Heather Givans is a creative force; fabric designer, quilt designer, national instructor, artist, and art educator. Heather creates community wherever she goes. Crimson Tate : Modern Quilter was born out of an obsession with creating non-traditional quilts from contemporary, modern, and repurposed vintage fabrics. Engineered by Heather Givans, Purdue University graduate of Art History, Art Education, and Fine Arts (Printmaking), Crimson Tate quilts are good design coupled with an attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Heather learned to quilt when helping her mother fulfill a 30-year dream of learning to sew. Together, the two of them set off to quilt camp in the heart of the Midwest, where Heather fell in love with fabric, texture, patterns, and an amazing sea of sewers who possessed an endless wealth of sewing knowledge. With a hot cup of coffee on hand – maybe a little too much cream – and some great folk tunes, Heather began working on new designs in her basement located near Lake Superior in Duluth, MN. There, she enjoyed inspiration from the beautiful scenes surrounding her.
Today, Heather designs fabric for Windham Fabrics, works on new pattern designs, giggles contagiously, and teaches sewing with her energetic friends and staff among the hustle and bustle of Downtown Indianapolis. You can find her hanging out at 845 Massachusetts Avenue, an open to the public studio.
When did you realize you had a passion for art and design?
As a kid, I loved art more than anything. I created treasure maps, home videos, grew my own flower garden, and surrounded myself with art books from the public library. Henri Matisse was always my favorite. I wanted to learn how to do all kinds of creative works.
Describe your aesthetic in 3 words.
Whimsy, tonal, fun!
What was the inspiration behind your latest fabric release?
I have two fabric collections out right now. Let me tell you about them both! Night Hike is an homage to my time at summer camp and also a little love note to my Grandma who lives in Northern Minnesota. The collection is inspired by the colors of the aurora borealis (the Northern lights) with deep purples and greens. I love how the light bounces off of the lake in a vibrant beautiful green hue. The collection contains lake maps, camp maps, tiny pine trees, fire flies, moths, and the night sky. All of these things are quintessential summer.
I also have a basics collection called JOT and it’s filled with all kinds of blank paper in pale tones. College rule, elementary penmanship paper, scientific grid, ledger, library cards, and date stamps round out the collection. Did I mention that I’m a paper LOVER?! I love paper so much, almost as much as fabric. This basics collection folds in nicely with other collections as a background player.
You teamed up with Windham to create your line of textiles. What about Windham made them the perfect partner for you?
Windham cares about art. Windham cares about artists. I am deeply appreciative that Windham Fabrics allows me create fabric collections. I am absolutely respected as an artist. They care about quality of goods and consistency of printing which is also important to me. I love those guys. They have made me feel like part of their family. I can’t imagine a better company to partner with than Windham. Did you see all of those hearts in my eyes as I talked about them?
If you had to choose one favorite fabric from your entire line, what would it be and why?
What a tough question! Way Finding in Light Grey is my absolute favorite right now. It takes me right to the summer lake, standing on the shore fishing with my dad or riding in a pontoon with my grandma. Those memories are so strong in my mind and this fabric transports me swiftly to that place. I love it so much.
What are your current favorite trends in sewing?
I love improv piecing and quilting. I always am inspired by social justice quilts, too, albeit they aren’t necessarily tending but rather a constant art statement.
What do you love most about creating a DIY project with your fabric (or seeing customers creating DIY projects with your fabric)?
So often I am blown away at what people will make. Of course, I have a set of ideas that I think are awesome that I conceive while designing the fabric, like Wishing Star quilt. I knew I wanted those purples and blues and greys to all hang out together. But when I see someone make something I never would have thought of, I’m dumbfounded. And to see a project that is constructed for a momentous occasion, too, using my fabrics I’m humbled and in awe. That’s a pretty awesome part of this job.
What projects are on your “must make” list right now?
I am in the midst of making a Personal Library quilt using Night Hike which I’m super excited about. I am also in the middle of making a more green-centric Wishing Star quilt for a good friend. She doesn’t know about it so let’s not say anything more about it! ;)
Next on the list is Latifah Saafir’s Clammy Half Circles quilt pattern made from JOT. Oh yeah! I’m excited about that one, too.
What other blogs/brands/designers inspire you most?
This list is vast and constantly being added to! Right now I am in awe and am inspired by words and works of these artists and authors: Chawne Kimber, Carolyn Friedlander, Christian Robinson, Jandy Nelson, Angie Thomas, Colson Whitehead and Yaa Gyasi.
What’s coming up for you in 2018? What’s next?
I’m teaching workshops and lectures across the United States, which is pretty fun. Also, I’m always working on new patterns and fabric designs.
What do you love to do when you aren’t designing and creating?
I am OBSESSED with plants, mostly succulents and cactuses. Living in Indiana, I’ve outgrown my window space for the winter with all of the new plants I’ve started this summer. Eeeeeek! What am I going to do when cold weather arrives? Oh no.
Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
I taught high school art for nearly 10 years. I love teaching art from painting, drawing, ceramics, printmaking, photography, to graphic design. There are days I miss teaching dearly but I’m loving riding this wave of awesome.