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I’ve been asked a few times recently where I get inspiration for my designs and collections. I usually say “everywhere” or “nature”, both of which are true, but this time I found inspiration in a bottle of beer. I thought I’d share a specific example and tell you the story behind the development of our upcoming collection for fall, Westwood. As you will see, the design process is long and winding, and it rarely ends up where I think it will, but I guess that’s all part of the fun.

 

Inspiration struck last summer when Dave and I were visiting family in Minneapolis. We were picking up some white wine for dinner, when what should my eyes behold but the most beautiful bottle of beer I had ever seen. Yes, a bottle of beer. It was from Odell Brewing Company, and it was adorned with a gorgeous wood-cut style owl. Plus, it came in a cute little mini-pack of four. Cute little packages get me every time.

 

 

Of course I had to buy it. Even though Dave hates Pilsner. Most of the beer was consumed during our trip, but I made it home with one bottle intact. When we got home and were unpacking, Anabelle managed to get ahold of the bottle and lovingly shred off the label, but luckily I had saved the little carrier. It went into my inspiration file, but the image stayed in my head and took root. I don’t know who the artist is (I did look on the website for some credit, but didn’t see any), but I love the intricate but imperfect, rustic quality of the design. Love it. And I love the subtle palette, and, well, it’s a really cool owl.

 

When I started pulling together my inspiration for fall, I remembered this little guy, and pulled him out of the file. Up on the inspiration board he went, and was soon surrounded by examples of wood-cut and block printing, and sketches of unicorns and foxes and folkloric animals. I was trying to capture the hand-carved feel of the artwork, and the folkloric, mythic feel of the character. I wasn’t successful. But, as often happens, failing at that left me with a bunch of interesting stuff, which then became step two of the process. I’ll tell you more about that next week!

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