Debbie Mumm entered the quilting world with a pattern design venture more than 20 years ago. Since that time, her business has grown to include publishing, fabric design and licensing programs for many types of products. She has written more than 50 books and is creative director and chief executive officer of Debbie Mumm®, Inc. in Spokane, Washington. Her recent book entitled Joy Joy Joy with Leisure Arts has many ideas for holiday projects and more. Visit her website and enjoy her blog at debbiemumm.com.
How did you decide upon your career? What led you in that direction?
My main motivation and goal was to do something that was artistic and creative. Being true to myself has always been a strong compass for me. Designing quilts and illustration were both direct expressions of my nature, and through good fortune and fortitude, turning those into a business venture fell into place.
What inspires your work? How do new ideas come to you?
There is very little that isn’t an influence or inspiration on some level. Color is always a moving inspiration. It brings everything to life. My personal viewpoint of idealism and goodness is an underlying influence on everything I do. What is going on with trends and the marketplace always needs to be considered when I approach the development of new art, fabric and quilts. If something makes me smile and respond, that usually lets me know I’m on the right track.
How would you describe your creative process?
The process I go through often follows this type of formula.
1. Spend some time doing research. I usually do this through magazines, catalogs, looking at nature, “shopping” (the best part!), and paying attention to what is going on in the worlds of décor, fashion and color.
2. Analyze and integrate these influences and determine themes or ideas that seem appropriate or inspiring to me.
3. Brainstorm with my staff about their influences and discuss the appeal of an assortment of ideas. (It helps to have a great team who brings brilliant ideas to the table and follows through on them.)
4. Do an assortment of pencil sketches and see if the ideas and sketches “flow.”
5. Be open––sometimes my initial ideas take a turn in a different direction.
6. Polish my sketches a few times.
7. Do a colored-pencil rendering to work out placement of color.
8. Create the finished piece in the chosen medium (usually paint or fabric).
If you could offer one piece of advice for creative women, what would it be?
Make time to be creative and don’t be a perfectionist. Expression at whatever level you’re at will be more satisfying than holding yourself up to perfect standards. The whole point is to find the joy in your creativity. (Okay, that was two pieces of advice rolled into one.)
Debbie Mumm’s Holiday Homes quilt appears in the November/December ’07 (No. 118) issue of QUILTMAKER magazine.