Meet: Dylan Mierzwinski
I can still picture where I was sitting when I watched one of Bonnie’s courses for the first time. At the time I was procrastinating working on a freelance design project that was duller than mud, for a toxic client that I undercharged, for skills I felt I was pretending to have. I just felt so behind; I watched other people work on exciting projects and get hired for their vision and style, and here I was, out of ideas for a logo that I didn’t care about. “There’s room for you”, Bonnie said, “here’s how I did it...”, that was a seed planted.
It took about two more years after that to finally realize I didn’t want to be a graphic designer that worked on branding and brochure design for someone else’s vision, I wanted to bring MY vision to light. So while I forced myself through jobs that would pay the bills, I used my leftover minutes to soak up tutorial after tutorial on drawing, making patterns, sharpening my Illustrator skills, telling a story, and injecting more creativity into my day-to-day life. During that time I also taught myself to sew, a hobby that the would start to give context to my new love of illustrating and telling stories. Once I held so many beautiful fabrics in my hands, I knew it would be a great gift and joy to see my own work on luscious cotton fibers.
This is where I hit some walls. Suddenly I had these big dreams, patterns on fabric and in the end pages of books, and it scared me right back into my shell. It just seemed too big. Reaching out to art directors, hiring creative lawyers, and writing contracts all seemed like things I could surely never handle. I needed Bonnie’s calm but firm encouragement to keep working at it, to do one small thing a day towards my dream. To figure it out as I went. So I listened. I watched every course she put out, I joined the Roost tribe to gain some support (I got much more than that), and I took on the challenges she put forth. This is where it gets really good.
In April of 2017 Bonnie ran a workshop and challenged us to create a pattern collection. Up to this point I had only made one-off patterns and although I was circling around my style, hadn’t totally nailed it yet. Being a person that’s highly motivated by external deadlines and pressure, I decided to use the challenge as fuel to try working in a collection, just to see what happens. I spent a full week in this intensive vacuum working on the collection. I’m talking, hair in the same bun for four days, surviving off of bowls of cereal, not wanting to sleep so I can perfect this tile - kind of madness. I ended up with a 6 print mini collection based on growing up in the country with my hippie of a mom. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt perfect. I knew it was the most important thing I had pushed myself to do at that point. This is where it gets really, really good.
In June of 2017 I had a coaching call with Bonnie. If you can believe it, I was so in my own head that I couldn’t tell if I was a creative or meant to be an accountant. Once again, Bonnie’s calm and clear nature steadied me; she suggested I go to Quilt Market with my portfolio, and finally make something of all this work I was doing. It seemed much too soon for me, but what can you do when someone shows you some light and something inside you whispers “oh yes”?
I won’t drag out the happy ending, four short months after that coaching call I went to Quilt Market. I met with 5 companies and was made 3 offers, one of them being my number one dream company. My first collection will be coming out this year or early next, and if you can believe it, the direction will be based on that first mini collection made for Bonnie’s challenge.
It is not hyperbole nor pure flattery to say that Bonnie changed the course of my life. Her willingness to share ignited something in me, and plenty of others, to say yes to the tiny curious and creative spirit that lives in all of us.