The Baseball Back Then Collection
When I create a new collection, it is a process. It's one thing to create one piece of art and poof put it up for sale. It's another to try and create a mood, a setting or in better terms to imagine a space and build towards it. Having designed many, if not hundreds, of kids room since starting my studio, I can't help but envision the reveal. What will the client not just see but feel?
So, I've been working on designing more ingredients to add to a space. While there may seem to be some matchy, matchy going on when you first glance, realize the most people will pick a couple items from a collection and then build from there. Maybe they like a particular fabric for pillows that may go with one piece of art.
So the goal that I've set for myself is to give customers some options. Give them choices that they can incorporate into their existing space or create a whole new one. A piece from Aaron, a homemade craft, a piece from Home Goods, an antique thingy and that one gift from the mother-in-law (you have to display it...ha!). Put them together to create the vibe or feel that's desired for the space.
So, in this latest collection, I first decided on a general idea. I wanted something in my vintage vibe but refreshed with a little modernism or lean towards trend. The elements of the current trend-o-sphere I plucked for this collection are use of a limited color palette, boho vibe watercolor washes, stains, paints, heavier textures, handwritten type lettering, rustic finishes and to no surprise beads and tassels. They are concepts that could work within a modern farmhouse, that mid century minimal pad or a rustic converted warehouse condo.
While I'm excited for all the pieces, there is a concept I was stoked to bring to life. I wanted a piece of wall decor shaped like a baseball home plate. Well, that's not original you say. And of course you are right, it is not. But I wanted a piece that eluded to baseball without being so literal, emblazoned with red baseball stitches and painted white. I'd be one of a million with that old concept. I wanted something a little more wall decor less baseball. So has it, last year I bought the studio the equipment to do some fabric printing. Not screen printing, but actual infusion of ink into fabric. It's called sublimation. I can print out art and imagery and using heat I can transfer it by chemically fusing it with the fabric's fibers. Sounds cool? It is! The image doesn't sit on the fabric it literally becomes the fabric. It won't fade, it won't peel, it won't wash out. Even if you tore the fabric apart you would end up with fibers and thread with the image intact.
By fusing the inspirational phrase - It's always good to be home to the "inspired by trend" heavy texture, open weave linen look fabric, I have the perfect print to staple over my stretcher bar home plate shape. It took a little trial and error to figure out how to wrap and staple the fabric around that shape. To update it, I added some ever popular washed wooden beads, tassel and a burlap twine hanger. I hope you like it. While some little league outfielder may look at it and shrug, a mom, dad or interior designer who wants an updated look on the tried and true baseball room hopefully will enjoy it.
The studio introduced pennants a few years back to complement the wall art I create and they have been welcomed with open arms by our customers. So for this collection I gave a wink to the golden oldie days with a swoosh, a ribbon a non-text thingy ma-bob that acts as a tail off the end of a word. Such a classic Coke thing. Added to that is a handwritten style font that we use to personalize them.
Fabric is a huge part of room design. It often sets the tone for everything else. One builds a nursery or bedroom around the bedding, it's rarely the other way. So, to take the lead on the collection, I created 29 prints and variations for this collection. It explores the baseball theme with classic shapes and patterns but updates them with a limited color palette, modern use of "white space" and yet still has a vintage appeal. While I'm still on the hunt for someone to produce my bedding and home dec ideas directly for my site customers, I maintain a Spoonflower.com shop to vend my patterns and sell some of their finished goods with my designs. I'm a stickler for quality and the accuracy of the reproduction of my imagery. Spoonflower does a great job with the printing and offers a wide variety of fabrics. They offer finished goods like pillows, tablecloths, duvets and such with my designs on them. It's a win, win for now until I have my own produced. I can see so many combinations of the pieces that would make wonderful crib or boys room bedding.
Pushing myself out of the usual size ratio I work within on my paintings, I decided to go with a tall and skinny version of a baseball player. His popped collar, wooden bat and probably not very comfortable heavyweight fabric uniform are definitely vintage, but I made it more modern by keeping it painterly, in a limited color range and as minimalist as portraiture can be. I guess it's still portraiture sans face or is it torsotraiture ? Ha!
What would my baseball collections be without a new scoreboard? I realized the other day that it's been almost 18 years since Pottery Barn Kids launched a line with my very first scoreboard. As far as I was told, it was the first painted depiction of a scoreboard anyone had offered in the retail catalog industry. Now, years later with Pinterest, Etsy, DIY'ers and knock off bloggers, they're a little more common <eye roll>. I spot the occasional too close for common sense copycat who forgets to change the scores. What are the odds that our games had the very same scores...<double eye roll>. Ha! Well, flattery being what it's not, all's good. I'll just keep painting more until I don't. In this version, I wanted the charms of what a scoreboard might look like back in the early mid 1900's. I envisioned it painted on some old fence in a dirt field where rag tag leagues played on the big nights and broom handle and homemade ball wielding children filled in the gaps.
As I write this and think about baseball nostalgia, I would love a trip to yesteryear with a little box of Cracker Jack to indulge in. It used to be sold in little cardboard boxes that you immediately tore open to find a prize. Prize first, eat second. That sweet popped corn and caramel smell fills my mind. I wonder if I should ever include tasty treats or confections in a collection? Heck, a Cracker Jack scented candle would suffice, I'm hungry...ha!
In closing, I'd love to think that the market will continue to steer me. That I'll continue exploring new things, trying new techniques all for the sake of expressing my creativity. Please know that I couldn't do it without the fans of my work. Without you it would be a failed business venture obviously, but it's the comments, the sharing, the photos you provide that keep me inspired. Feel free to offer suggestions, critiques, comments and ideas. Please continue to share, post, Pin and tag with wild abandon, it truly does help my and other small businesses. Thanks for reading. - Aaron
Welcome to my Embellishments Journal, it's a new feature. I will be posting about some of our projects, sharing pictures and interesting things. Chime in, ask questions and keep your arms and hands inside the ride until it comes to a complete stop. -Aaron
SHOP MY FABRICS ON SPOONFLOWER.COM