WORKING AS: A BLOCK PRINTER AND TEXTILE DESIGNER
This month, I made a cool new artist friend, Danielle Broder. When I came across her work, I new that she would be a perfect fit for my working as series, where we dive deep into the world of artist careers. Today, she shares her artistic experience and journey with us. You will learn all about block printing, and how you can get started creating unique textiles of your very own! Read the interview to see all of her trendsetting patterns and score a freebie from Danielle!
Danielle, can you please share a little bit about yourself?
I’ve always been creative, but never considered it as a career until college. I was lucky enough to have an artsy grandma, mom and dad putting me in painting, drawing, jewelry, and crafting classes all the time as a kid. When I got to college, I decided to study illustration even though I didn’t know how that would eventually turn into a job. A year after graduating, I went back for a second degree in interior design and worked for a few designers and architects in L.A.
While in college, I had all kinds of random art jobs, working for a home staging company, as an art teacher for kids (kill me), an art director at a summer camp, and doing graphic and web design for a few years. After I graduated the second time, I needed to get the heck out of L.A. So I moved to San Francisco and started my business shortly after.
I started printing fabric and making wall prints, selling them online and at craft shows. After a few years it was going ok but it was growing painfully slow. I decided to quit doing craft shows cold turkey and worked more on my online presence. Soon I received a random email from a small company, asking me to create a class to teach my printing process.
A few months later, I was teaching block printing from my kitchen table in SF through Groupon. Now 5 years later, that class has become my signature offer as I’ve tweaked it to accommodate up to 40 people in larger settings as well as a 1:1 class.
I also started doing custom work for interior designers which I really love (even though some projects are SUCH a challenge!)
The Block Printing Process
Tell us a little bit about your process:
I sketch designs in pencil and work them over in Illustrator until I get them perfect. Then I transfer those images to rubber, carve them out, and stamp them with inks onto giant pieces of fabric. I try and stay out of the sewing part...I really don't enjoy that part!!
What kind of wood or material you use for your block?
There are a bunch of materials you can carve to create a block print, but I use rubber blocks for all of my designs. I find that rubber in combination with the inks I use have the best effects on fabric, while still being really quick and easy to use.
How long does it take you to carve it out?
It depends on how intricate the design is. Most simple blocks I can carve up in less than an hour. More delicate and complex larger scale blocks can take up to a few days to carve. If it’s that detailed, I usually space it out over a week, so I can rest my eyes in between!
How did you get started?
I spent 8 years in art school learning every medium under the sun, but somehow missed printmaking. Part of the senior project in my interior design degree was to take a part of my design project and construct a piece of it at full scale.
I chose to make a fabric wall hanging because I was super stressed and that seemed really easy. I bought a piece of $4 burlap, and googled how to print my designs onto fabric. After a quick search, I came across a block printing tutorial and that was it. I got the supplies, carved my first block, and my project was a hit.
What is your favorite pattern that you have ever created?
I don’t really have a favorite (can’t choose!), but my favorite group of patterns were all designed when I took my second solo trip to France and Spain in 2017. I was really inspired by the D’Orsay Museum and spent hours in cafés sipping wine and sketching. Those patterns remind me of that incredible trip!
What type of inks do you use?
I use screen-printing inks for all my projects. I prefer them over oil inks because they are less toxic and much easier to clean up.
What projects are you most excited about right now?
I’m finishing up some custom fabric for a woman who makes super cute pillows for interior design projects. I designed totally new patterns that stray from my usual style, so it was fun to break that boundary and do something new.
I’m also updating my online course which is a video workshop where you can learn my entire process from start to finish.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
That seems so far away! In 5 years I want to be teaching primarily online, while doing more large scale custom projects for interior designers. Oh, and I want to be hosting a rad art retreat!
Thank you Danielle for sharing your expertise and inspiring us!
You can find out more about Danielle here, and click below to grab her free list of supplies to get started.
Today, I am sharing a Q & A, which is my second post in a series about how to host an experience with Airbnb. I became an Airbnb experience host in 2018, as experiences are relatively new to Airbnb and I wanted to share some tips with you. You can read the first part here: How to Host an experience with Airbnb. One of my workshop guests, is now starting up an experience of her own in Venice Beach, CA and she had a few questions for me. I realized that many of her questions, I did not cover yet, so I am sharing them here with you. For me the benefits of hosting an experience has been threefold: I have gained exposure to new international clientele, and I have developed new textile designs. I even get asked to do private corporate workshops due to my work as an experience host. To find out more as this hosting series evolves, be sure to join my mailing list and receive monthly workshop updates. Read our full Q & A below!
10 questions with aromatherapist FLIN K. GRANT, M.A.
Are you curious about how to use natural products in your beauty routine and daily life? Have you ever wanted to know more about what it takes to become an Aromatherapist and/or create a beauty line? If so, then this is the perfect interview for you. I am proud to share the next interview in our Working As series, with Flin K. Grant, Aromatherapist and creator of a natural beauty line. Today, Flin shares her background, mission and inspiration with you. So without further ado, here are 10 questions with Flin.
Q: Can you please share a little bit about your current natural wellness business?
A: I'm the owner, artisan and staff aromatherapist at Art of Essentials: Aromatherapy Inspired by Traditional Plant Medicine. I make small-batch, toxin-free body products such as nourishing body balms and hydrating face serums. I also do aromatherapy consultations and teach workshops on the basics of using essential oils and how to make your own blends and products.
Q: How did you become interested in Essential Oils and Aromatherapy?
A: I've dabled with essential oils for 30 years! My dad owned a metaphysical bookstore when I was younger and they sold essential oils there, so that was really my first introduction. And I've always had a keen nose and been attracted to aromatics. Then when I was pregnant with my daughter I developed an aversion to all synthetic smells and stopped using anything but 100% natural products. I became increasingly interested in the science and chemistry surrounding synthetics vs. plant-based materials. When my daughter was a baby I started studying the therapeutic properties of pure essential oils and using them on a regular basis. I noticed such a positive impact on my physical and emotional health.
*An interesting side note is that many women experience heightened olfactory sensitivity during pregnancy. The limbic system in mammals enables this so that the new baby's smell can imprint on the mother!
Q: What inspires you?
A: I'm in awe of the incredible ways that plants have healed humans for hundreds of thousands of years andI'm constantly inspired by seeing the plants that I study and use in their natural environment. I love going on outings and photographing the plants that I find (I studied photography in art school); a giant Eucalyptus tree, a rose bloom or a mint plant. These are common sights that it's easy to take for granted until you realize that, not only do plants give us oxygen to support life and feed us, but they also offer their bodies to us in the form of aromatic herbs and oils, healing remedies that can soothe physical inflammations and calm emotional tensions.
Q: What types of products do you create? Any customer favorites?
A: I make products that I use personally. I create something to fill a need that I have, then test the formula on myself. If I like it, then I'm confident in giving it to others because I know it works! My top sellers (and also my favorites) are: Face Serum #1, excellent for sealing in moisture for dry, mature skin; Atchoo Allergy Blend, to reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies, from which I suffer; Honey Jasmine Everywhere Balm, an all-purpose balm that hydrates any dry spot on your body, including hands and lips, and I even use it to detangle knots in my daughter's hair!
Q: What does your creative process look like?
A: I usually mull over an idea for a while and let it take on a few forms while I'm deciding what works best. Sometimes I gather ideas and images as inspiration and sometimes I do research. I like to live with something and really observe it while it's in each stage of development. Then when all of the elements click, I know it's time to finalize the project and I move pretty quickly. It's a very intuitive process.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing (best part) about using Aromatherapy?
A: It's empowering having this natural tool to use as a preventative medicine because I believe in taking a holistic approach to well-being. I've seen so many ways that aromatherapy can help people. It's a simple and effective way to care for yourself and loved ones on a cellular level and can compliment any other health care regime that's practiced.
Q: What upcoming projects are you excited about on the horizon?
A: I've got 3 new products that I'm launching this year, including an aromatic oil fragrance that I've been perfecting for a couple of years! I'm also co-teaching some botanically-inspired workshops that merge eco-textile design with custom aromatherapy. Those are going to be lovely experiential events! Then, this summer I'm planning to consult at a farm's Lavender Festival and teach guests about the essential oils that are distilled directly on the property from their own herbs. I'm really excited about that too!
Q: If someone is just starting out with essential oils, what 3 oils would you recommend to them to get started?
A: I would want to know what they will be using them for and what outcome they're hoping to achieve. Aromatherapy can be highly individual because olfaction is such a personal experience and so strongly influenced by memory and association. But... as a general rule, Lavender, Frankincense and Orange are a great place to start because they are all incredibly versatile and gentle oils.
Q: If someone is interested in getting more involved with aromatherapy, are there any groups or classes that you would recommend?
A: Yes! Come take our Botanical Bundle Dye and Aromatherapy Workshop!
I also do custom classes and consultations. You can contact me directly via my Facebook group, Art of Essentials, or my website. Kurt Schnaubelt and Robert Tisserand are both highly respected authors to read up on. I also love Mandy Aftel and Cathy Skipper. You can take free online Intro to Aromatherapy classes at Aromahead and New York Institute for Aromatic Studies. They're both great!
Thank you, Flin. This has been so inspiring!
For more on aromatherapy, you can learn to create own DIY Room Spray with Flin too.
HI, I'M HILARY.
This is where I share inspiration for a handmade lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile surface techniques, and the best of California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable artful home. I offer creative workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my workshops for creative people like you! Join my tribe to receive your first free video on Shibori folding with me.
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