Specifically I fell for her wallpaper and fabric Birch Lattice (above, in soft turquoise, navy, and lilac). It has that up north vibe I adore but in a lattice pattern that's delicate and entirely unexpected. It put me in mind of graphic designer Milton Glaser who said, "There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no, and wow!"
An admitted color junkie, Maggie creates breezy patterns that evoke her summer digs in Fishtown, Michigan. The fabrics and wallpapers feature western Michigan coastal motifs like tug boats, dragonflies, canoes, golf courses, and cherries. Everything is hand painted, which adds to its nostalgic appeal.
Her color pairings are not shy and Maggie finds that customers are drawn to the bold colorations first and the patterns second. Together, the combination is fresh, youthful, and a far cry from the dark earth tones of fabrics traditionally used up north in cabins and cottages.
I love the way Maggie repeats and links her motifs -- so clever! You have to look carefully to discern the objects making up the geometric pattern. She riffs on her hometown in a way that's both playful and refined and makes us all wish we were residents of Fishtown, Michigan.
Maggie is relatively new to the textile scene. She taught art for over ten years, and experimented on the side with pattern-making as a way to learn graphic design. What began as a hobby has evolved into a very fulfilling albeit demanding business. Last summer, Maggie went a step further and opened a shop to showcase her designs.
I predict that Maggie is on the verge of exploding, so I asked if she had a plan. She said that she ponders the next step all the time. Does she outsource her production from the U.S. to Asia? Does she diversify with indoor/outdoor fabric? Kids clothing? Does she sell her designs to big name manufacturers?
I think she should experiment. Play around. Try things and see what works. After all, it was experimentation that led her to textile design in the first place. She said to me, "The best ideas never come when I'm sitting at my desk."
Whatever she does next, I am thoroughly impressed with what she's done so far. I am rooting for this fellow midwesterner, this Michigan girl, this Leland Gal.
To read more about Maggie and Leland Gal, check out the fun feature on her in this month's issue of Matchbook Magazine. You'll drool over the photos!