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Tula Pink is a designer turned fabric artist and quilter extraordinaire. Her bold, unique and colorful fabric prints have been a breath of fresh air to the quilting world, and she has gained a dedicated following for her cutting-edge designs.

Tula shares this owl design from one of her very first fabric lines, the Full Moon Forest Series, in machine embroidery and hand embroidery formats.

Tell 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.

Tell 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.

What 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.

What’s 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 handled.

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 http://tulapink.com/.

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