Thursday, November 10, 2011

Celebrate Color {with Lotta Jansdotter}

This week I had the pleasure of chatting with Lotta Jansdotter.  Although she's certainly an established artist, she has only just burst onto the quilting fabrics scene, so I'm betting we'd all like to get to know her better.  Let's Celebrate Color through her eyes today!

Rachel:  As this autumn season reaches full tilt and even begins to fade in some places, we're taking a few more weeks this month to be thankful for the colors of fall.  Lotta, at this time of year what color speaks to you most?  And, what meaning does it carry for you?
Lotta:  Autumn, for the most obvious reasons, makes me think of golden colors.  Now, I am more drawn to the mustard yellows... not so much the reds.  Yellow is often a forgotten color in the design and fashion world.  Luckily, that trend seems to have changed some in the last year or so.  Yellow feels warm, happy and inspiring!  I find yellow all around me right now.. "sitting" pretty on the beautiful Brooklyn trees lining my bike ride home from work.  And... that warm happy yellow is part of my new fabric collection, Echo!

Rachel:  Yellow is definitely a color that I gravitate to over and over again.  I often wonder where these preferences originate.  Can you pinpoint what calls you to your signature colors?  Could any of them be a reflection of your personality or upbringing?
Lotta:  My childhood upbringing in nature in Scandinavia effected me a lot and helped shaped my palette:  the pale winter days, the grayish blue color of the ocean surrounding me, the greens of summer foliage with an overall muted color mood.

image credit
I also get inspired by my surroundings now.  Moving from San Francisco to New York changed my palette some.  I am more interested in more strong and bold colors, like a hot pink.  I think that is a reflection of the more strong and bold city I live in.

Rachel:   Yes, I can see that!  And some of those muted ocean colors made an appearance in Echo, your first fabric collection.   I am so very excited about your collection!  Although I have never tried print-making myself, I have had your book Lotta Prints on my wishlist for awhile, just because I love your aesthetic.  Thank-you for bringing your prints to those of us who are far more passionate about sewing than print-making!  I do have to ask, however, what made you decide to take your designs to fabric?  Did you have any reservations about taking the plunge?

Lotta:  I started my company backin 1996.  I screen printed my designs and motifs on linen and sewed cushions and tote bags with those fabrics.  I created finished pieces for different gift and design stores.  I have always worked with fabrics from the beginning.  I love fabrics!

But, as you say, the prints are my passion.  I enjoy most to draw and create the prints and motifs that then get applied to different materials and goods.  My prints have found their way to so many different things:  stationery, mugs, bags, bicycles, shower curtains, umbrellas, nickers and yes... fabric by the yard!  I was a bit reluctant at first, since I was concerned that some people might produce products that compete with mine, but essentially it is now OK.   I am delighted and thrilled to learn about this new market and the sewing community. 

Rachel:  We're so glad you made that choice!  Now, your Echo prints are simple and modern, looking very much like fabric someone talented could have printed at home.  Do you expect that your future collections will continue this theme?

Lotta:  That is my style.. "Keep it simple."  So, yes, that will most likely continue.  People are drawn to the sparse, clutter-free and simple approach.

start of something new

Rachel:   You're right, that is what draws me in.  Your motifs are so different from the rest of my fabric stash, and it's a refreshing change.  And yet, when I made my Twinkle Twinkle quilt, I found that they mixed nicely with other fabrics I had on hand. 

Since you like to sew as well, what are your favorite things to sew, and why?

Lotta:  Right now I am into whipping out little "mini quilts" that turn out to be perfect little pot holders, using a bunch of little fabric scraps.  I like it because it's fast, and I'm loving instant gratification.  And, I also think it's rather great that I can repurpose pieces of scrap fabric. 

Rachel:  Have you ever made a large quilt? 

Lotta:  Yes, I have made a few.  I learned how to do a basic quilt square in school at 10 years old.  Back then, I simply made a cushion.  But later, when I was 17, I remembered that technique and made a whole full size quilt using that method.

Recently I made two quilts, using a more "deconstructive" approach.  I'm very inspired by Gees Bend Quilts... love that!  This one is made with the blues and grays from Echo.

Rachel:  Yes!  It's lovely, especially popped with that yellow pillow.  One last question... Do you have any thoughts or predictions on where you see color "headed" in the fabric design industry overall?

Lotta:  Well, I did mention the yellow. But, otherwise, I don't much follow trends... I think neon colors mixed with natural flax and linen might be fun.  

Rachel:  Wow, that could be fun, and definitely bold!  We'll keep our eye out for bright pink combined with natural fiber neutrals.  Maybe in your next collection!  Thanks, Lotta, for chatting with us about color.  It's been an honor to have you as a guest.  Your artwork is quite inspiring to us all!

To my readers, you should know that Lotta has a whole collection of fun paper goods products and other such lovelies that you can find at her website  And, if you happen to be in Brooklyn, her shop opens today.  Yes, today!  Her store is combined with her studio and is now open at 131 8th Street in Brooklyn, NY 11215 on Tuesday - Friday from 12 - 6pm and on Saturdays from 11 - 4pm.  Wouldn't that be a fun stop!


  1. Wow! Great insight into Lotta's world. I jut got a bundle of echo fabric and my husband likes it far more than many other fabrics in my collection. He is Swedish so Lotta's statements about nature and her upbringing are obviously true for him too!

  2. Lotta Prints was the first art/craft book I bought as an adult and I've loved her work ever since. So nice to hear from her on the advent of her first fabric collection!

  3. Now I want to buy the Echo line even more!

  4. What a treat -- such a great look into Lotta's world. She is such an inspiring designer!

    Wow, Rachel! First Mr. Dewberry, now Lotta! Who's next? Anna Maria Horner, maybe?! ;)

  5. I saw this fabric and had to buy some - I love it!

  6. If I lived in NY I would so run to that shop opening! Great interview. I enjoyed learning more about her. I am hoping for some Echo for Christmas...

  7. Her fabric is so different from what I normally gravitate to but I love the simple lines and big splashes of color. This line would look good with your brick quilt.

  8. I admire your interview skills as you got lots out of Lotta. I certainly agree that our environment influences our color choices! Great interview!

  9. Great interview, wish I could drop by and visit the shop!

  10. Love your designs and colors that inspire you.

  11. great interview. i love Lotta's keep it simple approach. and those yellows are so beautiful (my favorite color). I WOULD LOVE TO SEE HER SHOP!

  12. Thanks for the great interview. I've also been a fan of Lotta's prints for a long time. I can't wait to get some Echo!

  13. Yep, Lotta inspires me even more after reading this. Love her! Great job, Rachel! I have to got to get me some Echo...

  14. I love Lotta's book Simple Sewing and just picked up some Echo on sale at Missouri Quilt Co!

  15. Thanks for the terrific interview! I really like Echo - it's on my Christmas list too!


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