Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trimmings Stories- Alisa Coburn

The response to our Trimmings Competition has been so wonderful. In the next short while we are going to be posting a little more about a few of our entrants, the ideas and stories behind what they created with our fabric this year and even a few sewing patterns if we are lucky :-)

Today we would like to share this post written by the dreamy freelance illustrator/designer Alisa Coburn (the winner of People's Choice Award in this year's Umbrella Prints Trimming's Competition) posted over on her devine blog INK CARAVAN. It means a lot to hear more about what is behind such beautiful work.


by Alisa Coburn

Every illustration project has it’s own journey, I thought I might share a bit about this one…
I’d been wanting to do something with mixed media for a while – something with collage and natural fibres. I’d imagined a handmade book, lovely to hold with a gentle story nestled within its pages. When the Trimmings Comp arrived it was an irresistible opportunity. I’m a huge fan of Carly and Amy’s work. Their fabric is beautifully designed and they have an uncanny ability to choose perfect palettes.
The gorgeous images above gave me an inspiration-fueled start. So by the time my pack arrived all I could see within the clear envelope was a beautiful, somewhat deconstructed kite. And when I saw Rebecca‘s lovely piecing I knew exactly the form it would take. Cutting and assembling all those little pieces was incredibly relaxing (Clever gal that Rebecca! )

When it came to the book design, I decided on a concertina fold because each double page could be read as a mini story and the whole book could still be opened out to reveal an overall connection. I also wanted to play with both sides of the paper, changing an assumption formed on one side by a quick flip to the other.
When it came to the story, the kite was my ending but what I needed was the rest. It turned out the story solution was right under my nose but all my over-thinking made it invisible to me. After an insane week of ‘going no where fast’ I stopped, remembered the importance of simplicity and finally listened to my gut. I focused on the simplest idea and suddenly the little details could breathe.
I learnt a lot on this one – I dabbled in the craft of bookbinding, learnt heaps about glue,  percentages of colour and the power in a shot of neon. I got stuck trying to score and fold watercolor paper that was too thick for a crisp fold and was bailed out by the good advice of a friend. But whatever challenges it brought up I loved every minute of it and would do it again in an instant!

Thank you all for the amazing feedback, I’m more thrilled than you could imagine! Thank you Carly and Amy for such a fun opportunity, truly it’s impossible not to make something lovely with your fabrics. Best of luck to everyone who entered! Please vote for your favourite here.

Images | Kites, Hey Andre! |Happy Kids Kites, CubaGallery |  Stitching by a sunny window, Rebecca Sower | All other images, Alisa CoburnTo view larger or for licencing click on image titles. Images are subject to copyright.

Thank you for allowing us to share your thoughts and experiences Alisa!


  1. Alisa did an amazing job on this piece, so gorgeous, such attention to detail and I love the story behind it too! Love it :)

  2. WOW! That is truly amazing and inspiring.

  3. I know very cool to hear about Alisa's process- and all of the photographs are stunning!

  4. I love every bit of this so very much! What a powerful statement to have the best of yourselves inspiring the best of someone else!!! Heart swell.