Designer Spotlight: Erin McMorris

—by Gina

Erin McMorris is a Portland based designer with a whole lotta skills.  I LOVE being able to say we have “locally designed” fabrics in the store, and I love it even more when the designs are as fun and playful as Erin’s.  She was gracious enough to take time to answer a few questions for our readers.  Enjoy and come see her beauties in person at the store.

A little about Erin:

Erin McMorris studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati and
then textile design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
She has doodled, drawn and designed in London, San Francisco, and
New York and currently rests her laptop in Portland, Oregon.

She likes lime green, pumpkin ice cream, tulips, her super silver
bike, and people that make her laugh. Her designs can be described as
modern, bold, colorful and fun.

**This was excerpted from her site, where you can read more, like the very impressive list of places where her designs have been seen.

BN: We’d love to know a bit about your history as a designer. Are you a life-long designer or did you discover it as an adult? 

EM: Well, my “career” started in 6th grade when my design was chosen by my “peers” to be the cover of the 6th grade dinner dance invitation…I like to call that my big break!  But I always knew I was going to do something in design.   

BN: What was your path to pursuing this as a career?

EM: I was working in graphic design with an evening job painting ceramics and I realized that I was enjoying my evening job more than my day job.  And after taking a couple ceramics classes, I also realized that it was more about the painting of the patterns than the making of the ceramics that I really liked!  I decided that I just wanted to make patterns and went back to school to study textile design.  I started working for a textile studio in NY right out of school where I learned absolutely everything and anything!  And since I’ve moved to Portland, I’ve been freelance for about 8 years.  I feel really really lucky to love what I do!

BN: Tell us a bit about your latest collection, La Dee Da.

EM: I think with every collection, I’m trying to do a little something different but still have it be me.  This is always the hardest part actually!   As the name La Dee Da might suggest, this collection was really just a whimsical group of summery designs that didn’t necessarily have a “theme”, but I had a lot of fun working on this group.  I love creating collections for summer because after the long gray Portland winters, it’s fun to have something bright and happy to work on!   I added the snowglobe print because I thought it was fun and personal since I collect them!  I tried to blend geometrics with hand-drawn elements and line work so that the prints go together but don’t necessarily match.  I wanted the gingham print to really look like it was screen-printed on gingham so I kept the colors really tonal so they almost blend into the background instead of separating out.  The leaf print is a carry over from my Greenhouse collection which was only on flannel and I thought it deserved to be on cotton too!  

BN: What are some of your favorite fabrics/patterns/materials to work with?

EM: Laminated cotton is by far my favorite substrate.  It is shiny, doesn’t fray at the edges and is fun to work with. And did I mention, it’s shiny?! 

BN: What trends in fabric design have you excited?

EM: I love seeing all the new substrates coming out.  And seeing how they are used.  I’d really like to work with knits or more home dec fabrics.  It’s also exciting to see new collections from illustrators and artists outside the quilting world. 

BN: We love to hear about locals’ favorite spots in town. What are some of your favorite haunts?

EM: I stop into Ken’s Bakery way way too often.  Brunch is pretty much my favorite meal…Tin Shed, Gravy, Broder,…yum.  There are SO many great restaurants and shops…we are so lucky!

A huge thank you to Erin for taking the time to share with us!  The line is fabulous and perfect for bringing some summer brightness into our lives.  All of us around Portland could use a dose of lime green right about now I think!  So far, I’ve imagined the gingham print as a fun, sweet quilt back, or a cute, cute shirt dress, perfect for summer bbqs.  Come check it out and see where your imagination takes you!