If you love all things cute, hilarious, and sewing related, Monica is your girl. Monica brings a fun perspective to the quilting world with great fabrics, patterns, and personality. Her newest collection, Sew Yummy is debuting at our store July 14th!
We are thrilled to have both Monica and Cloud9 Fabric's Creative Director, Michelle Engel Bencsko come to our store this coming Monday, July 14th from 12pm-2pm for a Meet & Greet!
Monica answered a few questions about her designs, life in the Northwest, and more this fun Q+A.
Take a look:
1. How did you start designing fabrics? What do you find challenging about it?
I was doing graphic design work/illustrations, and quilting, and writing my own patterns… it was my perfect storm in it all just clicked. The stars must have been aligned because at that very moment of epiphany I was asked if I was interested in designing fabric for a little fabric company in Japan. Years and years of working and creating for others, it was now my turn to create for me (and I got to create 3 collections with that company). And now fast forward to today with my new collection with Cloud 9 Fabrics, I could not be happier to be working with them. I feel like I reached the top and it’s like my own little Hair Club for Men - because I’m a customer, too. I love Cloud 9 Fabrics and stockpile (cough, hoard) all their fabrics. The only thing challenging about designing fabric is having to the edit the gazillion pieces I created down to 12 SKU's, and what color-ways to pick from those pieces to make the collection. Oh my that’s hard.
2. How long have you been designing fabric?
Since 2009 and I had my first collection and it debuted in 2010. Though in my head I’ve been designing fabric since the mid-90’s when I was doing web design and web graphics - I’d think, “wow, this would be so cute as fabric”. I never even thought about “designing fabric” until a decade or so ago when I became a full-fledged quilter (that would be when my friend Leslie insisted I learn how to use a rotary cutter) and started buying quality quilting fabrics at fabric stores and quilt shops, namely Fabric Depot! I remember the first time I went to Fabric Depot (with my friend Leslie, no less). It was very cliché, but I truly was a kid in the candy store. I’ll never forget that first time - and I feel a little bit of that happy rush when I walk into Fabric Depot to this day, and I know I always will.
3. What makes you laugh? Because we know you make us all laugh!
Awww, I’m blushing! I love to laugh and come from a family of laughers. Everything makes me laugh, and I see funny things in the most mundane of things. I’ve been pretty much 12 years old all my life. Some 20+ years ago I bought a book called 14,000 Things To Be Happy About. Page after page of weird little things that made the author happy, like walking into a grocery store on scorching day and then be hit with the blast of air conditioning. That book opened my eyes to all the happy and funny little things that were right before me. That and the fact that I’m perpetually 12.
4. How long have you lived in the Pacific Northwest? What is your favorite thing about living in Astoria?
We moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1999 when my husband’s job transferred us to Astoria from Honolulu. I’ve been in love with the Pacific Northwest from the day we moved to Astoria. I’m a sunny California native and on day-1 of moving to Astoria I embraced the grey, cool and wet days of Astoria. From California to Hawaii then to Oregon, one would think I had moved to the dreary land of gray - but I never saw more color in my life until the day we moved to Astoria. Suddenly I saw color popping everywhere. Color against a gray backdrop. I was in a secret color Utopia. I know this is why I like to use gray fabrics with colorful fabrics - my palette is my eyes through Astoria, Oregon. So many things I love about Astoria, besides it being so cute, and besides that it’s where the Goonies was filmed, and besides that it’s so scenic, and besides that it’s almost completely surrounded by cool waters… mostly I love Astoria because of the people and the community. Everyone is so friendly, neighborly and kind. Astoria is a place where strangers say hi to each other, where kids hold doors open for adults, and random acts of kindness are common occurrences. Now if I could just get all of my family to move up from California it’d be my Nirvana.
5. What inspires you? How does this come through in your designs?
It’s the little things, like the 14,000 little things. I see happy in objects and focus on them. Astoria is muse for color - bright and happy snuggled with some gray. And sometimes I try to be funny like naming my happy bobbin cards “Bob Flossy”. I may not crack others up, but I crack myself up.
Thank you so much for coming on our blog today, Monica! We cannot wait for your visit to our store on Monday!
Visit Monica's website: The Happy Zombie
And Follow her on Instagram - You won't regret it!