November 29, 2011

5 Minutes With a Fabric Designer Part 4

I still have four interviews from Quilt Market that I haven't posted yet! I think I'll get one more in before delving completely into posts on Christmas goodness, craftiness, and general yuletide merrymaking cheer.

How about Mark Cesarik?

Part of an ever-increasing presence of talented men in the traditionally female-dominated sewing/craft and design industry, Mr. Mark Cesarik was showing his second fabric line at fall QM, and was, quite frankly, a refreshingly real person to talk to. (Wait, that sounded like a dis on the other people at QM. It wasn't meant to be, just a compliment to Mark.)

Mark's first line with Free Spirit Fabrics was Calypso Swing (which he used to decorate for his wedding- so pretty!)  and his latest,  Morning Tides is a collection of Zenned-out blues and cheery yellow-oranges with a beachy feel. He and his wife, Cara (also super cool), run a design operative called Sew Bettie over at Spoonflower, and Cara, I hear, is the talented stitcher behind Mark's samples, including this rad (did I just say rad?) embroidery:

Love it.

So, once again, let's enter a world wherein I pretend to be a journalist who has done her research (ha!) and nice people pretend not to notice and talk to me anyway.
Ladies and gents, Five Minutes with Mark Cesarik.

Me: Okay, so I'm talking with Mark Cesarik (am I saying it right?)

Mark: Yup.  Says-uh-rick.

Me: Oh good. Okay and his collection is called  Morning Tides with Free Spirit Fabrics and your first collection was...

Mark: Calypso Swing. A lot of grays and pinks and that was my first at Spring Market in Salt Lake.

Me: Oh, yeah! I know  Calypso Swing. And how was it received?

Mark: Pretty well. I was pretty green...and I'd never done Quilt Market...I didn't know yet a lot of the designers...even the sales reps for Free Spirit didn't even know who I was, so it was just a really good learning experience, but this second time around has been a much better experience, you know...I know people, people know me. I've had a lot more traffic in my booth, it's anything else, I'm getting better at it. I was real green the first time around.

Me: I've noticed there are a lot more men coming into the design industry...

Mark: There are.Yes, me and David Butler and we've got Jay [McCarroll] and, obviously Kaffe [Fasset],  who's like a champion of the industry...yeah it does seem that, you know, when I tell some of my friends that I grew up with who don't have any idea about anything to do with this industry, I tell them I design fabrics and they're like, "Oh...hmmm...well, we're gonna go watch the football game." And, you know, I like that stuff too. But I think that there's a really growing market, not only for women who like to buy more masculine fabrics for men- and I'm not saying that my fabrics are overtly masculine because they're really not-

Me: No, I think they're really universal...

Mark: Yeah, they're kind of androgynous... but I do feel, well, I don't see why there wouldn't be a market for it. Especially when fabric is not just for quilts, but also for apparel and things like that.

Me: Yeah, I feel like the stereotype of this being a women's industry is starting to fall...

Mark: Yeah, and more than that- the stereotype of it being an older women's industry...there really are some really hip people...and that's the thing about Free Spirit too is I think they're right on the cutting edge with the designs they're putting out...because it's really, well I look at it as art.

Me: Yeah. Now your wife said your background is in fine art.

Mark: Yep.

Me: Do you think fine artists are finding more of a...utilitarian outlet through fabric design? Is that what led you  here? A more accessible format?

Mark: Ummm, well I went to the Art Institute of Chicago, I studied painting and drawing, but I found my way...sort of accidentally into this through design- my day job is as a graphic designer. And, yeah I guess it is a really good outlet...for me, it was really natural because of my design background and because, frankly, I'm good at using the kind of software where I can create digital designs- that's my bread and butter. So it was a really natural transition and frankly, the freedom that it allows you is something that's been really rewarding, I mean I literally -when I go into a new collection- I have no restraints...I have nobody telling me what they'd like to see, they just say give me something that we haven't seen.

Me: They want you-

Mark: Exactly-

Me: -all over your designs.

Mark: So that's the beauty about it. I mean I literally feel like I get to doodle for a living.

Me: That's awesome.

Mark: It's really an incredibly rewarding experience. I just start from scratch and I doodle and I see what I come up with- and, even as a graphic designer it's not the same, I mean I'm working under constraints...certain guidelines...and this- I just get to do whatever the heck I want to do. So it's incredibly rewarding...especially when I get the sample yardage. It's really nice.

Me: Okay, so I like to close up with a couple of non-generic what is your favorite kind of ice cream?

Mark: Ohhh, hmmm...

Me: Or do you even like ice cream?

Mark: Oh, are you kidding? You know, it's hard for me to say a favorite everything, but if I had to choose my would be Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies.

Me: Oh, yeeeeah. Yeah that's good stuff.

Mark: Yeah, it's quality...I'm a traditional vanilla and chocolate guy... I like chocolate chip cookie dough...but the Milk and Cookies Ben and Jerry' butters my bread.

Me: Awesome. And last one- what is your favorite movie?

Mark: My favorite movie...hmmm...I can give you...

Me: Or book- we can go movie or book.

Mark: Well, again I have a hard time naming one thing, but I'll three favorite. Empire Strikes Back, because not only is it a great movie, but it just takes me to a place...when I was a kid...uh, gotta put Ghostbusters on there...because who doesn't like Ghostbusters?

Me: Yeah, well, who you gonna call?

Mark: Who are  you going to call? Ghostbusters, right? That's the answer. And then...let's see...third favorite- I'm gonna go ahead and put True Romance on there.

Me: True Romance. Okay.

Mark: Because it's a great story and...

Me: Is it visually inspiring to you?
(why do I love that question so much?)

Mark: Uhhhh...viscerally I would say because it's kind of a violent, fast paced movie, but at the heart of it is a love story and just great acting...have you seen True Romance?

Me: (Drat! Found out!) No,  I have not.

Mark: Oh, okay, it's actually sort of a remake of a movie called Badlands with Martin Sheen and Cissy was written by Quentin Tarantino and it's got an amazing cast... you got Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Christian Slater is the main character...

Me: Oh, I'm a Christian Slater fan.

Mark: Well, who isn't? Slater. He could've been the modern day Jack Nicholson if he hadn't made bad wise. But yeah, I'd put those three on there and on any given day it might be different...but Empire Strikes Back would be on there for sure because it just takes me back to when I was a little kid.

Me: Yeah, you and my husband would get along.

Mark: Well, we're probably...your husband and I are probably around the same age. I used to dress up as Luke Skywalker, although, as I've gotten older I've learned to appreciate Han Solo you get older you'd rather be Han Solo.

Me: Well, yeah. Because he's the cool one.

Mark: The super cool one. He gets the girls and all that.

Thanks Mark, for taking the time to interview with me- I had a lot of fun. You, dear readers, can learn more about Mr. Cesarik by visiting his website, (check out his mixed media gallery- I like the elephant) or his blog,
You know, for some strange reason, I'm craving bread and butter.


1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing the interview with mark. it was great to meet you!