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GG Team

Member Since December 2007, 108 forum posts, 2 public projects

Location: All Over the World

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CHA Winter '13 Designer Interviews: Amy Tan


How would you like to hear about the new Yes, Please! collection from the girl behind the collection herself? Garden Girl and Designer Amy Tan tells us all about the behind-the-scenes design process.


Tell us about your upcoming collection: It's called Yes, Please and it might be my favorite collection thus far.
What was the inspiration behind it? I wanted a softer watercolor look than Sketchbook. We wanted to stick with hand drawn elements but incorporate a bit of nature - flowers and trees, with grey details like concrete and pencil lines. 

Screen Shot 2013-01-11 at 5.42.06 PM

Where do you look for inspiration? I look at the world around me. It can come from travel (near or far) as well as movies and magazines. But mostly from just experiencing life and connecting with interesting people.
Once you have a concept for a collection, what is the design process like? The development is one of the best parts of my collaboration. I get to work with talented designers at American Crafts who can help hone in on the concepts we most want to convey. Sometimes we come up with too many ideas that it's hard to narrow them down. But it's important to have focus. Every line I have had so far has had cameras. They're so versatile and fresh each time. Oh back to the process. We do these things in random order sometimes, but the color scheme, design elements (like the camera for example), and overall feel have to be determined rather quickly. From there, a style sheet (similar to a mood board) is made from all the inspiration that was gathered. Then we can focus on the products and specific designs. We doodle, paint, and experiment. Then the designers will get on their computers and do their magic.


How do you decide on the name for a line? I like to have a general idea of the name near the beginning of the process, so I just write down what comes to mind. Usually it's left until the end though so we can see how the line has evolved. How do you name the papers? Typically a theme is chosen, and we will try and stick with it. This process is rather time consuming, but I find myself just going with what first came to mind. For example if a paper makes me think of "hope", I wouldn't want to later name it something that differs from that, especially since hope is such an uplifting word.

What is the most rewarding part of developing a collection? Truly it's seeing what crafters do with it. I love to see how many creative interpretations can be made from the same products. 
What is the most challenging? Sometimes we have some great ideas, but because of production issues or pricing, it may not get made. It can be difficult to deal with the fact that these factors are out of our control.

What is your favorite piece from your new release? It's hard to choose just one. Because we are introducing so many brand new products, it's a bit difficult to narrow down. I would say that I love the embroidery template stencil kits as well as the calendar stamp. Oh and the pencil rub ons.

Thanks so much for sharing with us, Amy!

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