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Hello Designers!  Rashida Coleman-Hale

Hello Designers! Rashida Coleman-Hale

I love great design, especially surface design. I have an enduring curiosity and love for well executed colour and pattern. Fabric is a muse for me or the creative "spark" in my sewing. The designers whose fabric you see at Fabric Spark are all super talented, inventive, and have the ability to get our imaginations firing because of their work.

Hello Designers! is a chance to get to know some of them a little better. I started by reaching out to one of my all time favourite fabric designers, Rashida Coleman-Hale. She very generously agreed to answer a few questions to give us a little more insight into how she works and who she is.


You can tell from her responses that she is charming, dedicated to her art, has a great sense of humour, and is generous (look how much time she spent on this!). Please read through to the end where I've posted some of my favourites of hers, and the reasons you will always find lots of her fabric at Fabric Spark.

  1. What was your first creative job

My first creative job was my first gig as a freelance graphic designer.  I worked for an Airbrush Tattoo company, called Airtoo (yes, for real) back in 2004.  They needed someone to translate their designs to vector format and asked me if I knew Adobe Illustrator.  (I didn't. Hahaha!)  Of course I said yes, because I really wanted the job!  They hired me on the spot and gave me a bunch of designs to work on and return them the next day.  I stayed up all night searching the internet trying to figure out how to use this program and taught myself how to use it. I finished the work and they loved it!  That's pretty much where my great love for Illustator began!

  1. How long have you been designing fabric?

I started designing fabric back in 2010 after my first book 'I Love Patchwork' was published.  I sent my designs to several companies and got a ton of no's.  Being the persistent person that I am, I sent an email to Timeless Treasures and quickly got a response from their Art Director.  She had JUST picked up my book the same week!  How crazy is that? My first collection was called "I Heart..".  It was actually a combination of two collections that I designed named CuteBots and FlowerShop.  Looking back on that group, there are definitely some things I would do differently.  I've learned so much about design over the years and I'm truly feeling more confident about my art.  

  1. Who do you think has been your greatest design influence?

I have to say that I don't think my greatest influence has been one person or thing.  I love mid century design, Japanese art and design, vintage children's book illustrators.  Some favorite vintage designers/artists are Sonia Delaunay, Celia Birtwell, Mary Blair.  The list is SO long and vast!  It's hard for me to pinpoint one person or thing. :)   

  1. Do you create on paper or on a screen?

I use a combination of both.   Depending on my mood or the look I'm going for, I typically start out sketching on paper.  I'll scan the art and then start working in Illustrator to create the final design.  Sometimes I just jump right in and go straight to screen.  It really just depends. 

  1. Do you have a colour or palette that you most like to work with?

I'm usually drawn to fushias, aquas, and warm yellows.  I try my best to step outside of my comfort zone, but I always seem to come full circle and use some shade of those colors. Not a fan of burgundy, forest green, and mauve. I'm sure they have their usefulness, though. 

  1. Is there someone in the fabric design world who is a favourite, or who you like to keep your eye on?

One of my favorite designers is Anyan. (  His work is just so cute and whimsical!  He's based in Japan, so we don't see a lot of his designs on this side of the pond.  I'd love to see his work popping up more State side. 

  1. What’s your favourite thing to sew or make?

I started sewing garments when I was 12.  One Summer my mother (and Grandfather, who was a tailor) decided that I needed to learn a new skill and sewing was it.  I reluctantly spent my Summer learning to sew pants and a vest and the fabric was hideous.  It pretty much looked like a clown suit, but I was oh so proud of that clown suit.  I knew then that I wanted to make clothes for the rest of my life.  Fast forward to high school graduation and I was on the plane the NEXT DAY to New York.  I studied Fashion Design at FIT.  Turns out, I actually don't enjoy sewing clothes all that much. Hahahahaha!  All that to say I really and truly love a good quilt.  Hee. 

  1. If you weren’t a designer, what other career do you think you might have been good at or enjoyed?

Believe it or not, I really, reeeeeaally wanted to join the Air Force when I was a in high school.  I wanted to fly so badly!  My folks said no way.  FINE! I'll be a Fashion Designer. Geez! *rolls eyes* 

  1. What was the last good book you read?

The Accidental Creative - How To Be Brilliant At A Moment's Notice by Todd Henry

A great book about creative productivity.  I highly recommend it!

  1. Where are your travels taking you next?

Well, I'm off to San Diego to hangout with my folks at the beach this weekend.  Right after that, next week I'm off to Atlanta to work with the Cotton + Steel family on new art for 2018.  Then I'll be heading to St. Louis for Quilt Market in May.  I hope to make it somewhere overseas before the year is over. Fingers and toes crossed. I'll keep you posted! ^_~ 

And this is why I asked Rashida to be my first Guinea Pig for "Hello Designers". These are a small sample of my favourite Rashida fabrics in recent history...

Current collection - Kujira and Star (loved them all but these four were real standouts for me). 



From SS Bluebird - It was dreamy in Black (Black and White) but it's crazy good in red.


Past All Stars (not in any order, all favourites of mine)



I've sewn with most of the above, but I made this one into a favourite Merchant and Mills Top 64

My sister turned this one into a One Hundred Acts of Sewing Dress with the border and selvedge for the hem ( or lack of hem) - perfection.

Looking at these few examples above, you can probably see right away what I love about her fabric designs. Rashida always does just enough - never too much. There is always the right amount of negative space for the design to breath and to make sure you see what's important. Her designs sometimes yield a little reward or surprise for those who look closely (some teeth are happy, some are sad). She often uses elements from the natural world, but they are also graphic and modern. And, her sense of colour is both broad and original. 

It's been a real treat for me to say Hello to Rashida. I hope it was for you too!!

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Diana - April 6, 2017

I do so love Rashida’s artwork, and have many of her fabrics in my stash. After reading this interview, I put both her book, and her recommended book on “Hold” at the library. (Funnily enough,at last year’s York Heritage Quilt Guild show sale, I purchased a set of patchwork coasters in their own fabric basket which I see now is the project on the cover of her “I Heart Patchwork” book … so I’m thinking this will definitely hit the “must purchase” list! Thanks for a great interview

BERENE - April 1, 2017

Great interview! Loved getting insight into Rashida’s inspiration and process. Her fabric designs are as diverse as her experiences. How awesome that her grandpa taught her to sew. Maybe it’s time I cut into my treasured piece of her rice linen. Maybe.

Ludgera - March 31, 2017

I met Rashida last year at a sewing event. Rashida was sitting at our dinner table and she was awesome and shared how she gets inspired for her new collections. We even got the sneak preview for the “now” Kujira and Star" fabric line. It’s was so interesting to know where she was growing up and how these images from her childhood are telling a story on fabric. Lots of laughter in her class. Thanks for sharing this interview.

Ludgera - March 31, 2017

I met Rashida last year at a sewing event. Rashida was sitting at our dinner table and she was awesome and shared how she gets inspired for her new collections. We even got the sneak preview for the “now” Kujira and Star" fabric line. It’s was so interesting to know where she was growing up and how these images from her childhood are telling a story on fabric. Lots of laughter in her class. Thanks for sharing this interview.

Lesley - March 31, 2017

I love love love this woman’s fabric. An amazing creative!
Thank you

Christine - March 31, 2017

Before I “really” started sewing, I picked up two of Rashida’s books – “I Heart Patchwork” and “Zakka Style”. It was small projects from each of those books that got me hooked on my current passion of sewing small and big things. Loved this interview. Great idea, Daryl. Looking forward to more :)

Charlene - March 31, 2017

One of my favourite fabric designers and I have used several of her fabrics in quilts. Great to know more about Rashida.

Beatrice - March 31, 2017

Love this interview! So inspiring.

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