Photographed by: Rachel Maucieri | Interview of: Eva Calonder of Printed Wild
How did you get started?
The idea of designing patterns emerged soon after I moved to Washington DC in 2011. I had been working as a graphic designer and illustrator for several years and was ready for the next move. When I discovered that pattern design could be a job I knew I had found my calling!
The first step was to find a way of transferring my patterns onto fabric. So I designed and cut stencils and used a brush to print. It was very time consuming but also very satisfying to see the results. I eventually discovered screen printing and enrolled in a continuing education program at the Corcoran School of Art. I learned new techniques such as linoleum block carving and screenprinting. I also took sewing classes at a local studio in Adams Morgan, Bits of Threads, and then just dove right into it!
What influences you?/ Where do you get your inspiration?
I am definitely inspired by nature. I usually draw my patterns from observation, which takes me outdoors to forests or botanical gardens- not a bad place to work!
I love David Hockney's nature paintings and the book "Conversation with David Hockney", where he describes his way of patiently observing the intricate patterns of nature. Matisse is also one of my favorite artists, I realized lately it might be because of his frequent use of patterns.
How do you balance your personal time + work?/ How do you create separation?
I find it hard to separate the two. I love my job and work from home, so I could basically never stop...
But for sanity sake, I needed to create a better balance. Instead of doing everything myself, I decided to outsource the screenprinting with a US company. It allows me to do larger productions and gives me more time to design new patterns. So, it is not so much personal time... I guess growing means compromising. But of course, as a French person, I manage to make time for holidays and visiting my family in France.
What keeps you motivated?/ Why do you love doing this?
I feel very fortunate that I do what I love. Building a company I am proud of is intense, but so motivating! I am working hard on the environmentally and socially responsible aspects of the business - how to source the material and find the right people to work with. It has actually made me change my personal way of living, to consume more responsibly. This parallel effort is very challenging! Beginning 2016 I decided to use only certified organic fabric, chrome free leather and print with eco-friendly inks. In my daily life, it means more recycling, eating local and seasonal and stopping the fast consumerism madness.
I also find motivation and support in DC's growing small business community. The city has changed a lot in the 5 years I have lived here. The District is a vibrant scene for small business owners and crafters. I was lucky to meet the very talented team from the beautiful store Salt and Sundry and they have supported me as I've grown. The @ACreativeDC energy has made the local creative scene really come alive and, more recently, the city council launched a policy to support "Made in DC" businesses. It is such a great time to start your business in Washington DC!
Where do you see yourself in 2-5 years?/ What's next for your brand?
Hopefully still surrounded by patterns! With an entire Printed Wild team, in a studio space with a retail store, and 100% conscious and environmentally friendly!
*You can find Eva around DC in the next coming weeks:
- August 5: The Heurich House Museum will open its first floor during First Friday Dupont on Friday from 6-8 pm. Guests are welcome to the explore the first floor of the house. Shop pop-ups by DC makers Printed Wild, Great Hill Studio and Carol Herwig pottery in the Conservatory.
- August 6: Cocktails+crafts FRENCH 75S & SHIBORI DYEING workshop with DC makers Kicheko Goods and Printed Wild.
- August 18: Printed Wild new collection launching party at DC local store Salt and Sundry.