Saturday, January 29, 2011

Meet designer Amanda Murphy

Today we're excited to introduce you to Amanda Murphy, an exciting and prolific designer based in John's home state of North Carolina! Besides being a prolific sewist and pattern designer, Amanda recently released her second fabric collection with Robert Kaufman fabrics (Swiss Chocolate) and is set to release a third, Veranda, at Quilt Market this Spring.

Of course, Amanda comes bearing gifts!
  • First, she has designed a quilt pattern especially for readers of Fat Quarterly! Chocolate Torte is a roll-up friendly quilt pattern featuring Amanda's current line, Swiss Chocolate, and is free to download for all readers.
  • Second, three lucky readers will win a roll-up of Swiss Chocolate to begin making their own Chocolate Torte quilt, courtesy of Robert Kaufman.
  • And finally, Amanda will have another chance to win over on her blog. Head over there, say hello, and become a follower for your chance to win.
And now let's learn a little bit more about Amanda!



Please tell us a little bit about your background, and how you came to pursue fabric design.

I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA in design. For years I produced corporate design work, for both print and multimedia. After moving to North Carolina and starting a family I began to do freelance work. Over the years my work has become more illustrative, and I’ve been lucky enough to incorporate my love of fabric and sewing into my design.



Your bio describes you as a lifelong sewist. How long have you been sewing & quilting, and how did you get started?

I can’t remember when I learned to sew, but my mom taught me the basics. As a grade schooler, I spent an inordinate amount of time fashioning Barbie “hoop skirts” out of muslin and floral wire and made houses for those lucky ladies out of appliance boxes in our basement. I made a quilted angel tree skirt when I was ten or eleven – I decorated the angels faces with actual makeup. I also made a dress for my mom fashioned completely out of pink polyester lace. (It was the early eighties, but I don’t think it was “in”, even then.) Yes, Mom wore it, although she has recently admitted that she only wore it once.



Your first collection with Robert Kaufman was "Ambrosia". What was the inspiration behind that line, and what did you learn about designing a fabric collection?

That line was inspired by mosaic tiles, Indian prints, and tropical blooms. I learned a lot about what can and can’t be printed on fabric, as opposed to print, and a lot about the logistics of fabric production in general. Robert Kaufman was great to work with.



Your current collection is called "Swiss Chocolate". What can you tell us about that line?

With Swiss Chocolate, I was really aiming to produce a collection that could work well with the existing d├ęcor in any home, as a quilt or other project. I wanted something rich, classic, and sophisticated (which you see in the scroll and blossom motifs) but I wanted something a little playful too. This playfulness is probably best reflected in the large scale motifs inspired by oriental rugs. I also wanted a line that could be used in quilts that would appeal to both men and women.

So many of us have brown wood tones all over our homes, and I tried to pick up on that. The chocolate color story also features reds and salmons for a warm look – I love those colors! The mocha story features cool blues, in conjunction with the browns and light caramel colors. I had a lot of fun designing for that color story too.

Most importantly, unlike real chocolate, Swiss Chocolate is non-caloric.



What is your favorite thing that you've seen made from your fabrics by someone else? What's your favorite thing that you've made with them?

I’ve seen lots of things other people made that I love, but the prize has to go to my mom. She made hundreds of Swiss Chocolate flying geese to recover her dining room chairs in just a few days, and she has never quilted before. I loved teaching my mom to quilt – it was a special experience. We don’t often get to teach our moms how to do something we love, do we?

My favorite thing that I’ve made? Well, I really love some of the quilts that I designed especially for Swiss Chocolate that will be featured in upcoming magazines– including a complimentary pattern for you all! It uses a jellyroll, with a little extra yardage. (Find the Chocolate Torte pattern here)



From where you do you draw your inspiration?

My two greatest sources of inspiration are nature and the decorative arts. I’m not one of those quilters who is also a gifted gardener, though. A plant has almost no chance of survival if I have anything to do with its care – I just love to visit the gardens of others. As for the decorative arts, I love furniture, paintings, clothing, pottery, porcelain, samplers, quilts – just about everything, and I wish we knew more about their creators. That ordinary people of earlier centuries managed to create such beautiful art when everyday life was so hard is a testament to the human spirit. I fantasize about spending unlimited time in places like Winterthur and Williamsburg. Philanthropists like Abby Rockefeller and Henry du Pont did so much to preserve this heritage too – they were ahead of their time.




What's next for Amanda Murphy Design?

QUILT MARKET! I’m going for the first time this spring and I’ll have my own booth with Robert Kaufman. I am SO excited about this. I cannot believe that I will be meeting all those talented people in the quilting industry. (I’ll have to get over my fear of flying to do it, but I can’t think of a better motivator.) If any of you out there will be going to market, please stop by because I’d love to meet you!


Thanks so much, Amanda! We hope you all enjoyed the interview. To enter to win a roll-up of Swiss Chocolate, simply leave a comment on this post below. We'll randomly select three winners on or around next Saturday, February 5th.

In the meantime, don't forget to download your free copy of Amanda's free quilt pattern, Chocolate Torte.

87 comments:

  1. Thanks for the inspiration! I love the swiss chocolate line!

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  2. Great profile. Hard to choose between Ambrosia and Swiss Chocolate for a favorite!

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  3. Looking forward to the swiss chocolate line. And love the quilt pattern :)

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  4. Thanks for introducing me to Amanda. I have to say I am loving what I have seen in her work and in Chocolate Torte, can't wait to get some myself. I was glad to hear that I am not the only one who is inspired by nature but can't grow anything to save my life. Thanks Amanda for giving use nature in the fabric.

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  5. what great fabrics! I love the red/chocolate colourway!
    Thank you for the free pattern!

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  6. What pretty fabrics! I love the "Chocolate" color set.

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  7. Love the colors in this collection! Thank you for the great interview!

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  8. Wonderful fabrics. Thanks for introducing me to Amanda. cynthiamrutledge at aol dot com

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  9. I love this fabric!! Of course I want a chance to win it. Thank you for the nice pattern,
    Lotta in Sweden

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  10. When I first saw the Swiss Chocolate line I fell instantly in love. I love both lines but am drawn to the Chocolate line. Thanks for the great designs! Keep up the great work!!!!

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  11. The palette is right up my alley!

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  12. These fabrics are beautiful! Love those book covers.

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  13. Her fabrics are gorgeous! I downloaded the pattern. What a nice quilt! Thank you!

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  14. Amanda is an extremely talented designer. I love her fabric designs! Thank you for tell us more about her. ~Kathleen

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  15. I really like Amanda's designs. So pretty! I think I need to make one of those journal covers!

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  16. Lively and yet harmonious! Love the red colorway.

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  17. Thanks for introducing us to Amanda! Love her designs. Thanks, too, for the chance to win!

    Sandy A

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  18. What a great interview. I can see this in a few projects. I can't wait to see what's next.

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  19. I love Amanda's Swiss Chocolate fabric. Congratulations on going to quilt market, I hope you do get to meet a lot of talented quilters there.

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  20. Beautiful fabric. Love the names.

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  21. Swiss chocolate is my favourite! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  22. I love both the colorways! Thanks for the Chocolate Torte pattern.

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  23. What a great interview!! Thanks, Amanda is amazing and her fabric is stunning!!

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  24. I'm leaning toward the mocha colorway though both are great.

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  25. I love the mocha best, it would make a wonderful quilt.

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  26. Nothing is better than chocolate especially chocolate fabric! Thanks so much for a chance and the wonderful introduction to Amanda.

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  27. I can't wait to make the Chocolate Torte quilt. Can't decide which color scheme I like the best so I may just have to make both. thanks for the chance to win.
    melodylynnhoward@gmail.com

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  28. Great to hear a little more about the inspiration behind the designs. It's beautiful fabric.

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  29. I love this fabric and would love to win a roll-up of it. I haven't used a roll-up yet so it would be fun. Take care and God bless, Cory

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  30. Just fabulous! Love the chockie-inspired fabric - what a terrific match! Great to hear her story too.

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  31. I enjoyed the interview, it's interesting learning about the people behind the fabrics!

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  32. uuuhhmmmm, yummmmmiiiiie! I love swiss chocolate!
    My favourite is the blue/mocha line. Thank you for sharing the receipe and the interview with Amanda.

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  33. Thanks for the interview and giveaway!

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  34. Love Swiss Chocolate! Thanks for the chance to win :)

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  35. What great giveaways out here today! I'm feeling pretty lucky.

    I really love that mocha colorway.

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  36. those reds are so lovely thanks for the interview

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  37. Mmmmmm, no-cal Chocolate Torte!
    What lovely colours. I am so partial to Swiss Chocolate.Thanks for being so generous in sharing the Chocolate Torte pattern.

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  38. Thanks for providing the Chocolate Torte pattern. My favorite is the chocolate swiss chocolate colors, though love both chocolate and coffee together as a dessert. Please enter me into the drawing too.

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  39. This is beautiful. Where can I find the blue version of the jelly roll? And, thanks for the chance to win!

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  40. Thanks for introducing us to new designers and for the chance to win.

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  41. Thanks for the chance - I love the fleur de lis applique on the quilts

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  42. I really like the colors in Swiss Chocolate, and with chocolate in the name it's got to be good! ;)

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  43. Oh I love chocolate and to have a chance to win Swiss Chocolate without the calories would be even better.
    Thank you
    Christine

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  44. YUM! This line is so rich and smooth and delicious! Well done! Thank you for the chance to win dessert!

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  45. Those blues are divine! Thanks for another great interview, FQ.

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  46. Love the fabric and a great interview. I really like the Chocolate!

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  47. Finding new designers, just another reason I follow your blog. Amanda's designs, fabrics and quilts, are new, modern and just plain fun. Thanks for sharing.

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  48. Thanks for the interview and the great giveaway!!!

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  49. I love the swiss chocolate colors; I'm already planning out a quilt with it. Thanks for sharing.

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  50. The fabrics are great. I really like both colorways. Thanks for the nice giveaway. I enjoyed reading the interview!

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  51. I always enjoy reading the interviews. And love having a chance to win fabric!

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  52. Great interview and congrats to Amanda to her own quilt market booth! Thanks for the give away - the fabric sure looks yummy!

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  53. Amanda is great! LOVE the fabrics...especially the chocolate colorway. Thanks for a chance to win and for the pattern!
    meri_drake@yahoo.com

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  54. I absolutely LOVE this line and I love reading about the people behind such beautiful fabric. Great interview!

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  55. brown is my favourite colour, so any line that uses it is a winner in my eyes :)

    caitlindevlin(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  56. I discovered Ms. Murphy some time ago. I love the Ambrosia line and the new Swiss Chocolate. I like reading the interviews, too.

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  57. It might be hard to cut into fabric as pretty as that.

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  58. I am getting hooked on more and more fabric lines! Thanks so much for the chance to win Swiss Chocolate, it is just beautiful. I love finding out more about the people behind the designs too :)

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  59. Wonderful fabric - love the chocolate especially! Great giveaway :)

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  60. These are great colors! Congratulations Amanda on another great line :)

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  61. What beautiful colors! Thanks for the chance to win some!

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  62. Love Amanda's site and the Swiss Chocolate line! I'm adding that to my wish list. The color combinations are awesome. Thanks for a chance to win some!

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  63. Your fabric lines are just beautiful - I love the pillows. Thanks for the free pattern - it's great!

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  64. Yummilicious I want to eat that fabric!

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  65. jbrgeternity@hotmail.com: A sewing caddy made in Amanda's beautiful swiss chocolate fabric might bring cheer to those affected by the flood in QLD, Australia? That is what I'd do with such beautiful fabric.

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  66. Any time the word "chocolate" is included in a fabric line, you've got my attention! I'd love to see the whole line in full, but from the little seen here, the designs are beautiful and the color combinations are warm and elegant.

    Leslie S. in MN
    esclante at comcast dot net

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  67. That was a great interview and the pattern is fabulous! I love this whole line of beautiful fabrics. Thanks for sharing it with us!!

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  68. I love the color combos in swiss chocolate!!

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  69. I love the pinks and browns in this! I'm collecting for a log cabin quilt...they would be perfect!

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  70. Chocolate, fabrics & quilt inspirations ... who can resist ? Love the Torte pattern and the Swiss Chocolate ... I think the Mocha is my fav. Thanks so much for the interview - and for the giveaway !!

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  71. The colors are great, I would have a hard time choosing between the two colorways! Both are really pretty. Thanks for the chance to win some of it.

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  72. What talent Amanda has. Lovely fabrics and patterns. Thanks for a chance to win.

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  73. Love the colors of this line. The pattern is great too. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

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  74. I love Swiss Chocolate. It reminds me of a yummy chocolate cake. You just want to dive in and get started. Thanks for having this giveaway.

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  75. I love the Swiss Chocolate lines! And great project photos for inspiration! Thank you for the giveaway!

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  76. I love your Swiss Chocolate fabrics, especially in pink. Thanks for the giveaway and all the inspiration concerning your creative activity.

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  77. Just started following Amanda's blog, love her fabrics and anxious to get started making the Swiss Chocolate pattern

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  78. I love the Swiss Chocolate and thanks so much for the pattern.

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  79. Anytime the word chocolate is involved, I'm in! Thanks for sharing, Amanda! Love the new collection!

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  80. That was a lovely interview. The fabric are so rich and beautiful, especially the fleur de lys. Pretty gorgeous cushions too. Thanks for the quilt pattern and the chance to win some 'chocolate'!

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  81. Great giveaway! She is an amazing creator :) I would love to be able to make my own Chocolate Torte!

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  82. I hope I am not too late to enter. This fabric looks so delicious!

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  83. Thank you so much for the non-caloric Yummy chocolates!

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  84. Thanks for the chance to win this beautiful fabric!

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  85. love the collection. thanks for the giveaway!

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