I share this story because it's important for you to know: you can do it, too. You can have a life and career doing the art you love. All you need is someone to show you the path.
Our stories matter, because they contain the transformation. There are no 'overnight successes'. We put in hard work, we make sacrifices and we consistently show up through it all. I share my story with you to show you what it looked like at the very beginning.
The struggles, the imposter syndrome, the uncertainty. I've been there!
BUT I'M HERE TO TELL YOU:
I'm a mama, artist and fabric designer living nestled back in the hills of the Great Smoky Mountains. I love to grow flowers, explore nature and snuggle my kids every day.
I have a passion for sharing what I know and inspiring others to follow their own big dreams.
"It’s pretty rare to meet someone as beautifully talented and genuine as Bonnie—but to also call them your best friend? That’s a sweet honor. I first “met” Bonnie (via her blog) in 2010 when she wrote about my artwork. I was a little starstruck, TBH. Since then, we have grown as people, as business owners, and as friends, and now, Bonnie is one of the most giving, passionate, and authentic human’s I get to call a true Friend. She consistently builds people up and empowers us to thrive."
"It's been amazing to watch Bonnie start from scratch. Being behind the scenes, I've seen the struggles, the hard work, the ambition .. and her ability to thrive. I don't think either of us realized how incredible the journey would be. I've seen it all unfold and I couldn't be more proud of her. I love watching Bonnie in her element. Seeing first hand how she genuinely uplifts the creatives around her is honestly, so inspiring. "
"Blessed to be Bonnie’s mom, I know her heart to be as sweet as she seems. She thoroughly knows what she teaches and helps us see that our goals are entirely reachable. Her teaching style is comprehensive yet warm and encouraging. She has helped me gain the skills and confidence to run my own online business and provide my customers with beautiful, professional materials. I’ve always told her, when her dreams come true, mine do too."
Curious about pattern design? Join this totally free mini course to learn my signature process, from first sketch to final artwork. Follow along to create your own pattern in just five days!
Being able to stay home my children was one of my biggest goals. I love the freedom this career holds!
Along the way, we struggled: David made a humble salary and my income was inconsistent. We downgraded to one car, lived in a small one-bedroom house, and hardly ever ate out or bought new clothes. David believed in me and my family supported my dreams—helping drive my passion.
I attended International Quilt Market in 2012, where I took my handmade portfolio and a small quilt my mom had made to show my designs. It's still one of my most favorite possessions—I keep it folded in my studio where I can look at it often and think about what it represents.
I met with several companies to show them my work and samples, but I was most excited about my meeting with Art Gallery Fabrics. I walked away from that meeting as a different person: the art director offered me a contract and I left Quilt Market to begin my career as a fabric designer!
Since then, I am elated to say that I am living my absolute creative dream. I've designed over ten fabric collections for Art Gallery Fabrics, and have seen my work come to life on ribbons, wallpaper, iPhone cases, embroidery designs, and more. Even better? I now teach and empower other artists to find the same success in their own careers, creating art (and income) doing what they love. This journey wasn't easy, but it was absolutely worth it.
Putting myself out there was scary—putting my name to my work, cold-calling companies to ask them for their opinion of the work I'd poured my heart and soul into. Rejection is inevitable, and it hurts! But I knew that if I didn't put my work out there, no one would see it. I've always told myself: it only takes 10 seconds of courage. it only takes 10 seconds of courage to dial a number, introduce myself to an art director, or ask someone's opinion. After my 10 seconds of courage were up, the conversation would be started and things would flow. I still use this trick to this very day!
I was able to really focus on my dream of becoming a surface pattern designer. I began doing one thing every single day that helped move me toward my dream. For awhile, it was just researching where I needed to begin: I asked questions, read books, and took online classes to learn Adobe Illustrator. After 11 months of "Daily Things," I made my first repeating pattern!
The next 9 months were spent making as many patterns as possible. I spent time sourcing inspiration, sketching, and designing. Some days I only had 15 minutes to accomplish my "one thing," while others were spent entirely on design. Months went by until I finally had 3 pattern collections that I felt proud of and ready to share with the world: my very first portfolio.
After going to business school and marrying my sweetheart David, I found myself back in Mom's fabric shop, managing inventory and meeting with art reps. Working here brought it all together: fabric design took all my passions in life and wrapped them up as a beautiful career option. I had decided: I was going to be a fabric designer!
Just one problem: I didn't know how to design. It dawned on me—I can do this on my own. It may be the hardest thing I ever do, but I can do it.
I opened an Etsy Shop, started a blog, and got involved with the handmade community. I started to find my voice as a creative. After about six months, I was making a small but substantial income and was able to quit my day job (sorry, Momma!).
Because of her, my childhood was saturated with creativity. I grew up spending time in her quilt shop, watching her sew and creating things alongside her. We spent time learning crafts together, decorating the house, and cooking meal. From pottery and painting to photography and baking... she has mastered it all!
Creativity seems to seem from her pores, and it's through her wisdom, willingness to teach, and gentle guidance that inspired my belief that my world had to revolve around being creative too.
Worn in jeans
Favorite stretchy pants
Sketch with pencil
Draw on the iPad
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