By Gertie Pye of Quilting for England
In August, LMQG was delighted to have the opportunity to enjoy an evening with Superdesigner Tula Pink, who was visiting the UK on a whistlestop tour – first to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, and then on to Liberty’s, who now carry her latest fabric lines.
Tula had an evening free in London and so agreed to meet us all in a little pub in Knightsbridge, which turned out to be the perfect setting for us to first share an informal meal, and then enjoy a talk from Tula about her design process and how she comes up with her ideas.
Tula brought along the original fabric design for the signature Owl design from her 2007 line Full Moon Forest. This begins with Tula’s first pencil drawing on tracing paper, through to the repeated black & white version, then the colour overlay, and finally the fabric itself.
One thing this process definitely showed us is that Tula is a girl who can draw! She explained that she can see how a pattern will repeat in her head and so knows whether a design will work as a fabric or not. We looked through Tula’s fabulous sketchbooks and she pointed out some sketches which would not have worked on a fabric as there was no way for them to repeat properly.
Tula brought along as many quilts as she could stuff into a suitcase and first showed us this amazing number from her 2012 line Nightshade. She explained how she creates a storyline when designing, which serves as the inspiration for her designs. In Nightshade, the storyline is based around 3 demonic sisters and their somewhat unconventional lifestyles.
Now this might not look particularly spooky from a distance – some nice pretty pinks and purples in there, I hear you say. But Tula loves to hide images within her fabrics, and particularly enjoyed hiding skulls, lightning bolts and spiders’ webs in this floral print, much to the consternation of her mother’s quilting friends:
Tula’s quilts are quilted by the legendary Angela Walters, and because this is a Hallowe’en quilt, she complemented the theme by quilting spiders’ webs in amongst the feathers and swirls:
When Tula showed us the back, there was some serious quilt backing envy in the room. In order to make sure her quilt is completely unique, Tula gets exclusive giant prints from Spoonflower. The backing to this quilt is Neptunia von Black, the youngest sister featured in her Nightshade storyline.
Tula also brought along her incredible Space Dust quilt. This quilt is just breathtaking. The design is made up of dozens of multi-coloured facets which together form a comet, and the quilting on the cream fabric makes it look like it is zooming through space:
Close up of Angela’s quilting:
Many, many thanks to Tula for such a fascinating and informative evening. I think everybody felt that they had learned a great deal from her talk, and we were even more excited when we saw the complimentary quilt patterns that Tula kindly brought along for members!
Finally, Tula’s new line, The Birds and The Bees, is out now, featuring cheeky squirrels and cute little bugs!