American modernist artist Charley Harper (1922-2007) is a perennial favorite here on the blog. One of our greatest finds ever remains: Original Charley Harper posters still available at amazingly affordable prices from the U.S. Government Bookstore. Now, thanks to a tip from reader Nancy on our Facebook page, we’ve learned that this October, Birch Fabrics will release a whole line of fabrics featuring Charley Harper designs. The designs were licensed by and developed in collaboration with Todd Oldham Studios, which directs the portfolio of Charley Harper designs. These are “casegoods” — meant for quilting and light decorative uses like aprons or kitchen curtains. So fresh! So colorful! We have 17 photos in our sneak peek!
How were the patterns chosen from the extensive body of Charley Harper’s work?
The designs in which we are printing were exclusively licensed to Birch Fabrics for use on organic fabric, and other substrates for the crafting community. The licensing is handled through Todd Oldham Studios in New York City. Todd Oldham Studios and Birch Fabrics worked together to decide on the prints that would be featured in the first collection. We wanted the debut collection to contain some of Mr. Harper’s iconic bird designs, such as the Cardinal, Feeding Station, Bank Swallow, and Upside Downside, as we felt that the fans would really appreciate the existence of these designs on cloth which has endless possibilities.
Birch Fabrics handled getting Mr. Harper’s artwork ready for print as well as reworking some of the designs with the quilting world in mind, as this is the industry in which we primarily design for. So when we chose the designs to highlight we also were looking for color combinations, and images for coordinates that would speak to the quilter. That is where some of the coordinates come in to the collection, such as the Twigs and the use of Mr. Harper’s Trees from his original design Octoberama.
Do you have to be a wholesaler or member to order the Charley Harper fabrics or can the public order these through your website too?
The fabrics will be available in October 2013. Wholesale customers will be able to purchase through Birch Fabrics, and retail customers (general public) will be able to purchase through any of our stockists that purchased the fabrics, most of which are listed here.
Do you know the price (or have an estimate) per yard for each type of fabric?
The suggested retail price on all of the cottons, knits, flannels and canvas will be $16.50 per yard.
Cynthia also suggested I contact Tony Longoria, who works at Todd Oldham Studio for his take on why they chose to work with an organic fabric company to license Charley Harper’s designs. Tony was able to send us a direct quote from Todd Oldham on the subject. Todd Oldham told us:
Charley was an ecologist from an early age so it is important to partner with companies that share his ideas about how important it is to be respectful to our planet. Birch has terrific organic quality that feels cozy while being a perfect medium for Charley’s sharp crisp imagery.
We are in love.
Are you, too? Seems like there are a multitude of Charley Harper products now available.
And remember, Todd Oldham wrote THE book on Charley Harper. There is a large, $120 version. But, you can also get a smaller version for much less: