Charley Harper FabricAmerican 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!

Charley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCynthia from Birch Fabrics quickly responded to our questions:

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.

Charley Harper FabricCharley Harper Fabric
Charley Harper FabricCharley Harper Fabric

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.

Charley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper FabricCharley Harper Fabric

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.

Charley Harper Fabric

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:

*affiliate link

  1. Nora M says:

    I am so pleased and excited! So many things to make with these wonderful designs!!

  2. Lynne says:

    Ah yes, an equal disappointment with Younger Furniture. A four hour drive to Chicago just to check them out. Then, what about delivery?

  3. oh Holland says:

    Adore Charley Harper’s birdy art — never saw his squirrel till today, though! Last Xmas my cards were Harper cardinals. So bright and mcm.

  4. Jamie D. says:

    Wow. I need to learn how to sew by October. I’ve been searching for the perfect duvet cover for ages, and two of these are exactly what I want…I could make it reversible. And with coordinating curtains. And throw pillows.

    They’ll look great with my “Manatee in the Mangroves” serigraph.

  5. Becky says:

    As I sit here under my famed Charley Harper poster from that wonderful government offer, I am FLIPPING OUT! Couch pillows, bed pillows, cloth napkins…I just might have to have myself a dress made out of cardinal fabric! Can’t wait.

  6. Gwen Aldrich says:

    I’m ready to shop. Can’t wait to see them in person & I like how the fabrics coordinate with each other.

  7. C says:

    Like Becky, I am very, very excited. I’d post my pic of my poster in my living room with its fabulous frame from Michael’s of all places, that has lines in it that mimic the lines within the trees. I have been waiting for the right fabric to make curtains for the living room, as I have a humongous 14 foot span of sliding doors to the patio so nothing off the rack will do. Some patterned panels amid solid color might do the trick. Exciting!!!

  8. Pencils says:

    I have a sewing machine, a Christmas gift from a year & a half ago that I haven’t even touched. (I need an embarrassed emoticon!) I really need to relearn how to sew by October. I have a bunch of Charley Harper stuff, from the Big Oldham book, to a few original books, a signed seriograph, several of the posters, and some of the pottery that Tag did a few years ago. I’m so angry with myself–I broke one of the cardinal S&P shakers last Xmas. 🙁 Need to find a replacement. Sadly, I don’t like any of the Fish’s Eddy stuff. I need to make some fall stuff with the new fabric…hmmm…

    I used to see Todd Oldham occasionally in Olive’s at Soho, picking up takeout lunch when I was getting my lunch. I didn’t know back then that he was a Harper fan, I would have struck up a conversation!

  9. Marie A says:

    Please, please remind us when these are out. I’m definitely buying some for curtains.

  10. Catherine P says:

    So great to hear! We based our son’s nursery on a Charley Harper print (that we got from the US gov’t bookstore- thanks Retrorenovation for the heads up!) and I just love his whimsical style. I might just have to start quiltin’!

  11. Jessica says:

    for those who scored the posters from the Gov site, any tips on framing? Frame sizes for 29×39 and 24×17 are tough to come by. Any recos is greatly appreciated! I splurged and got all posters

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