March 1, 2016 by tessaraewilliams
This is the first installation of my Livin’ the Dream series. The idea is quite selfish, really; to talk with people in the quilting world who I’m inspired by and who are doing what I’d like to be doing in the future, to pick their brain for a bit to see how they got to where they are, and to ask advice on how to get there too.
To start us off, let’s talk to Samarra Khaja!
So the thing I love about Samarra is that everything she does is FUN. To me, that’s the whole point of creating! Also, I’m such a huge novelty fabric nut, and she’s an absolute wizard at novelties.
The fun doesn’t stop at her fabric designs. She also has the best ideas for quilt projects I’ve ever seen. Take a look at these applique pieces!
I’ll stop fangirling and Kermit-flailing now and get onto the good stuff. Hello, Samarra!
How was QuiltCon? Did you love it, or did you love it? Haha! Congrats on your Candy Dots quilt being shown! (Her Candy Dots quilt pattern can me found in her book!)
QuiltCon was fun and I found myself non-stop busy talking with people, even between things like book signings and meetings. The only downtime at QuiltCon is sleeping!
Do you think QuiltCon and Quilt Market are important things to go to if you’re wanting to break into the industry? Or are they something you attend once you’ve already got things to sell/show? I know you usually have to be a retailer to be able to go to Market, so that’s different than Con that’s open to everybody. I feel like those shows probably have lots of valuable information and the opportunity to network with people.
If you’re trying to break into the industry, the first stop, in my opinion, is specifically Fall Quilt Market. It’s always held in Houston and typically has the most attendance from businesses, compared to Spring Market, which is more of traveling version, as its location changes every year. It’s harder to get into as it’s for trade only, but if you can pass that test, it will give you the most bang for your buck to connect with many companies. Versus not going at all, yes, both events are good to go to, for sure.
I went to art school and have BFA work in printmaking, drawing and photography (and a minor in Medieval Studies, can’t not mention that!) and MFA work in photography. I’ve been working as an art director and graphic designer for over 20 years now and once I had my eldest son, my graphic and surface design morphed into the textile arena while I switched to freelance mode in order to stay home with him. It’s all quite funny, because my mom, a painter and sculptor, got her degree in textile design in Melbourne, years and years before I was born. So it wasn’t part of a plan, but that’s where my walkway in this forest of life as led me so far.
Yes, I was approached to license my fabric designs. As for my sewing book, “Sew Adorkable: 15 DIY Projects to Keep You Out of Trouble”, I pitched that idea and since then I’ve collaborated with my publisher on other fun projects, including my coloring book, “Off the Bookshelf” and some other fun stuff that will be coming out later this year.
Whew! I don’t know about you guys, but I’m feeling thoroughly inspired after talking with Samarra. I can’t thank her enough for giving me a bit of her time and answering all my silly little questions.