Today I’ll be featuring two fabric companies I found at Quilt Market that were totally new to me. The first is Art Gallery Fabrics.
Art Gallery Fabrics is owned by designer Patricia Bravo and her husband Walter. Patricia told me the story of moving to the U.S. from her native Argentina. She sewed for a hobby and found herself at the local Joann’s. She saw a woman spreading out some fabric, stepping back, framing it with her fingers, and squinting. She asked a clerk what on earth this woman was doing, and the the clerk responded “oh, she’s auditioning fabric for a quilt.” Patricia asked, “What’s a quilt?”
This launched Patricia’s interest in quilting. She started off with standard patterns, then became interested in landscape and art quilts. She sought specific colors to represent elements like rocks and trees, but she couldn’t find what she wanted. So, she started hand-painting and hand-stamping fabrics — fat quarters to begin with.
She took these handpainted fabrics to local quilt shops to see if they wanted to sell them. They turned out to be a big hit, and this led to the trade show circuit, which in turn led to her fabrics being produced on a larger scale. Above are samples from Oriental Collection, her first collection which was based on those hand-painted and hand-stamped fabrics. It was first produced in 2005 and has since undergone four reprints.
Patricia is 100% self-taught in fabric and quilt design. Her fabrics are feminine, graphic, ornamental, and detailed. They take pride in having extra high-quality fabric and printing — she said their fabric has a 133×72 thread count compared to the industry standard of 60×60 or 80×80. There aren’t many designers who produce their own fabrics (and only their own fabrics) and do the whole nine yards of running the business. One thing I realized at Quilt Market was that every company has a different business model — and from Patricia, I learned that if you have the drive, you can indeed break into this business DIY-style!
More from the Art Gallery Quilts booth here.