Meet Designer Amy Schimler!

Describe your background in design. How did you get started? Who/what inspired you to make a career out of it?

I had always done artwork and worked in a ceramic studio for a while. I took a course in textile design and knew after the first class, that is what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize you could have a career in it until that class. It was very encouraging.

Do you have any advice for beginners looking to get into the design business?

Because of the internet, pattern design has become very popular. Also with it being more and more difficult to work as an editorial illustrator because of the publishing market right now, many illustrators are switching to pattern design, so it is a much more competitive marketplace.  That said, there is always a need for good pattern design. I think the most important thing is to have a unique style and an idea what type of product would best utilize your style.

What influences do you draw from when creating a design?

Color inspires me mostly. I usually start my designs with that. I am inspired by nature as well. I love playing with shapes, textures, and colors  - so that is where my inspiration comes from. My design process is very intuitive – I collect my colors first, usually colors that I like or colors that go well together and I decide on a theme. Once I have those two ingredients, I start drawing. I produce many designs a week, as I work for a studio, so the challenge is in making each design unique.

Why are aspects like color and nature so inspiring to you?

Nobody does it better than mother nature. I was looking at a sunflower recently and thought the center of the flower was like velvet and the petals like silk and started to imagine a skirt with those two fabrics. I can’t look at a bouquet of flowers or go on a nature walk without getting excited and inspired by the colors and shapes.

You’ve done a lot with Quilts for Kids. For those who don’t know, can you explain what the organization accomplishes? What has your involvement meant to you?

They have volunteers who sew quilts that are donated to comfort children in hospitals. Having their own fabric collection helps them to better accomplish that goal. It is an honor to help them and nothing is better than having something you created make a child smile, especially if they are not feeling well.

Your Fly Away collection hits stores in March. How did you come up with the theme for this fabric line?

I created the large bird design first and thought it would look good as a fabric.  I then created a collection around that theme. I didn’t originally intend for the birds to be a fabric design, they were quite large and I found the scale really intriguing. When I came up with the idea of building a collection around that print I tried to vary how I would express that theme. The geometrics were inspired by the texture and color of the first print. Sometimes I don’t know why something pops in my head. I think because I spend so much time designing, it is almost an automatic process. I try not to overthink my designs. 

What are your plans for the future? Do you have any designs currently in the works?

I have two collections coming with Robert Kaufman, I don’t know the exact names of the collections yet, but one is an Animal Mix group coming out Fall 2012 and a jungle animal group which will be released Fall 2013.


**We at Robert Kaufman would like to say a big 'thank you' to Amy for sharing with us!**

You can see more of Amy's wonderful designs at her blog Red Fish Circle or at her website. Like what you see? Follow Amy on Facebook and Twitter!