The Inimitable Emma Jean Jansen

It’s no secret that we all have huge crushes on Emma Jean Jansen.  Not only does she design gorgeous Australian fabric and beautiful quilts, but we’ve been drooling over her newly published book ‘By The Bundle’, both for the quilts and the gorgeous photographs.  Do yourself a favour and get your hands on a copy!  Meanwhile, here’s a little taster of the brilliance of Emma. 



What’s your current design focus?

Currently I am working on getting all the new quilt designs out of my head!  I am in between a fabric release so I have time to play with different designer’s fabrics.  Always an enjoyable time for me as designing from my own fabrics can get a little boring. (Can I say that???)



What are your short and long term goals?

I would like to write another book but for the moment it will be getting all the new designs ready to promote my new fabric range.  The fabric ranges happen every six months so you have to be pretty motivated to keep the creative juices flowing!



We love your new book, By the Bundle – tell us about it. What was the theme and the creative ideas behind the book and the patterns?



I was actually very lucky to be approached by a publisher, Susanne from Lucky Spool Media. This happened when I still owned my shop, Ballarat Patchwork but I wasn’t in the position (I did not have any spare time) to even contemplate writing a book. It was actually Susanne who came up with the idea for writing a modern quilt book based on fat quarters. I jumped at the chance because I always loved designing quilts with restrictions. The challenge was too tempting!


How has your work developed over the years?

I have got smarter with designing for the main part. I used to wait to my fabric sampling arrived but now I have designed and written all the quilt patterns that I want to make using my new fabric before it even arrives! The time is so short from the fabric arriving to Quilt Market. so you have to be organised!



What drew you to designing fabric and quilts? Tell us a bit more about your history.

It was my Mum that introduced me to quilts. She was making them in the early 80’s and I always helped. This was before rotary cutters so I helped her trace and cut out (by scissors) all her pieces for her quilts. I also helped her choose colours from a very early age whether she wanted me to or not. I made my first patchwork cushion when I was nine and my first quilt when I was a teenager. Quilt making has been in my blood for a very long time!

This lead to me studying Textile design at RMIT. My love of fabric and colour became my obsession. I loved my course and knew that designing fabric was in my future. I worked as a textile designer before opening my shop, Ballarat Patchwork


How did you get your start in fabric and textile design?  Tell us the story of how you designed your first range and got it picked up by Ella Blue.

I was very lucky. Ella Blue knew I had designed a range and they were interested in seeing what I had done. They loved it and the rest is history. Ella Blue is a fabulous company to work for, they allow my a huge amount of creative freedom and trust that I know what I am doing! So lucky. I am now up to my 7th range which will be released at Houston Quilt Market at the end of October this year.


What is your design process like? Any tips for people who are interested in doing something similar?

I have been very lucky that opportunities have come my way. That’s not to say I haven’t worked my butt off, but I love what I do so I feel very blessed. If you are interested in pursuing a career in patchwork and fabric design, be prepared for lots of hard work but heaps of satisfaction.


What is your proudest moment?

It would have to be seeing my book in hard copy for the first time. I was jet lagged, exhausted from assembling Ikea furniture but when Susanne but my book into my hands I was ecstatic! Seeing all my quilts, instructions and amazing photography by Jade from Mojo Photography made all the hard work worth it!



Raindrops pattern from the gorgeous By The Bundle book


You’re becoming a regular feature at quilt market in the US.  How would you describe the experience?

It’s an amazing, heart pumping, inspiring yet exhausting time. You hit the ground running from the time your flight lands until the day you pack up and get to fly home. It’s all work but we also get to have a fun time with other amazing creative people that are in the industry. I always come home inspired and energized (once the jet lag wears off) and can’t wait to get back into designing and making quilts.



What’s your current personal sewing focus?

My main focus is to just make quilts. That is my main focus, I love the process from designing to piecing and then onto quilting and binding. Seeing my visions in my head come to finished quilts makes me extremely happy.



Matilda by Emma Jean Jansen



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