Interview: Núria González of Zález

Last week we shared a fantastic drawstring bag DIY tutorial by Núria González of Zález in Spain and promised to feature an interview with the owner herself, so you could find out more about her and how she set up her business!

Her business has just turned ‘4’ so what better way to help her celebrate!

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

Hi Nuria, thanks so much for agreeing to answer some questions for us! Let’s start with your business Zález. When did you start it and why?

I studied fashion design in Barcelona. I always liked to draw and make different types of crafts, as I’m good working with my hands. 10 years ago I moved to Seville and began creating small textile accessories. And eight years ago I created the Zález brand, which eventually evolved to today where I have my own store and shop in the centre of Seville. Currently I also sell my designs online through the nuriagonzalez.com website.

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

What do you sell?

In my shop I sell bags, backpacks and small textile accessories in which I make the design and sew. I also sell Japanese fabrics and of course the beautiful Dashwood Studio fabrics so that each client can make their own designs. I offer to my clients the option to customize the bags, so they can choose themselves fabrics they like and make small changes that will best suit their preferences.

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

Have you always loved fabric and sewing?

As a child I always dressed up and made my own dresses in pieces of cloth. I loved to combine fabrics, colors, etc. Currently I feel the same with different fabrics with which I work. I enjoy looking for great original combinations between different patterns. Japanese fabrics, Dashwood Studio fabrics, etc., are a source of constant inspiration.

So what else inspires you and helps you get into the creative mood?

I love illustration, furniture design, whether modern or ancient, and the same happens with the architecture. I think I absorb many ideas of shapes and silhouettes of all these elements. A very important part of my designs are the needs that I convey my clients. I talk every day with them as it is so important, all both positive and negative reviews must be taken into account when choosing materials and shapes to create a new accessory.

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

Who are your favourite makers/designers/crafters?

I like many designers and crafters! I love jewelry of Manitas de Plata, Fauna y Flora and Laliblue that I sell in my store. Creativity in creating of Moniquilla prints, Todo Muta designs, Lady Desidia, and many others.

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

There seems to be a rise of Spanish crafters and shops, have you noticed this and why do you think that is?

I think that the economic crisis affecting Spain in recent years has made many people have to create their own business. People become more creative, looking for other ways to enjoy their free time, either by sewing, painting, crocheting, and other crafts. All this coupled with a wealth of information on the Internet such as tutorials, beautiful photographs and easy to get any material. It is a constant source of inspiration and motivation that makes people create their own blogs, websites, etc., to show their work.

Nuria Gonzalez Zalez

What’s a typical day at Zález like?

A typical day in Zález begins in the workshop, which is integrated into the store. I start to sew custom orders for clients, and then sew bags and backpacks for my own shop. As the morning progresses clients start coming and I attend and advise them myself. Every six months I design the new collection. I manage myself all social networks (Facebook, Instagram, blog and website). And also the administrative side as well, so never stop!

Thanks Núria, it’s wonderful to get an insight into your business and your love of fabrics and craft!

If you want to follow Núria you can find her on:

Website

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Studio Shoot: Suffolk Garden Makes

This week, photographer Yeshen Venema came to the studio to shoot our latest collections and all the wonderful makes we’ve received in the last few months as props for our trade shows.

We’ve some fantastic makes to share with you, but we thought we’d start with the Suffolk Garden collection by Brie Harrison, as it’s a playful collection of prints and it’s been a hit with our suppliers since we launched at the start of this year.

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Dolls by Anita of Quirky Genius

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Lynne Goldsworthy‘s lovely Suffolk Garden Quilt.

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Purses by Susan Dunlop

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Bag by The Cheshire Design House Dashwood Studio

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Cushions by Nikki at The Ochil Tree

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 Do you have any Suffolk Garden or other Dashwood makes to share with us? Email them in and we’ll feature them in our next round up!

Interview with Lynne Goldsworthy of Lily’s Quilts

Lynne Lilys Quilts

Today, we’d like to introduce Lynne Goldsworthy, the quilter behind Lily’s Quilts. Lynne has been making quilts for us almost since the company began, and never fails to use the fabric in a fun and aesthetically pleasing way.

Lynne’s quilts are frequently featured in popular sewing and quilting magazines and she’s often found running up a new quilt for fabric companies like ours!

Here’s what Lynne had to say about her passion for quilting and the process of making her latest quilt for us using Suffolk Garden by Brie Harrison.

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How did you get into quilting and how long have you been doing it for?

I’ve been sewing all my life and even English Paper Pieced hexagons as a kid but didn’t discover quilts until about twenty years ago. I was a lawyer working in the city and had some litigation going on in Washington so had a series of trips to Washington over a few weeks.

There always seemed to be time to kill before the flight home which I’d kill in Tysons Corner, a huge American shopping mall. There I discovered Americanalia shops full of Shaker boxes, cinnamon sticks and beautiful traditional quilts and I was hooked. But during that period I was working and then had four kids so had no real spare time for a new hobby.

Fast forward fifteen years, after my four kids had reached their teens and I re-kindled my interest in quilting with all the modern fabrics and the inspiration that can be found on the internet. I love how interconnected the quilters around the world are – I can be sitting chatting online to quilters across Europe, in America and in Australia all in one day.

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What inspired the design of your latest quilt for Dashwood?

I’ve always loved the Joseph’s Coat quilts and this was a mini and simplified version of that classic pattern. the shapes can be hand appliquéd but I raw edge appliquéd them for a quicker, easier finish. These days people have very little time to sit hand sewing so a quick quilt is always a popular choice!

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Did you have a favourite print from the collection?

Yes, the orange berry star and the mint daisy spot are probably equally my two favourites from the collection although I’d probably choose the orange if I was forced to. I think this was the print we used on the back of the quilt.

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When I first started making quilts for Dashwood, David would send me any old fabric he had lying around for the back but I twisted his arm to send me a gorgeous print from the line for the backs. For me, the back of the quilt is just as important as the front and it really completes a quilt to have a really appealing and interesting backing.

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Do you have a dedicated sewing/crafting space? If so, what is it like?

I sew in the dining room. Our kitchen is big enough to eat in so I only have to clear out when we have ten or more for dinner which isn’t very often. And I have a complete clear-out every year at Christmas when the sewing shuts down for two weeks and the dining room is used for all the festive meals.

The room was designed and decorated by the guy we bought the house from and is very dramatic – it’s decorated all in red and black and has a huge octagonal black and red dining table in the middle.

Although a slightly ridiculous table, it is actually the perfect size and shape for basting even the biggest quilt.

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What are you working on next?

I tend to have a queue of quilts lining up to be made and that’s even truer at the moment as I’m just starting work on a new book! So the queue of projects is getting very long as they have to jostle for place alongside all the other projects I have lined up over the next few months.

99% of those projects are quilts. What I love doing most is designing and making quilts so I concentrate on that as much as I can. My projects tend to be a mix of quilts for magazines and quilts for fabric companies and the thrill for me is always seeing new fabric lines and imagining the quilts they could be made into.

You can catch up with Lynne yourself over at http://lilysquilts.blogspot.co.uk/ and on Instagram at http://instagram.com/lilysquilts

Behind the Scenes at Craft, Hobby and Stitch

We had a great time at the Craft, Hobby and Stitch International Show in Birmingham and have been in a whirlwind ever since prepping for the next trade show we’re going to in Holland this weekend!

But, we couldn’t rush off without sharing a few piccies from our stand and of all the amazing Dashwood Makes on show:   

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We showed off our latest collections: Cuckoo’s Calling, Suffolk Garden and Rain or Shine with some wonderful quilts that have been made by talented sewists like Michael Caputo and Karen Lewis.

Did you make it to the show? What were your highlights?

A Chat With Quilter, Paper Engineer & Artist, Michael Caputo

Michael Caputo is a quilter, paper engineer and artist who we’ve admired for a long time here at Dashwood – and when he agreed to make an exclusive quilt using our latest collection Rain or Shine – we jumped at the chance!

Today on the blog we settle in for a good chat and catch up with the man himself, and discover where his passion for textiles and quilting came from, and how he turned it into a successful career….

How did you get into quilting and how long have you been doing it for?

My quilting start was sort of a joke. My mother is a quilter and a crafter and for years she was making quilts for everyone we knew. Everyone except me! She didn’t want my dog Lily to play on all her hard work when I was out of the apartment. So one year, I was sick over the Christmas Holidays and I asked her if she would bring in her spare machine in to the city (NYC) and show me what to do. Off I went to the City Quilter in New York City to buy some fabric. This was my first experience in a proper Quilting Shop.
IMG_0513 I was overwhelmed but managed to select fabric based on what I liked. I had a copy of Denyse Schmidt’s book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects and was working off one of her amazing quilt patterns. This was back in 2006.

What was the first quilt you ever made?

I might have bitten off a bit more than I could chew at the time. The piecing went smoothly. I made myself a card template for the gentle curves and precut all of my fabric, pinned and labeled everything so I could just sew. I wanted the top to sit a certain way so it ended up being very large. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a Super King! It sat in a plastic storage container for years, as I had no way of quilting it. About 6 years ago my mom bought a HandiQuilter Longarm and has it set up in her basement back home in New York. Last year while Victoria and I were home visiting I reached out to Denyse to see if she would mind a Studio visit. I was able to show her my first quilting project. I went home and threw it on the Longarm and for the next 2 days was in a quilting zone. It was finished by the time we made it back to London and is on the bed in our spare room.
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Have you received any training or attended courses to enhance your skills?

I have no professional quilt training. Generally I try to figure things out myself but if I can’t I have a look online. Crafsty quilting classes are great. I have most of them in my account. I did also take a class when I first started with my mom years ago. It was a Log Cabin class. It was me and 8 women quilting away. Needless to say I was the only one to finish my quilt in the 2 classes. It was based on a pattern from a book which I can’t remember.
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Do you use your sewing skills for making anything else?

My wife and I now have a little boy. Haydn is 11 months old and I have made him a few pairs of Overalls. I have been planning to make a few skirts for Victoria but haven’t gotten around to them yet.

You are also a paper engineer and artist, please tell us more about what that is and how you got into it?

Basically a paper engineer is someone who designs and creates the mechanical parts of pop-up books or novelty books. It can something as simple as a pull tab
IMG_0619 IMG_0620 ….or a really complex cityscape of Paris for my 75th Anniversary Pop-Up for Madeline.
IMG_0718 Basically I start out with an idea of what I am going to do and then I construct it in paper. This could take a few hours or a few days to get right. Once I have built a functioning model I dismantle it and make digital files to ensure all of my measurements are 100% correct.
IMG_0185 IMG_0216 DSC_0012 I got into Pop-ups by accident as well. I was working for HarperCollins designing Children’s books back in NYC and a friend of mine was the Art Director at Simon & Schuster. They did a lot of Pop-Up books. Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart were looking for a intern to help with some projects they were working on and after meeting with them was asked if I could help them out. I worked every Saturday for lunch and got to learn from the Masters of the Pop-Up World.

How has your career developed as a paper engineer?

After I left HarperCollins, I worked at a few other place but always remained in touch with Robert and Matthew. Years later they were at a point where they needed a fulltime designer/engineer and so I was hired as the Art Director to design and help with the engineering of dozens of books and cards. I have worked on Cinderella, MegaBeasts, Sharks, Narnia, 12 Days of Christmas, Star Wars and many more.
DSC_0033 DSC_0040 Through another friend I found out that Penguin was looking for a Novelty Designer to try to revitalize an old imprint that used to do Pop-Ups. I was now able to design and engineer my own titles. I came in 2nd in the Novelty category in the 2010 NY Book Show for my book called “Everyone Says I Love You”,
DSC_0007 DSC_0048 DSC_0049 ….and 1st in 2012 for Spin.
IMG_0618 Now I do freelance for companies I like both here in London and back home in NYC.

Do you find any synergies with working with paper and fabric?

I like to use my design background when creating my quilts. It is very easy for me to brainstorm with pencil and paper and then quickly mock things up on my computer. If I have access to digital images of the fabric I can place them and make a fully rendered representation of the quilt. Takes the guess work out of it and also allows the magazines a chance to see it before it is done.

Did you have a design in mind for the Dashwood Studio quilt before hand?

David messaged me on my blog page after seeing one of my projects in Quilt Now!.
20141030_092021 2ee6f501a6569cf213987ad1c50a88aa_L He mentioned he had some strike off fabric as the final run was not complete and wanted to know if I would be interested in creating something to display the fabric for an upcoming show. Once he sent an image of the prints I had the idea.

What inspired the design of the quilt?

Because the prints are bright and playful I wanted to have them on a grey background so they would pop.
20150125_215320 As this was a piece to be on display at shows I wanted to keep the print fabric as solid as possible so they can be seen in a larger section. The idea was to have a dark sky above an umbrella and a bright blue sky below. Once I saw the fabric in person I knew the idea was spot on.

How did you pick which prints from the collection to use, and where?

I only had a small piece of a few fabrics. I used nearly everything that David sent to me including the extra dots, which I used on the binding. The bright yellow Sun print and the Dark blue Umbrella print were a perfect choice for the big umbrella. The white background prints suited the raindrops.

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Did you have a favourite print from the collection?

I actually like them all but as yellow is my favorite colour I am going to say the Sun print.

Please explain the process behind making the quilt – how long did it take you, what were the different stages etc?

The process was pretty straightforward. I picked out 4 grey Kona solids and 3 blue Kona solids for the base quilt. Mixing and stitching the pieces together I created a upper background and a lower background. All of the pieces of the Umbrella and the Raindrops were appliqued on using a decorative stitch. The pattern has been written up and will be in an upcoming issue of Quilt Now! Keep an eye out for the details on how to make your own….

Do you have a dedicated sewing/crafting space?

I have a separate room in our house. It is my office so it has a big iMac, a bigger printer and scanner and cutting mats on one side and the other has my Janome Horizon 7700.
DSC_0263 DSC_0265 DSC_0266 DSC_0267 It is usually a mess with both paper shavings and fabric slivers all over the table and floor. I have posters on the walls and my Pop-Up books on the shelves. Before we moved to this new house I had a Studio in Dalston which was twice the size but now I can work anytime I want and even in my pajamas. Usually I do my binding on the couch watching Law& Order reruns.

What helps you get into a project? Music? Company? 

The music is always on when I am working. I have also been known to have Netflix on in the background. When we used to foster dogs from Battersea, they would come with me to the Studio when it was outside of the house. Now that I work from home and we don’t have a foster dog I just listen to music.
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How do you document your ideas?

I’m not always the best at documenting things while I am working. My goal was to take pictures so I can post them on my blog. I get so focused that on what I am doing that the camera just sits quietly in its tripod, unused. I am getting better but still not where I would like it to be. As most of the newer stuff has a digital version and templates I have been organizing them in folders on my computer.

What are you working on next?

I am currently working on project for Love Patchwork & Quilting for the April issue and also another one for Quilt Now!. I think that is an April issue as well. Just finished and cool wall hanging for the March issue Quilt Now!. I was also asked by British Patchwork & Quilting magazine to do two articles for upcoming issues.I try to keep busy when I am not looking after the baby. Here are some of my newer projects.
DSC_0212 A project I did for a blog hop by Emily Herrick.
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My 2013 entry to the Festival of Quilts. James Dean done in Tula Pink’s prints.
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My version of Andy Warhol’s Queen.
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Jimi Hendrix at the London Modern Quilt Guild display, Festival of Quilts 2014
IMG_0044 Scrap play with some old Kate Spain prints.
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Commissioned quilt for the new DK book on Quilting.

You can find out more about Michael and his work, over at his website: http://www.patchworkandpaper.com/