We are so excited to introduce this week’s sponsor, Eva Blake’s Makery! Eva Blake’s Makery is the nom de plume of the multitalented, Shannon Gillman Orr. Shannon is an artist, textile designer, author, and artistic coach. Her mission statement is to create products that fill the world with joy and happiness. She believes that all challenges can be overcome with the right mindset and plan. AND, she is the author of Plan to Quilt, the ideal and easy quilt planner for beginning quilters and long-time professionals. Welcome, Shannon! We are thrilled to have Eva Blake’s Makery as a sponsor for the Declutter to Destash Challenge.
Meet Shannon Gillman Orr
FGF: Shannon, can you please tell us how you started Eva Blake’s Makery and the story behind the name?
EBM: Eva Blake’s Makery is practically 10 years old now! My educational background is in architecture and costuming. I’ve done everything from space planning to fancy cake baking before I found my niche as a textile designer. I had a name: “Eva Blake’s Makery”, which is a combination of family names and what I had chosen to name a girl if I’d had one, but I’m a mother of boys! The initial concept of having a sewing and craft company was there but it’s grown over the years and like all good things, has found its own direction.
I was looking for a way to connect with other people through making. I didn’t have the money to open a shop and I didn’t own a space, so I began with craft parties using the leftover supplies from friends projects. Instagram was just getting started and I was featured on the local news station within the first year. Which gave me enough money to start selling at craft fairs.
The nature of the craft parties lent itself more to a “glue and go” method. However, I still wanted people to be sewing. A friend had taught me to quilt and suggested I try my hand at fabric design. After years of practice and building up my courage, I became a designer with Moda Fabrics. I designed three collections during that time and found my love of sewing and artwork came together so easily.
Now I create artwork, fabric collections, and housewares but now under my own Eva Blake’s Makery label.
FGF: How does sustainability fit into your business mission/your products?
EBM: By creating my own products I’m able to have much more control over the outcome. The textile industry is notoriously wasteful. The amount of water used to produce printed fabrics is one thing, but the fabric that sits on shelves or is surplus is astounding. It is important to me that there is less waste in the process. That’s why all of my products are digitally printed on demand, which drastically reduces waste and keeps inventory at a minimum. In addition, Plan to Quilt helps with reducing waste, too. Quilters use what they have when they see what they have to work with.
Plan to Quilt
FGF: How did you come up with the idea for Plan to Quilt?
EBM: Out of self-preservation, I designed a quilt project organizer called Plan to Quilt. Quilters, myself included, tend to start more projects than we finish. I had notes, scraps, threads, sticky-note reminders, cutting dimensions, thread tensions, and a mess in my studio. It was hard to keep track of it all and I’m a very organized person. I started out with a really rough homemade copy and bootstrapped the whole effort. I’m not the only person with the works-in-progress quilt piles and chaos. Plan to Quilt helps solve this dilemma. Plan out what you’ve already started and patterns you’d like to make in the future. Remarkably this self-published book has only grown to over 3,800 and counting copies sold worldwide!
FGF: Do you see organization and creativity as connected? If so, can you explain how?
EBM: I know some people say they need chaos and mess to create, but I believe the opposite is true. If you watch even a “messy artist” at work, they have a routine and a method to the madness. If I’m feeling stuck, stumped, or blocked creatively it’s usually because my studio is a mess. I take 10 minutes every Monday to tidy it up and the process clears my head as much as it does my work surface. Minds crave order in whatever method works for you. I like my space clean, white, and bright. Good lighting and a system for where things go keep my mind from distractions and prepare me to do the work at hand.
Color Theory Course
FGF: What are your dreams for Eva Blake’s Makery in the year ahead?
EBM: This next year I hope to expand the reach of Plan to Quilt. I’m working to get stockists in Canada, Australia, and Europe right now to make this even easier. There are also plans in place for new fabric and product collections. Lastly, there are courses in progress too! Already courses on color theory, painting habits, and book self-publishing are available. Next year, I will launch a creative business course as well.
Full Bloom Course
Thank you so much for sharing more about your business with us!
Eva Blake’s Makery is sponsoring our Declutter to Destash giveaway this week! Enter for a chance to win a copy of Plan to Quilt for your own project organization!
Shannon is offering all Declutter to Destash participants 1o% off to purchase a Plan to Quilt!