Spoonflower Staff Challenge 2016

Every year, spoonflower employees all put their minds to a themed design challenge to rank our skill at speed designing fabrics. And every year I spam my friends and family into voting me up so that I can hopefully make top 10 and win some booze ;-). Though first place gets a custom CHAIR covered in their design!

So I ask you all now, go vote for my lovely abstract water color clouds! They look so good!

Don’t believe me? Check out how amazing it looks on this dress AND this fabri-mache deer head. (The deer head is a present for reaching 5 years at Spoonflower. Does my company give a clock? A gift card? A plaque? Nope. A fabric covered deer head.)

This is unrelated to the staff challenge, but I have a history of, well, dressing to match other things in my scenery. Its one of those things I just find too funny about working for a company that prints their own fabric, wallpaper etc. I can literally chameleon myself into my surroundings. There’s even rather a lot of photographic evidence of this happening. In one of the photos, you can see me blending into a couch. If (big IF, but if) I win this staff challenge, I already have my dress prepared. And I could hang a fabric covered deer head above it. It would just be such a beautiful weird image.

So please, do what you can. VOTE FOR ME:


Staff Challenge 2014

Faithful readers may remember my previous posts about the spoonflower staff challenge.

On a weekly basis, spoonflower holds a fabric design contest which is open to anyone as long as their design fits the “theme” of the week. But once a year, the contest is closed to outsiders and spoonflower employees are given the chance to design fabric and submit it to the public for voting.

Previous years have had a “project” component where we designed fabric and then actually crafted an object out of that fabric. It was super involved and took a lot of time and inspiration and ended up taking weeks of preparation.

This year, they decided to do something a little different. Instead, it was more of an Iron Chef style challenge where everyone who wanted to participate signed up for a 1hour time slot.

We were told in advance that we would have to craft a design out of mystery materials and that we wouldn’t be able to use any image altering software other than the crop tool and the spoonflower color-changing tool.

We weren’t allowed to bring any materials with us. When we arrived we were shown a table full of various craft supplied. Some were in a category of “You can use any of these” and some were in a category “You have to use three of these.” When we had 10 min left we were told to scan our design in, and upload it to spoonflower. That was it.



It was very fun and very silly. Above you can see my design (set in its repeat, and a close up so you can see the textures). I used brown craft paper, and cut up paint chips, and green twist-ties, and string, and fake floor laminate, and small metal washers. It all ended up okay in the end, but about three quarters of the way through I was a bit worried.

After the contest I also made an updated version which I messed about with in photoshop to hide the repeat line, and add some extra flowers.


Staff Challenge Steampunk Quilt

Remember when I said I’d been really really really really busy? Right, this is ANOTHER part of that busy. It is once again that time of year for the Spoonflower Staff Challenge. Every week, spoonflower holds a contest open to anyone to design fabric based on whatever the theme of the week is. Once a year, they hold a contest where the EMPLOYEES have to design a fabric, and the rest of the world gets to judge and vote on us. We also have to make something out of the fabric. Last year, I was in a team with a guy named Jaysen, and we reupholstered a chair that had been in his wife’s family for generations. Here’s that blog post.

Last year, the theme was open to anything we wanted to make. Since we have so many more employees (and since teams last year took it to some pretty CRAZY EXTREMES) they decided to try to contain our creativity just a bit, and actually give us a theme: quilts. We can make whatever we want, as long as its a quilt. Haha.

I’m with a pretty awesome team, two lovely people named Lindy and Deron. You know how cool they are? It wasn’t even MY idea to do steampunk, it was theirs. Yep, they’re that cool.

Anyways, right, so we’re doing a Steampunk Chessboard Quilt. That’s right, we’re so awesome our quilt is more than a quilt. Its also a chessboard (or checkers.) Its a game of life and death, between two mad scientists and their clockwork army, and a mysterious Kraken of the deep ocean, who also happens to be possessing half the nobility of London. Royal squid zombies.

Lovely Lindy has a background in graphic design, and since neither Deron nor I can draw very well, she’s doing all the difficult design work. She drew the game board, that awesome image of a squid attacking an airship is all hers. And she’s working on making unique designs for all the chess pieces, which are, of course, squids versus gears.

For the quilt back, I thought it’d be fun and silly to have a faux newspaper article. Especially since that doesn’t require me to draw anything. (Yes, that article title says “SCIENTIST’S DISCOVERY: QUEEN VICKY IS A ZOMBIE”)

Did you also know that YOU could make this quilt yourself? We made it that easy! We uploaded a cut-n-sew version to spoonflower right here. All you have to do is buy two yards of fabric, cut out the pieces, and follow our easy instructions for how to make your very own steampunk chess quilt. Astound your friends and family!

Don’t like chess? Just buy one yard and play CHECKERS! (which we all know is the superior game anyways…)