Recently, we’ve been able to bring you gorgeous cotton fabrics from the houses of the two Free Spirit designers Dena Designs and Heather Bailey. Since you’re bound to want to know who these designers are and what inspires their designs, we asked both of them a few questions that they have answered for you here.
Name: Dena Fishbein
Date of Birth: 03. Jan
Place of Living: Lafayette, California
Education: BFA, University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA)
Philosophy of life: Be passionate about what you do every day
1. How did you start working as a textile designer?
I started working as a textile designer right after my programme of study. I had never studied textile design formally, but I saw an advertisement in the paper for freelance textile designers and thought to myself, yes, I’ll put a couple of designs together and see if anyone’s interested. I bought some paints and a little paintbrush and off I went. I thought it would be hard and cumbersome, but it came to me quite naturally. All I could keep saying to myself was, “Wow! This is great! I really like what I’m doing!” And that’s how it all started.
2. Describe a typical day of work in your studio.
On a typical working day, I look at my e-mails and then do some research on the computer for around an hour, looking at various Pinterest pinboards and unearthing other inspiring images. I try to paint every day. I have two wonderful women who work alongside me, Kristin and Heidi; we work on designs together. I do all the drawing work, and they process the images on the computer.
What’s your most important tool for the design work?
My most important work resource is my paintbrush.
How do your private personality and your designs cooperate? Does your personality influence your designs?
My personality and my designs are complementary. I live my life and am surrounded by things that I love. I see my house as a type of art project. I’m constantly changing little details, painting furniture and adding little trinkets that I discover at flea markets. I’m happy if I can make little changes to my house or studio every week. It’s a work in progress. I am a happy person and when I paint I aim to express this sense of happiness through my designs. I love colour and I love to combine floral motifs and geometric shapes to create a fresh, cheerful look.
What was your first moment of success as a textile designer?
During the first year, when I started to design textiles, I was extremely fortunate. I think the fact that I was an inexperienced painter really did help me. I had a naive approach and that set me apart from other designers and gave me a style of my own. That year, my bed linen designs made it to the cover of a Macy’s catalogue, while my furnishing fabrics were on the cover of a textiles magazine. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I saw my designs in print! I am so grateful for the luck I encountered right in the beginning. It gave me the self-confidence I needed to continue to work as hard as I possibly could. You never know what you can do till you try!
“Thanks very much for the interview, Dena!
Do you want to find out more about Dena Designs and Heather Bailey? If so, take a look at their websites where you’ll find even more information on them.”