Design Challenge Two: Janel Maske

Part-time Help / 10" x 10"

Part-time Help / 10″ x 10″

Part-time Help / detail

Part-time Help / detail

maske dc 2 part-time help solids

Part-time Help / solids

J Maske head shotFor this challenge, I thought I’d better put some thought into the market. Who might use fabric with tools? It is a pretty broad topic, I suppose, but it seemed like any fabric which would end up with a very specific set of tools, for just one job, would need to be of a common enough interest (like gardening) to appeal to many people. Or it would need to be uncommon or weird (like astrolabes!), but fall within a popular genre, like steampunk. Or I figured I’d just have to abstract it enough to make it look like something else (I tried to make a floral out of drafting tools and totally failed). After failing, I reassessed. If I were to make a fabric featuring tools, who would enjoy it? 1. Quilters who have other hobbies/interests and want to make a quilt featuring them. 2. Loved ones of quilters who get quilts made up of their hobbies. 3. Children!  So I went with children. I don’t doubt I missed some other available markets there, but whatever. I wanted to use small animals, and thought raccoons would be perfect with their little hands. I asked my husband what they should be doing. “Breaking into a safe,” he said. “Naa, try again,” I said. “How about doing the dishes, then?” he said. Bingo!  I know it’s kind of random, but it made me pretty happy to think about so I thought maybe it’d make other people pretty happy to use it.

Anyway, to create it, I drew everything out in pencil and pieced it together in photoshop. I then created a couple of new brushes to make the soap bubbles. I also wanted to add some more texture to the background (not too much empty space for the quilters! Also I really like texture), so I created a few simple repeats out of kitchen gloves, bottle brushes, and soap bottles and droplets. I was going to use them all, but it was just too busy, so I only used the bottle brushes. They’re in the background, kind of like a subtle wallpaper.

I went with a neutral, hopefully modern color scheme. I should point out the tools in the design: gloves, dishcloths, towels, soap, and bottle brushes. I hope you like it!

p.s. Here it is in full repeat:

maske dc 2 part-time help zoom out

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11 comments on “Design Challenge Two: Janel Maske

  1. I really like your pattern, it’s very cute. Your raccoon is very helpful. — Ramona D. (daughter of Nicky)

  2. Ellen Kuber on said:

    I liked this pattern because its impact is not just a visual impression, but something to carefully investigate. There’s a story here – and it’s delightful! The colors are friendly to the eyes; the density gives the observer room to breathe and enjoy the detail. This could be a page from a child’s storybook. What do these sweet little critters do when they’re done in the kitchen?

  3. JoAnn Maske on said:

    Your creative and delightful design is carefully thought out and put together. I like the use of space, a lot of interest in the color palette, and find the colors and background so subtle that one is drawn into the “life” of the tools. Your great love for little critters is obvious!

  4. I really love this pattern. It’s so cute & playful and great choice of colours! I’d definitely buy this design on fabric!

  5. Love that little raccoon! Is he for hire? Adorable idea. I like that you have a character and sort of a narrative in the piece. I’m curious to see what the design would look like if you brought the motifs a bit closer together.
    Really sweet!

  6. Jayne Kettner on said:

    Janel,
    Your fabric really intrigues me, and causes me to stop explore it. It is so imaginative.

    You have really thought ‘outside the box’ here and marketed to a genre that is often considered. I can see mothers, (and dads who sew,) and grandmothers or friends being thrilled to find this fabric, because it is so unique. Your wise use of space causes my eye to flow from one part of the fabric to another. It is not boring.

    Your thoughts about children really key in to another market that is often not considered. Yes, the raccoons are doing their work, yet you have created ‘their story’ so that it seems they are just enjoying playing around together, much the way children may handle doing the dishes with their own family.

    I can see teachers, club leaders or others who work with children being pleased to purchase this fabric. I love the colors!

    I find these words coming to my mind:
    • Marketable
    • Special
    • Passionate
    • Engaging
    • Friendly
    • Charming

    • Janel Maske on said:

      I see none of my raccoons are doing any work at all! Oh, boy. I was thinking about what my own pets would do in a kitchen, and it would be a lot of playing and exploring and messes. You’re right, just like kids! Thank you for your thorough review-it gives me some things to think about. :)

  7. What an adorable design Janel!! I love the story your design tells! The little racoons are super cute and the color palette is lovely!

  8. Really cute yet has a great modern feel to it. I can see my daughter using it almost like a whole cloth type quilt and adding some random solid color fabric blocks.

  9. Oh too cute–I just looked closer and finally seen the bottle brush in the background–I first thought you meant it was like sponge painted with a bottle brush–but no you made a bottle brush design–very clever thought.

  10. Janel Maske on said:

    Wow, thank you for all the nice (and helpful!) comments! :) I was a little worried about how a children’s print would go over. I’m so glad you guys like it!

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