A Paper Craft Extraordinare Who’s Shaking Things Up for Quilters

Tim Holtz is not a quilter, but that’s not stopping him from making his mark on the quilting industry.

Designer Tim Holtz at Quilt Market Tim Holtz Booth at Quilt Market 2016

When Tim Holtz, a popular paper crafter and mixed media artist, started designing fabric four years ago, he didn’t want to follow the one-and-done rule in the fabric industry. If his line was only available for a year, he thought, makers wouldn’t have time to get to know it well.

So Tim took a new approach: He started with one line and continued adding coordinating prints year after year. Together, the make up the Eclectic Elements Collection.

Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements Fabric

“I call it vintage nostalgia,” Tim says. “For the younger generations, it has sort of an urban feel, and for older generations it has a bit of nostalgia, so it’s timeless in that way.”

The whole collection is based around what he calls the “foundation fabrics,” which include subway signs, maps, dictionary pages and more. Each year, he adds something new: For example, last year’s line was Wallflower — a mix of florals, birds and other natural elements.

Tim Holtz Correspondence Collection

His latest addition to the collection, called Correspondence, makes it clear that Tim’s roots are in the paper arts industry: It features handwritten notes, airplane blueprints and package labels reading “First Class Mail” and “This Side Up.”

Quilts and Bags from Tim Holtz CollectionTim Holtz_Quilt Market Houston

The inspiration? Real, vintage postcards that he’s collected. “A handwritten note is like a time capsule itself,” he says.

Vintage Post Cards

Unlike most collectors, Tim isn’t looking for antiques in pristine condition. “I like the things that are chipped and worn. They conjure a story in my head,” he says. That aesthetic makes an appearance in his prints, which are a bit faded — on purpose.

The time-worn look is unusual for quilting, as is mixing fabrics from more than one collection. It’s not traditional, but Tim hopes it will inspire quilters, sewers and makers to play with unexpected combinations.

Tim Holtz Fabric on a Lampshade and Chair Kids Clothes Made With Tim Holtz Fabric

Those unexpected combinations may show up in more than just quilts: Since Tim isn’t a quilter himself (“I can sew a straight line, but that’s about it,” he says), he envisions makers turning these fabrics into all kinds of creations. That’s why his booth at Quilt Market featured patchwork lampshades, reupholstered furniture, kids clothes and more.

Vintage Apron by Tim HoltzTim Holtz_Quilt Market Houston 2016_DSC_7195

The designers he worked with on his Quilt Market booth certainly took Tim’s mix-and-match style and ran with it, in all kinds of creations. The apron above, for instance, mixes the typographic prints from the “foundation fabrics,” birds and berries from the Wallflower collection, airplanes from the Correspondence collection and lots of lace. The pieces don’t match each other perfectly — but that’s what Tim’s going for. “I call it perfectly imperfect.”

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