Featured Designer - Jason Yenter of In The Beginning Fabrics March 15 2018 5 Comments
Carolyn and I combed through hundreds of fabrics for the Celestial Star Stitch-Along, and then, we came across Treasures of Nature by Jason Yenter for In The Beginning Fabrics, this month's featured designer. At that moment, we knew it was the perfect fabric for this special project. The design elements in the fabric and the repeats really lent themselves to fussy cutting and our love affair began!
Now let's get to know Jason!
Jen: Where were you born and raised?
Jason: Seattle, Washington
Jen: For how long have you been designing fabric, and how did you get started? Did you study art in college?
Jason: I designed my first collection of fabric in 1998 - it was called Atlantis - The Lost Fabrics. I have always been interested in creating art - though I actually have my degree in business from the University of Washington. I have been around fabric my whole life and was very inspired by watching my mother Sharon design fabric. She was Nothcott Fabric's first quilt-fabric "name" designer back in the early 90s.
Jen: How did In The Beginning Fabrics come to be?
Jason: My mother started In The Beginning Fabrics back in 1977 as a fabric store in Seattle. I started working in the store when I was 13 and continued part-time through high school and college. I became a full-time employee after graduating college in 1992. In 1996, we decided to take my mom's fabric designing talent and create our own fabric company. Both sides of the business continued to grow, but in 2006, we made the extremely hard decision to close the retail store and concentrate on the fabric manufacturing side of the business.
Jen: You have a beautiful, distinct style and color sense. Did it just come to you naturally or has it evolved over time?
Jason: I have a definite sense of what I like to design and the colors I like to use, but over the years, I have greatly expanded my design range. I design/style/direct all of the company's collections - so they cannot all look the same - look like "Jason." We sell fabric to stores across the U.S. and in many other countries, so I have to continually work hard to create fabrics that a wide range of people will hopefully like. I also look at many things outside of the "quilting world." I look at many gift catalogs and walk the isles of Target and other stores to get ideas on colors and design trends that people are using in their homes.
Jen: Can you tell us about your creative design process and how that works through the fabric that you create? What was your inspiration for the Treasures of Nature line? Why the mix of exotic birds and sea life?
Jason: For Treasures of Nature, I did not have one distinct inspiration. I love incorporating elements from nature into my fabric - whether is is plants or animals. For this collection I needed a range of images for the design layout to work, and both sea life and birds have a wide range that work together nicely. Some other parts of the animal kingdom are harder to put together and harder to keep pretty. I wanted the collection to be fun and unique, but pretty is important - as opposed to being too bold and crazy.
Jen: What was your thought process for creating the designs in Treasures of Nature? Did you intend for these designs to be fussy cut?
Jason: I think fussy cutting fabrics is awesome, and I often think about it when I design my collections. Designs that look cool in kaleidoscope blocks are some of my favorite to create. I like lots of little details that may hide when you look at the whole design, but that can really pop out if you fussy cut a bunch of them.
Jen: Of the fabric that you have designed, which is your favorite collection and why?
Jason: Wow - this is a really hard question. I guess I would say my Floragraphix series of collections. The start of that series marked a definite change in my design style to a more sophisticated looked.
Jen: Complete this sentence. When I am not designing fabric, I am…
Jason: ...usually driving my teenage son somewhere! LOL. That actually is pretty true, but I also travel, work in the yard, think about designing fabric.
Jen: Can you give us any hints on up and coming fussy cutting fabric collections or share sneak peaks?
Jason: The next collection I have that would be good for fussy cutting is another sea life based group called Calypso. It will not be out until Fall. It has a border print and an all-over print that would both work really well for fussy cutting.
Above: Kaleidoscope quilt made with border print from Calypso and tonals
We can't wait to see Calypso in person and what else Jason creates. Maybe I can convince Carolyn to lead another Stitch-Along! :)