I have to admit, I find it pretty astonishing that the viewfinders are the big hit in my fabric collection. It totally makes sense, but if I had been asked to speculate before the line was available for purchase, I would have put my money on the ladies, or the big ephemera print. Funny how that works.
When I approached Kokka the first time, I had a print in my portfolio that they really liked. It was a bunch of cameras:
When Kokka came back and asked me to design a collection, however, they informed me that the upcoming Echino line had already been designed with a camera motif. So, their only request for my line was this: no cameras.
Well, several years earlier I had bought my husband a vintage viewfinder. I thought the shape was really cool, and somewhat camera-like with the advantage of not being a camera at all. I decided to draw it.
As much as I played with it, I just couldn't get the harmony I thought I had with the simple camera design. It then occurred to me that I could add one of the viewfinder reels as a design element and maybe that would strengthen the design.
This, I thought was really great. Until the next day when I looked at it again and decided it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Emotions swing wild apparently. Let's be glad I'm a little more balanced about my other creations, my children.
After weeks of obsessing over this design and trying to make it work, one day I spent a few seconds tossing together something like this:
Oh well, I thought. Enough with the viewfinders. I need some other inspiration. That's when I found the catalogs, and the ladies, and slowly, I began to piece together a vision of the ladies' lives. Allison gave them names like Barbara, Bonnie, and Dolores Kay. We talked through stories about the dishes they might cook, or the places they would travel, like on their family road trip in their station wagons, and somehow, we came full circle back to the viewfinders. The vintage reels often contain pictures of tourist attractions or national parks.
Later, when I was certain I was including the disks in my collection, Allison and my friend Brian wrote the stories that would be printed on them. Brian wrote The World of Tomorrow and A New Home on Mars with such awesome lines as "Hungry? Have a space stick!" and "Zephram bids farewell to his sweetheart at the Spaceport". He also covered hygeine, with Putting Your Best Foot Forward which contains the timeless advice "Don't let those socks droop, Dorothy!". Allison's stories were a little more homey, covering topics like Tomato Aspic Salad, "Your husband's boss is coming to dinner!", and American Western, "Starring the tall, lanky, swaggering Hollywood cowboy you expect, one dangerously headstrong femme fatale, and the Open Wild West".
Now that I look back, the viewfinder reels were the most effortless of the designs and were more fun to complete than anything else in the collection. If my work could always be so easy...
P.S. Buy a blasted elephant pattern already!! They're perfect stash busters, are cute as can be, and will make you lose 20 pounds, guaranteed*.
*with a restricted calorie diet and regular exercise.