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"I see the world for its beauty and majesty. The intricate, the ornate, the royal... All of this catches my eye. You can say I have soulful eyes."
My passion for sewing materialized at the age of 9, when I sat down at my mother's sewing machine for the first time. At the age of 13, I joined a sewing school in my native Buenos Aires, learning everything about fabrics, dressmaking, and patterns. For many years I lived in this wonderful world, until it was time to go to college. I decided to study law and sew on the side, but soon realized that this was not my dream. I dropped out and took three years of painting classes and around this time, I met the love of my life, Walter Bravo. Twenty-seven years later, we're still married and have a beautiful son together. He is my friend, my confidant, my everything… and my partner in our company, Art Gallery Fabrics.
In 1989, we moved to the United States and I became pregnant with my son, Alex. My life changed radically after the move. Everything was completely new for me: the people, the culture, the food, the city. It was such an intense period of adaption, that for a good amount of time, I had no energy to do the things that I loved and cherished. That all changed when Walter got me my first sewing machine! With that, I immediately came back to life!
I fell in love with quilting, sewing triangles and squares together, eventually teaching myself everything that could be achieved using traditional quilting techniques. Throughout the years, my taste started evolving and I began to cross the bridge towards art quilts. First, I started with landscapes and with time my style became more abstract. I had a hard time finding color variations in batiks and that's when I decided to paint my own fabrics. I began to see that quilters loved them, and not too long after that, Walter and I founded Art Gallery Fabrics.
I am convinced that everybody is born to do something in life. This is what I was born to do and I am sure that this is what I will do for the rest of my life.
“Color is of the utmost importance in design.”
I was born and raised in Chicago, but decided to move to Scottsdale, Arizona with my two teenage daughters: Anna and Emily, and my husband Kevin to stay closer to my family.
I have been passionate about design for as long as I can remember. As a child, my mother would paint and craft, so it was only a natural progression that I would inherit her love of crafting. I began crafting and creating jewelry, but when I first learned to sew I knew I had found my passion. I was hooked on it. That obsession is what inspired my own handmade handbag business and my first book: Inspired to Sew.
My style is rather eclectic, and has grown over the years into what you see today. While I love vintage and soft designs, I am constantly drawn to color and bold prints which are very modern, as well as mixing the two for surprising combinations. I don't hold back when it comes to mixing fabric prints and colors. The world around me inspires me…. I look at photos and imagine faraway places. I see a color and that inspires a whole collection. I am a color junkie.
It was my love for fabric that got me back into graphic design and specifically textile design. In 2009, I created my first fabric line, Full Bloom. Since then, four additional lines proceeded. Due to their popularity, they were featured in magazines including Accessories, Romantic Homes, Quilts and More, Studios, Belle Armoire, and many more. LillyBelle being my first one with Art Gallery Fabrics.
“We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry." - E. B. White
I have been sewing since I was 11, but crafting nearly all my life. From mud pies to friendship bracelets and collages made from magazine clippings, I’ve always felt a strong urge to make things. I taught myself to sew with the help of my mother, who always encouraged craftiness. Throughout high school I sewed tote bags and small projects, but eventually other hobbies took precedence. When I went away to college, I dragged along my trusty sewing machine and sewed off and on when I found time between classes. Finally, I moved into an apartment and made my first quilt. I have been hooked ever since!
My favorite part of the sewing process is fabric and color selection, I love nothing more than to be surrounded by fabric. It feels natural to be entering into the realm of fabric design with my first fabric collection, Color Me Retro.
I’m still trying to find my style. One side of me loves clean, minimalist designs with limited colors and patterns. The other side loves patchwork goodness, sweet vintage florals, and an explosion of color. One thing is for certain; I love a bit of whimsy!
In addition to sewing, my hobbies include photography, baking, and collecting vintage kitchenware and linens. I currently live in Wisconsin with my pet bunny, George.
"The patterns of our lives have the capacity to connect deeply within us. They are simple expressions of our joy."
I grew up snuggled back in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, where my love for patterns started a very long time ago. I spent countless afternoons at my mom's creative quilt shop, sewing, crafting and falling in love with fabric. A childhood spent with hands in my mother's fabric stashes quickly turned into dreams of designing my own fabrics.
My husband and I spent a few years tucked away in a little vine covered cottage on the central coast of California, but have recently returned to our roots. We are so happy to be back in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, where we are expecting our first baby this Fall!
I am mostly inspired by the great outdoors, from the largest of trees to the tiniest of leaves. Creating patterns with summery sweet hues is my happy place. I thrive on botanical gardens, sunshiney days, and nature walks- camera in one hand, sketchbook in the other. My goal has always been to create patterns that are organic and natural, joyful and lovely.
I believe patterns are one of the ways that we can express ourselves and make our spaces beautiful. I love to weave parts of my life into each one of them, making the design process and end results very personal and meaningful.
“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way - things I had no words for.” - Georgia O´Keeffe
I was born and raised in Belgrade, Serbia, where I live with my husband, who is Italian, and our three kids that are the true inspiration for my work. I have a Masters degree from the Faculty of Applied Arts, and have started on my PhD thesis in Applied Arts and Design, through which I get to explore even more within the fields of painting, graphic and textile design.
I was raised in an artistic family, so being "crafty" and creative is something that kept me company since my early childhood. My father is a painter, my mother is a ceramic pottery artist, and my sister is a production designer. Growing up in such environment, I often had opportunities to create and design and have continued throughout my life with an array of mediums like drawing, illustrating, calligraphy, graphic design, linoleum printing, photography, and more recently, sewing. I find inspiration everywhere and I love taking many pictures of things that move me, either by their shape, texture or color.
When I took the role of a mother, I found I had very limited time to dedicate to art. So, being home often and with a need to create, I discovered the world of fabric. I began to sew after repairing my mother's vintage sewing machine and soon upgraded to a Serger. The first results were encouraging, pushing me forward to try more complicated techniques and garment pieces. In a few short years, I was led to drawing and making my own patterns after much practice with making unique and fun pieces of clothes for my daughter. My pattern label, “Like Flowers and Butterflies”, was born in 2006. Lately I am lured by quilts and quilting. I love making quilt blocks and having made a few quilts on my own has given me the desire to try and experiment much more in this field. I blog about my creative adventures at Like Flowers and Butterflies.
“Whatever you do, do it with all your heart.”
I've been quilting and sewing clothing, crafts, and home accessories for over thirty years. While raising three children with my husband, I owned a small business selling new and repurposed merchandise. That venture provided me with constant creative challenges for how to reuse, display, and market everyday items. A move to a new state meant closing my business, but opened new doors by reconnecting me with art and photography.
I dusted off my paintbrushes and camera lenses and began selling my canvases in galleries and photos as greeting card designs. "One road always leads to another," and the natural progression was to turn my art into textiles. Designing four collections for a fabric company and appearing in numerous quilting magazines with both my textiles and quilt designs, brought about a career in the magazine industry as an Assistant Editor, graphic designer and photographer. Even though I am interested in knowing and working in every aspect of the quilting and sewing industry, my heart is in design—especially textile design. After two plus years as an Assistant Editor, it was time to find my artist's voice again. I set to work drawing and creating a group of prints--something I would like to sew with. Joining the Art Gallery Fabrics family of talented designers brings my life full circle, infusing my design aesthetic with the creative artistry behind Pat Bravo's credo to bring beautiful prints on quality fabric to life. I feel I've come home.
"It's important for me to stay close to family and friends as well as our shop, Sew To Speak. A fabric store I helped my mother open in 2008."
I was eight years old when my mom first taught me how to use a sewing machine and my passion bloomed. Making pretty things brings me fulfillment and joy. I'm a fashion enthusiast and love wearing what I make. It gives me a great sense of pride to walk around in a dress I've sewn myself. It’s like a fun little secret... “I made it myself.”
It was that feeling of fulfillment that drove me to create simple garment patterns for women’s home sewing. My first pattern, The Staple Dress, released last year with an amazing reception into the sewing community. The success of that first release both humbled and excited me. Invigorated by the thought of other crafters using my work, patterns or fabric, to pursue their own creative endeavors--makes my heart skip!
In addition to sewing, I enjoy dabbling in interior design and DIY home decor, photography, antiquing and vintage camper rehab. I currently live in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, where my husband and I have a mid-century ranch. We are pursuing our dreams while raising our two daughters.
"I am Maureen. A stay-at-home mother of three, a lover of all things crafty and creative, and I make things by hand, at home in small town Pennsylvania."
Maureen Cracknell lives in small town Potter Country, Pennsylvania. She is a mother, wife, blogger, quilter, and lover of all things creative and handmade.
Just a little over four years ago she started sewing and blogging at Maureen Cracknell Handmade; a simple, positive, and creative blog where she loves to share her projects, fabric stashes, sewing, and special family moments. Two years into blogging, she opened a Facebook page with intentions to share and connect with people who, like her, live with a passion to sew and quilt---most of who follow her blog, which has been supported and grown to over eighty thousand followers. These supporters continually give her encouragement and the opportunity to follow her path of creating and sharing.
She's been a proud member of several fabric manufacturer design teams throughout the years, including Art Gallery Fabric’s popular Fat Quarter Gang, and continues to work as an Independent Designer for Janome Sewing Machines. She is incredibly grateful for each of the opportunities that have led her where to where she is today!
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." -Walt Disney
Caroline currently resides with her husband and their puppy in Fort Worth, TX. In her free time, Caroline loves to travel, walk her pup and create adventures in her everyday life.
She grew up in the piney woods of East Texas where a sewing machine was the furthest thing from her mind. She loved being outdoors and most evenings you could find her riding her bike through the neighborhood. She went off to Texas A&M in search of a business degree, but what she found was a husband and a total disinterest in the corporate world. The Christmas after she turned 20 Caroline received a sewing machine as a gift. Her sewing machine sat on a shelf for the better part of two years, until one day she decided to figure out how to work it. She watched YouTube videos, read blogs, and went through a lot of scrap fabrics before she found where to put the bobbin, how to thread the machine, and how to set the tension straight!
Since then, she’s found her passion in sewing and designing women’s garments. Caroline defines her style an ever-evolving mix of classic feminine romance and modern trends. Seeing a pile of fabric transform into something beautiful to dress herself amazes her every time.
"You've always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself." -Glinda, the Good Witch.
Since childhood I've dabbled in drawing, painting and writing, but it wasn't until my early 30's that I bought my first sewing machine and really began to bloom. I taught myself to sew, learning new techniques as I went along, while embracing the amazing global online creative community that has inspired, motivated and encouraged me every step of the way. I began blogging at nanaCompany - a journal of my sewing adventures - in 2011. Photography and design then became a regular part of my everyday life and I've been endlessly inspired by my four children: Anne, Nicholas, Olivia, and Mia.
We've lived a very simple life in Los Angeles but are moving to Virginia in the summer of 2016. I've been featured in countless magazines and books, and debuted my first book, "Sweetly Stitched Handmades" in 2015. As my children are growing I find myself transitioning from a style that was primarily informed by them, to a style that is more in tune with my own personal aesthetic. I love simple designs and lots of neutrals with happy splashes of color. Designing fabric is an unexpected dream come true and I'm loving the way that it's bringing me back to that happy simple love of pen and paper... of free flowing expression printed onto fabric that can then be cut up and sewn back together to create things for people I love.
Look to my blog, nanaCompany, for tutorials, patterns, and to see what adventures I'm up to next!