! While that's not really my focus on this blog I do want to share some authentic inspiration love now and then and so let me tell you about one of my very favorite designers: Amy Butler. She's so popular if you are a creative maker yourself you surely already know her. Her fabric designs are vibrant and alive with color, energy and style. While her patterns are quite "busy", I do not tire of them but actually like them more and more (and it's love at first sight so that can only be good!).  What I also really admire about Amy  Butler is how she has defined her business into a lifestyle that she calls "Midwest Modern". She has written several books in which she shares her patterns as well as her positive, creative vibe. Her website is equally brimming with her optimistic, joyful outlook and her fun, beautiful style.
I have a couple of her books and on a sunny Sunday afternoon I am apt to lounge around on a blanket in the grass, my head in the clouds, dreaming and drooling over her beautifully photographed books (her photographer being her artist husband!), feeling more and more inspired by the moment. I love how she defines herself locationally because my personal background is a bit of a geographical patchwork of places that some people find very cool but honestly, it is a bit of an issue that I'm not really at peace with, yet. I find her "Midwest" emphasis very appealing as my family roots are from the American Midwest ....and yet I think I was endeared to her forever when I read her most encouraging words in the Epilogue of "Midwest Modern": 
"Being an artist in the Midwest is not very different than being one in...Europe. Think of a painter on the Rhine....drawing inspiration from your surroundings.....creating in order to express beauty and finding peace in the sheer joy of it...." 
Oh yes, certainly, she is thinking of a painter on the Rhine by the name of Rembrant, or Vermeer, or countless other possibilities, but to me, it seems like a personal little secret I image being whispered to me "Hello, you! You too are a creative soul, with your Midwest roots, your ancestral Dutch Rhine roots, and your new German Rhine roots. Embrace it!!!!"
Her colors and patterns are a lovely mix of different retro inspirations from many different eras, and they often evoke a chord of comforting familiarity with me. And yet her designs are so modern and fresh! I think when an artist can touch you on not just one but several personal levels like this, they have truly succeeded in sharing their vision. Design is something far, far deeper than just the seemingly "superficial" shape of the coffee cup in your hand, the "random" colors in the  fabric on your table cloth....
The final words of this book are so lovely I'll share them too:
"Beauty is in the way you live. Enjoy your surroundings. Let them inspire you. Follow your own path, and approach everything you do with love in your heart." 
I've not just used her books to dream big in the garden on a lazy Sunday afternoon but I like to think they have helped me improve my eye for photos, colors, and patterns, and have actually encouraged me on a personal level to embrace my creative dreams. And, best of all, I have not just dreamed but really sewn several of her projects! I will share them in my next blog posts, so please stay tuned! In the meantime, if you've not been there yet, do check out her beautiful site, and be prepared to be inspired! 


nest full of eggs said...

There is an Amy Butler gray floral fashion fabric that I wish I could get my hands on. It must be so popular because all the online stores are always sold out!

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Lovely post Karen, it is very interesting to learn about what inspires you! :)
V xxx

Anna-Marie Field said...

Hi Karen,Lovely post and I love the fabric!!!Just my style!!Have a great day!!!

Sherry C said...

Lovely post! I do love Amy Butler fabrics, can't wait to see your projects!