Interview with fabric designer Katie Schrader, “the girl who makes stuff”

Katie Schrader, Wild Notions shop owner

After a successful first interview with Aeropagita Prints designer Mishel Valenton, I was interested in doing some more interviews with other artists and designers. This week’s feature is on Katie Schrader, a 24 year old fabric designer from Pittsburgh who sells her projects on Etsy in her Wild Notions shop and her fabrics on Spoonflower.

When did you first get interested in art and crafting? I’ve been crafting since I was a kid.  I started out sewing simple stuffed animals from scrap fabric and moved into making my own little purses.  In high school I became “the girl who makes stuff” and would commonly be found wearing my own homemade beaded jewelry and altered clothing.

In high school I became “the girl who makes stuff” and would commonly be found wearing my own homemade beaded jewelry and altered clothing.

What drew you to fabric design specifically? I just love the tactility of fabric.  The texture of the fabric just adds a whole other element to a design and there is nothing better than being able to wrap yourself in something beautiful.  It’s been my favorite medium for a while and I had experimented with dying and stenciling fabric to make my own patterns before I found Spoonflower.

You have designed a range of fabrics and had them printed on Spoonflower. Have you had a lot of success in selling your designs this way? I still get excited every time I see that someone has purchased fabric with one of my designs.  I’m not quitting my day job, but creating the designs and sometimes seeing what they are used to create really makes my day.  Getting a free batch of fabric every once in a while is nice too.

I’m not quitting my day job, but creating the designs and sometimes seeing what they are used to create really makes my day.

What is your favorite thing to sew? I don’t know that I have a favorite thing to sew.  I like a lot of variety in my sewing projects.  I’ll get bored with something if I am making the same thing over and over again.  If I had to pick one thing though, I would have to say little fabric card wallets.  They are quick to make and I can play around with mixing and matching fabric and colors.

Little fabric card wallets [are my favorite thing to make].  They are quick to make and I can play around with mixing and matching fabric and colors

What blogs or websites (they can be related to crafting or not) do you follow? I’m a total NPR junkie.  I’m on NPR.org everyday it seems.  The design and crafty blogs I follow are Design Sponge, Craftzine, How About Orange and Grosgrain.  I like to look at all the crazy and wonderful things people are making on Craftster as well.

Has there ever been a craft that you have created to sell that you ended up keeping because you liked it so much? If so, what was it? No, there have been things that I have thought about keeping but in the end if something turns out well I want to share it with others.  If I love it so much I want to keep it then I’ll usually make another one specifically for myself to keep.

What is your ideal work environment? Plenty of sunlight, a queued up playlist of podcasts and good music, and lots of beautiful fabric in view

What inspires you? The writings of Jack London and John Muir have been big inspirations.  Objects that I find will also inspire me. Recently I found a small plastic dinosaur that was just like one I had as a child at our family’s summer cabin and that inspired me to create a “Long Weekends at the Cabin” print that I am currently working on.  I’ve also been inspired by specific colors and vintage patterns.

The writings of Jack London and John Muir have been big inspirations…  I’ve also been inspired by specific colors and vintage patterns.

Do you have other Etsy sellers or people in the art and design business that you respect and admire? Care to name any names? There are so many talented people on Etsy.  Some of the shops I check in on from time to time to see what they are up to include: Beck and Lundy (who is also one of my fabric Spoonflower designers), Sadly Harmless, A stitch in dye, and Leah Duncan.

In your mind, what is a successful day? A successful day is when I check off everything on my To Do list.   There is something extremely satisfying about seeing everything that you accomplished.

If you could see your fabric designs anywhere, where would you want to see them being used? My grandma keeps asking when my fabric designs will be available in JoAnns but I would be ecstatic if I saw my fabric designs being used in projects and featured on sites like Craftzine or Design Sponge.  I would love to see them being used in quilts or items that will be passed down and treasured for generations.  Basically I would love it if my fabric designs stood the test of time and became vintage!

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