June 16, 2008

I met Holly Mabutas a year and a half ago at a quilt show in Hollister, California. When I saw Holly’s Eat Cake Graphics booth, I was instantly captivated by her darling appliqué style.

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We became friends right away. I’ve been bugging her to give me an interview because I’m fascinated with her story of rubber stamps and appliqué designs. Here’s Holly and Puppy Tucker, the star of her blog, Sprinkles of Thought.

holly-and-tucker-shot.jpgKay: Holly, how did you get your start in cartooning?

Holly: You know, I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t doodle. I do remember seeing my mom do a little sketch of our dog when I was young. I was fascinated watching the pencil lines come to life and wanted to be able to do the same.

I started out by trying to duplicate the drawings in my coloring books. With a lot of practice I got better, started drawing my own ideas and from there I guess started developing my own style. I don’t really have a formal art background – I took a few art courses in junior college – I’ve just always loved to draw. And I guess when you do something you love and practice over the course of a lifetime you’re bound to get better at it. :)

Kay: Where do you think the inspiration comes from for your adorable style?

Holly: I’ve always loved the cute and whimsical world of art. I was a HUGE fan of the comic strips Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County. I also love children’s book illustrators – and have quite a few books (is that bad to admit for someone over 40 whose children all have fur and tails). I also think that I’m drawn to whimsical stuff because with everything going on in the world I want to focus on something happy, so that’s what I draw.

Kay: Tell me how you started up your rubber-stamp company.

Holly: I actually worked in a rubber stamp store in Los Gatos, California, for quite a few years. I was in there all the time and they asked if I’d like a part time job – I jumped at the chance, of course I never really did see a paycheck. Then I was approached by an acquaintance of my mom’s. She wanted to know if I might like to go into business, again I did a happy dance and said yes.

Eat Cake Graphics came about when my business partner and I decided to go our separate ways. I actually “opened” (although there were no balloons or fireworks) in January 2000.

So here I am, eight years later with over 600 images and still trying to figure out the ins and outs of online shopping carts – good grief does it ever get easier!

Kay: Tell me a little bit about how you segued into quilt patterns.

Holly: I never really thought I’d be designing quilt patterns! I walked into a quilt shop in the mid/late 90’s and saw a quilt on the wall using a technique called appliqué. I thought it looked fun so I signed up for a class. It was fun but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon another appliqué technique, using a gluestick, that I really became hooked (probably more like obsessed). In one of the ongoing monthly classes I was asked if I could come up with some simple blocks to go along with a project we were stitching. I said sure.

I think it was then the light bulb went off and I thought, hey, I really like seeing what my little sketches could become in fabric. I took some of my stamp images and on my computer played around with the layout, took the printout to a local copy shop, enlarged it, came home and started playing with fabric. It actually worked and when I showed it to people they asked about a pattern…and well, here I am.

Kay: Thank you, Holly, for giving us the back story. Here are some of my favorite of Holly’s patterns.

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Windy Wintery Day

dont-drink-and-fly.jpgDon’t Drink and Fly

home-in-the-middle.jpgHome in the Middle

Holly gave me her pattern insert with instructions for her turned-edge gluestick appliqué method, and in my next post I’m going to give it a whirl. I’m always interested in learning new ways to appliqué! This one combines glue-stick prepared-edge with hand stitching. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

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