If mixing prints sounds hard, this episode is for you. We learn pro strategies for mixing & matching prints from fabric designer + print artist, Bari J. She shares expert insight for styling floral patterns in your space and gives insight into how she develops fabric lines that look cohesive — including how you can steal her approach to get it right in your space.
She also shares all about the curated maximalist style, and why being a maximalist doesn't mean having more things + why the style might be right for you.
what i'm loving this week
hang-folding your sweaters — This is the secret to getting your sweaters to stay on the hanger and not get stretched out hanging in your closet.
You fold your sweater in half, put the hook of the hanger in the armpit, then wrap both sides of the sweater — the bottom and the arms — around the hanger.
Click the link above to check out the full post for more details + photos to help show you how.
stuff we just need to talk about
halloween costumes are for fending off ghosts?!
Halloween costumes were originally part of the Celtic festival of Samhain. Costumes were worn as a disguise from ghosts — people thought they worked as a disguise so that ghosts would think the people were fellow spirits.
ARTICLE: Why do we wear halloween costumes?
I feel like Halloween is either a love or hate holiday — I'm not the biggest fan of halloween, but my daughter sure is.
She was super convinced she was getting broccoli in her bucket and extremely disappointed when she received toys and candy instead. Watch the full shenanigans unfold via this video:
let's talk about it!
Did you know this!? Any other fun Halloween facts or opinions about the holiday?
Leave a comment below or use #MakeSpacePodcast to share your response on social media
Bari J. Ackerman is the artist and designer behind the lifestyle brand, Bari J. Well known for her decade long career in textile design, Bari’s floral hand-painted artwork can now be found on everything from fabric to rugs, wallpaper, home decor, stationery, tech cases and more. Bari is the author of a 2011 sewing book and her debut decor book, Bloom Wild, with Abrams Books is due out March 2020. Bari’s work is in fabric shops worldwide and products can also be found in shops such as Anthropologie, Grandin Road, and Wayfair to name a few.
get in touch
things to check out:
let's talk about it!
make space hotline: 720.319.7438
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EP 18 TRANSCRIPT
...just in case you wanna read
Cara Newhart: 00:00 [singing] This is The Voice. [laughs] No, I'm kidding. This is the Make Space Podcast. Episode number 18
INTRO: 00:24 Hey, welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces you truly feel at home. In Cara Newhart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pin-worthy rooms. To tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design, tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiast behind Never Skip Brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like people style watch and Denver style magazine as an influencer, Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon,H and M, Twitter and Thrillist. Here's your host, Cara Newhart.
Cara Newhart: 01:23 Hello, it's Cara and happy Wednesday! I hope that your Wednesday is warmer than mine. I'm in Denver and we are on our second round of snow storms. They started like on Sunday and it is now Tuesday and we had another one blow in and this one's like dropping way more snow. Snow in Denver is really funny cause it's such like a mixing pot of people. You have everyone like from the South like me that it's like if there's going to be a dusting, even if you can still see the grass, we are running to the store and we are grabbing all the bread and we are like hunkering down and planning not to leave our houses. And then they have friends from like Chicago and the North East that are just like, this is not real winter. Like it's pretty, it's still sunny. You can definitely drive.
Cara Newhart: 02:11 The snow will just melt. So listening to everyone's reaction to the weather is usually pretty entertaining. Um, what's not entertaining is the driving situation cause some people really know what they're doing and other people just don't that anyway. Just a casual little weather chat to get us started today I guess cause I guess we're doing small talk now. Um, so I have like decided to change up the format of the episode a little bit and I want to like open with um, the two segments. Hashtag obsessed and wait what? Because they're usually like a little bit shorter and kind of fun. And so I want to like start with that and then give you the meaty interview at the end. Um, cause I feel like that's just an easier way to listen to it than like doing a whole long interview and then listening to me share my favorite things. So let's talk about those two segments cause I have some fun things to share and then we'll dive into this interview with Barry J. who is a super amazing artist and has a ton of good advice as all I feel like I said that about every guest, but it's true. They all have like different perspectives that are awesome. Okay.
#OBSESSED: 03:24 [segment intro] Hashtag, obsessed.
Cara Newhart: 03:30 So what I'm really obsessed with this week is the rock the block series from HGTV. Um, I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this because I talked so much about it already. And, um, you can go back and listen to episode number 17 with HGTV designer, Leanne Ford. Cause we talk all about this series then. But I'm just loving that because I feel like it's a good weekly dose of like my four favorite designers all in one show and I get to see them style, the exact same house but totally different. So it's a really good way to like, I dunno, see people explore style and see like different things you can do with the same space. Um, so I'm really loving that but the thing that I had planned to share with you today that I'm obsessed with is like, I don't know, I feel like this is the mommy iest thing ever.
Cara Newhart: 04:21 But here we go. It is a way to hang your sweaters so they don't get stretched out. Um, with all this snow I've been, you know, obviously digging out all of my winter sweaters and there is nothing more annoying than a sweater that won't stay on the hanger and just keeps falling off. Part of it's probably my fault cause I cut off those little like close hanger loops. What are they even called? I don't know, but I always get them off cause they're always in the way and like falling out. And then even if you get it to hang up, like some sweaters get like a big indent in the shoulders from the hangar and they get stretched out. So um, to be honest, I'm lucky like if my sweaters make it onto a hangar at all. So really like them getting stretched isn't my main problem in life.
Cara Newhart: 05:06 It's more of like an organization struggle. But this is a really good tip and I feel like you guys are gonna like it. Um, a link, the whole article because it has photos, which if you're like me, you really will need photos to understand how this is working. But basically you're folding the sweater in half, like totally and half lining up the arms and then you put the like loop of your hanger kind of under the armpit and then you're wrapping like the sweater around on one side, like a hug and then the arm of the sweater around on the other side. So it's kind of like draped and folded over the hanger. Um, some of you just totally got that and some of you are like, what? So I will link it in the show notes and I'll put pictures, but it's really awesome because it like stays on the hanger good.
Cara Newhart: 05:52 It's not stretching, it's not falling off. And um, this is like the best I've seen it cause I've tried to do the thing where you like folded over the bottom part of the hangar, but then there's nothing around the top hanger area. So it's like hard to find and it's chunky and they don't hang well. But anyway, this is, this is hilarious you guys that I'm excited about like a sweater folding trick because I can barely get myself to do the laundry. Like literally sometimes I'm like, maybe I should just throw it away because I don't want to mess with it. But it's a really good tip. Now that winter's coming up now that it's apparently snow time, um, at least here in Denver. So go check that out in the show notes because it was a savior winter and it will, yeah, save your wardrobe, give you more closet space and help you get organized if that's something you're aiming for in life.
WHAT WHAT: 06:44 [segment intro] wait, what?
Cara Newhart: 06:58 The whole point of costumes is to ward off ghosts. So I'm just hitting you with the fun Halloween facts this week because it's Halloween soon. Um, I guess I'm going to be trick or treating in a foot of snow, but, but maybe yours will turn out better. So this is interesting because I learned a fun fact that Halloween that it actually originated with a Celtic festival. Celtic, it's Celtic, right? Yeah. Um, and people would like light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off ghosts. Uh, basically they thought if they dressed up they would outsmart the ghost and the ghost would think they were like fellow spirits instead of people. Um, that's, that's all I know folks about that. But I just think that it's interesting because I always did wonder why we were dressing up. Um, I'm not the biggest fan of Halloween. I know that's a very polarizing opinion.
Cara Newhart: 07:50 Like, but I feel like you either love Halloween or you don't like it. Like my three-year-old is obsessed, like so obsessed every day on the way to school. She keeps telling me, mom, we need to decorate our house for Halloween. She has two costumes just to have options cause a girl needs options, you know? Um, but she, she went drunk or treating at her school and she for some reason thought she was going to be getting broccoli in her bucket. I don't know who told her this or where she got it from, but on the way, I'm like doing a little interview on my Instagram stories and I'm like, what are you getting in your bucket? And she's like broccoli. And I'm like, okay, whatever. Like you're going to candy and you're going to be like, man, this is better than broccoli. I'm so excited. No, she got like treats and candy and literally was crying at the end and she was like, I wanted to get broccoli.
Cara Newhart: 08:41 So I don't know how I got this angel baby that like wants veggies for Halloween, but here we are. Anyway, all that to say. I want to know what you guys think about this fun fact of like wearing costumes. Do you have anything to add to the, um, do you know more than I do and are you a Halloween lover? Could you care less? Are you more about Christmas, which is me to connect and give me feedback about both these topics. You can either follow on Twitter at make space pod and use hashtag MakeSpace podcast to share your thoughts or like at me I guess is what we do on Twitter. You guys, I'm not very great at Twitter but I'm really enjoying it recently because I started one just for the podcast and now I'm kind of on board. Like it's how I get all my news when I was getting it from Facebook previously, which is now hilarious because I'm realizing Twitter knows some stuff.
Cara Newhart: 09:35 Facebook is like, I dunno, Facebook is kinda trash. Anyway, um, follow on Twitter because I'm being really active and really responsive, really proud of myself for that. Or you can email [email protected] or there's like a whole phone number. Hang on. I have to pull it up because I don't actually know the number. Okay, I got it. If you're not ready, just hit pause. But the number to call in is (720) 319-7438 and you can just call, you'll wait for it to ring because I will not answer and you can leave a voicemail after the beep. And if I choose to answer your question on the show, I will play it and you can be super famous on a podcast. Just remember to leave your name. Um, and any other info if you want me to email you back or something, make sure to leave all that. Um, cause that's something I always forget in voicemails. I'm like, hi, I need this by, and I like forget to say who I was anyway. To summarize Twitter, email or calling in are your options to get ahold of me. Ask your questions and share your feedback. Cause I want to know what you guys think.
MUSIC: 10:51 [music plays].
Cara Newhart: 11:01 Okay, now it's finally time to dive into this interview. So today I sit down with Barry J Ackerman, who is an amazing artist and designer behind the lifestyle brand. Barry J. She is well known for her decade long career in textile design. Um, and her floral and hand printed artwork can now be found on everything from fabric to rugs to wallpaper to home decor, even like stationary and foam cases.
Cara Newhart: 11:30 Literally Lucy Hale was just casually using a phone case with their artwork on it. Um, so she wrote a sewing book back in 2011 when I was literally graduating high school, I guess why that year sticks out to me. Um, and now she has a debut decor book called bloom wild that is coming out March, 2020. It's gonna be very, very incredible if you like floral style at all. Um, this is totally it like just rich prints and like fun colors and it's like earthy, but like not too earthy. Um, so yeah, I'm super excited for her book launching in the spring. Um, but you can find her work now in fabric shops worldwide. Like she literally has fabrics that she's designed the print four, which just blows my mind. Um, and products that can be found in shops like anthropology, Grandin road and Wayfair just to name a few.
Cara Newhart: 12:29 So this is a super great episode just diving in about like florals and patterns because she's clearly like an expert. But what I really also like about this interview is the fact that she's just super inspirational as a human. Like she is just a creative person through and through. She basically just declared herself an artist and became an artist. Like she didn't really go to school for this. She just like is a really good example of just kind of following your path and following your passions and like letting it see where it takes you. Um, the other thing I love about this interview is she talks a lot about, um, what she calls curated maximalism, which is like totally her style. This is really interesting because it's like not what I thought it was. So in my head, like minimalism was just like don't have a lot of things.
Cara Newhart: 13:20 And maximalism was like, you can have a lot of things. Um, but it's, it's a lot more artful and intentional than that. And it was really refreshing because I personally was like, well, I know minimalism isn't for me because I can't live with only five things. I need all the ideas in my head like outward, I can see them in the form of objects, which is why my house is a wreck and I'm a borderline hoarder. No, it's not that bad. But, um, it was a really good perspective cause it was like minimalisms having a moment, but it doesn't have to be for everyone. And it doesn't mean that you can't live a life that's like free of the shackles of having too many things. Like there's a, there's a more intentional way to be a maximalist than just like it meaning that you like want to have a ton of things in your house. So, um, she explains that way more elegantly than me, but I just wanted to like point out my favorite parts of the episode so you can be sure to listen for them because I think they're like the biggest takeaways. So without further ado, let's dive in and talk to Barry.
Bari J. : 14:28 Hello.
Cara Newhart: 14:29 Hello!How are you?
Bari J. : 14:31 How are you?
Cara Newhart: 14:32 Very, very good. I'm very excited to have you on because I'm in love with florals and your whole aesthetic is just, Oh my gosh. It's so, so good. Oh, thank you so much. Of course. So, um, I also really, really love your story, especially like the way that you didn't call yourself an artist at
Cara Newhart: 14:51 first, but you kind of found your way to art. Um, can you tell us a little bit about your journey in becoming an artist and what your path has looked like?
Bari J. : 15:02 Oh, wow. It's been a jagged path for sure. Um, so I did not grow up being interested in art. I mean, I guess I was interested, but I didn't think it was something that I could do. Um, and so I just, I was never really involved in it except that when I, um, started my career, I was in advertising. And so I had, I was a copywriter really, but I was at a real estate company and they didn't have a full, like graphic design team. And so just by default I had learned some graphic design and I had always loved interiors. Um, and so I had always, I had, I had probably wanted to do those kinds of things as a kid, but just didn't, it didn't occur to me that that was something that I could do.
Bari J. : 15:53 And I was good at theater. So I was doing that and started in that in college and then ended up in advertising outside of college. And then, um, had kids. And once the, um, you know, once they were a little bit older, I was kind of bored and at home and I was still wanted to be at home with them, but I, so I didn't mind having, you know, a full time job or I had to go downtown and all of that kind of stuff. So I literally just started making things out of the house and I was selling like, um, collage art and jewelry from found objects to stores locally. And then I started sewing and I was making these handbags and I started selling them to stores around the area and then online on my own website. And, um, on air bags.com they have an independent designer program.
Bari J. : 16:44 And at some point it was like 2005 or so, I'm not sure when Etsy opened, but at some point as Etsy opened and the market suddenly became flooded with all these handmade handbags, various people, and everybody was using the same fabrics. And so I thought, well, maybe I can design my own fabric in order to differentiate myself thinking like, Oh, I have this graphics design background. I could probably do like reproduction types of fabrics and stuff like that. And so I, um, I thought I decided I was gonna do that, but I wasn't really sure how. Um, so with the graphic design stuff, I knew Photoshop really well, so I got, um, what's called the graphics tablet. Um, and I just started drawing on it into Photoshop and it really took like about a year or so when I had figured out how to make repeats and how to, um, you know, how to do it.
Bari J. : 17:42 And all of a sudden I was like, Whoa, I, I have something that I, I liked here. And so I, I thought, okay, well now how do I get this on to fabric all that point, Spoonflower head open. This was now, this was now 2008. [inaudible] and Spoonflower had just opened, they were in beta testing and I got the fabric printed. And then, um, I didn't want to be selling the fabric on my own. I wanted to have, um, another company manufacture it. So I went to a trade show where a lot of, um, fabric manufacturers would be. And I got appointments with, um, with some manufacturers and ended up licensing the, um, art on fabric. And then I didn't want to use it for handbags anymore than like, Oh, like a lot of other people are going to use this fabric and then the, some home sewing industry. And so it just took off from there. And at that point I knew that I wanted to have my art on lots of products, especially products for the hall. Yeah. One of my [inaudible]
Cara Newhart: 18:49 my really favorite parts about your story is first of all, I think it's very encouraging for anyone who's feeling stuck, especially as a mom, maybe with young kids or just staying home and feeling like, Oh man, like maybe, maybe this isn't what I wanted to do. You know, even though I thought I did — which was totally my story — but also just the fact that I feel like there was a lot of opportunities that, because you were just so open, like you really did follow, um, you know, like you explored things and you, you left space to kind of like follow where things led you. Um, I know one of the things that you like to share when it comes to your journey is that you should follow your curiosity. Um, can you give listeners like a better picture of what that means?
Bari J. : 19:35 Yeah, I can. Um, so I think what happened with me was that I was super, super open to whatever the possibilities would be. Yeah. And, um, I wasn't tied into I'm going to make this fabric and it's going to be for handbags and then I'm going to be selling handbags and I'm going to be the next Kate spade. Yeah. Like I wasn't really completely tied into it and I was very curious about the, um, the possibility of creating art. And, and so I think when we keep ourselves open and we follow the things that we're curious about, we just don't know where they're going to lead us. And for me, eventually it led into painting and to, um, licensing art for other things and doing so many different things that I never imagined possible. Like, I mean, if you knew me back in my twenties, you would never have said that this is what I'd be doing ever.
Bari J. : 20:33 Um, and so I think that when we leave ourselves open and we follow that path without judging it along the way that we can, we can do some really great things. I think the problem is that we end up, a lot of us, we, um, we have this and we don't veer from the course because it feels like a failure every time we veer from the course. Yeah. So instead of feeling like that to failure, I think I felt like it was an opportunity every time I failed and I did, I failed a lot. Not a lot. So,
Cara Newhart: 21:06 but it's all learning. That's, that's really good insight to just kind of like, yeah, stay open to the journey and don't get like pigeonholed into what you think the path is going to look like because then, I mean, doors are open that you never even planned and it's like way better than what you had planned. I feel like
Bari J. : 21:23 absolutely. It's so much better than what I had planned. If I say that, if I had followed my, you don't have, they say follow your bliss. Yeah. Yeah. If I had a followed my list, like I be an actress, I'd be doing Broadway stuff. Yeah. I mean like I would have like adamantly adhered to that first vision because that was what gave me bliss. But not knowing that there were other things that would make me happiest.
Cara Newhart: 21:49 Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh. So cool. So not having like an official background, I guess you could say in art. Um, what drew you to like florals in terms of your work and getting started as an artist?
Bari J. : 22:03 I think that just has to do with childhood. Honestly. My mom really liked floral. She had um, like Rose chins, China and the um, staircase in our house had like this incredible like botanical, runner with like little, they had like rectangles and inside each rectangle was a different flower with a flower name on it. It was very Victorian looking. And um, so I was just drawn to the kinds of things that I think I saw over and over as a little girl. I sat next to my mom when she was doing a really big needle point that was this, but like a, like a Ruby colored background and all these jewel-toned flowers in a brass urn and she, they still have it over their bed. It was an enormous piece. And I just sat next to her watching her do this for such a long time. So I think the florals came from her and the handicrafts came from her and that kind of stuff too. Yeah. That's so cool. She's an artist. She painted um, laurels and people, but she's kind of, she say she's the kind of artist that can literally draw and paint anything that she sees. She doesn't, she doesn't currently paint it or do stuff. I don't know why, but, um, but yeah, so I think I saw a lot of it from my mom.
Cara Newhart: 23:18 Yeah, I love that. So much. So in terms of like, why you love them for decorating your home, um, where do you like find the inspiration? Like in terms of thinking up like a pattern and then, you know, translating that to like a space or a piece of fabric? Really. First
Bari J. : 23:35 I kind of, I tend to think of like, well, what would I, what would I want in my own home? And, um, I also, I do the same thing. I follow curiosity in order to create collections. So I'll start drawing and I'll sort of have maybe like a, a theme in mind, although I don't do things that are like really seem theme oriented. Um, but um, so I'll start with some sort of theme and I'll just start drawing and see where that leads me. And I think that that again is the same kind of attitude as I have about the broader journey. I have that within the journey of creating.
Cara Newhart: 24:15 Yeah, I love that so much. So in terms of fabrics, I think like when the everyday girl goes to the store, we're kind of looking for like a color palette we like, or sometimes a fabric just hits you like you like it or you don't. Um, is there anything like from a fabric designers perspective that we should be looking forward to know that? Like it's a good fabric, let's say home decor, like for pillows or upholstery type stuff?
Bari J. : 24:42 Um, in the way of the design or?, Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 24:45 Yeah, I think more design at first versus like title.
Bari J. : 24:47 Yeah, I mean, I think what I always say is I'm for mixing and matching fabrics. Yeah. So I always look for things that, so if I start with a large floral for my like main pillow, I'll look for like a smaller floral that can be maybe the, maybe a ruffle on it or you know, the welting or, or have a smaller polo that has a smaller floral so that I've got things that contrast but then they'll have colors in common or a sheep in common or something like that. And I always think a geometric added in as well. So I think contrast plus, um, there's like a mosquito. I'm sorry. Um, so, um, contrast plus something in common makes a really good match when you're coming up with what to mix and match with your fabrics in your home.
Cara Newhart: 25:40 So then just some more tips for like styling of floral print in your home. Is there anything like in the surrounding area you need to pay attention to? Like basically to get like a sophisticated look versus just like I love it and I mixed it cause I love it kind of thing.
Bari J. : 25:55 I mean, yeah. And I always say like, buy what you love and it's going to work out. And I think that that's true. However, I do like there are some caveats, like if you have like four large florals in a room, it's probably going to be a little, maybe not necessarily a little much. Cause I'm, I'm definitely a maximalist. It's not gonna work as well as if you had a couple large ones, a couple small ones, maybe the geometric thrown in so that maybe the art on the wall, if that's like one big vase than having, you know, patterns that are repeats is good in a room. But if you have like, um, I mean I wouldn't do the repeats on the wall and the repeats on the floor and so I would make sure that everything mix mixes and matches and contrasts. Yeah. So I, for me like maybe a, um, a figural on the wall when you've got like a floral rug or something like that.
Cara Newhart: 26:50 So basically like a balance of mixing and matching. Like not too much mixing, not too much matching is the secret
Bari J. : 26:57 yeah. I like when things don't match. And I think that that's, I think that's the main thing is when they don't match, I think that that's what's great is when you keep bringing me in the same patterns over and over, then it, then it ends up being a mishmash. Yeah. That's how I feel about it. So contrast, contrast is the big thing. Contrast and then finding something in common like a color or a theme or a shape or something like that.
Cara Newhart: 27:25 I like that cause a lot of people do just think like colors should be in common and if you're in the same palette, but thinking outside of that with like shapes and different things that can kind of tie together, it's really good. Yeah. So, um, minimalism has kind of been having an a moment and I know there are listeners who are just like me that just know it is not for them. Like there's no way I could be a minimalist. Um, feels too boring. But you totally have an aesthetic that is amazing. Can you share a little bit about what curated maximalism is and what it could look like in your space?
Bari J. : 28:00 So yeah, I tend to go with things that are pretty basic base. Even though you wouldn't say like a pink couch is a basic thing. I can't tend to go with things that are like pretty streamlined, clean, clean lines. I keep a lot of my walls white. Um, I feel like a lot of that mid century minimal design is absolutely beautiful with patterns on top of it and colors. And I think that when you start with that like really kind of basic base, you can do almost anything on top of it. So that's what I think is about curated maximalism cause I don't tend to like, um, a lot of stuff. Right. A lot of different, I mean just chotchkies and things like that. So when I think of maximalism, a lot of people think it has to do with stuff and it's not really, in my opinion, it's about layering and mixing and matching patterns in color beautifully so that, you know, is things that you enjoy. So I don't think it's necessarily about how much is there. But, um, and also when you have that very basic base instead of something maybe more elaborate or um, ornate, then you can really do anything.
Cara Newhart: 29:16 Yeah. That's really interesting cause I feel like minimalism is so popular because people are getting sick of having too much stuff. Like getting sick of [inaudible]. Yeah. But, but I like what you said about how it's not about stuff. It's almost like a visual visual weight of things like the busy-ness or the interest we're going maximalists but it's not like we're packing our homes full of more things. Yeah. No
Bari J. : 29:42 I man I don't know about you, but I loved watching that show quarters. Yeah. Oh my God. Because I liked it. I liked seeing them get rid of all this stuff. I just really never have been one that's been about chotchkies and filling my walls. Like with gallery. I like a gallery while when it's done beautifully, but I'm not wanting to just fill a wall to fill a wall.
Cara Newhart: 30:02 Yeah. I think that's really encouraging for maybe someone who's looking to find her style and she knows like minimalism isn't for her but, but like how do you achieve that look of like very, very interesting and full of personality and vibrant with like fewer items. And I feel like fun prints are maybe the answer.
Bari J. : 30:22 I think fine prints are the answer but I'm maybe a little biased and you know, I'm do, I'm doing my master bedroom for the one room challenge right now and I think it's kind of going to be a really good example of curated maximalism because everything in the room is pretty streamlined and the patterns are contained to certain areas. In fact, the major amount of pattern is going to be on the ceiling. So I think it's going to be an interesting kind of like study for me and really cure curating that maximalists look.
Cara Newhart: 30:54 That's awesome. So kind of about your design style when you're diving into like doing a whole space versus like creating a print. Um, do you start with a pattern you love and like work from there or,
Bari J. : 31:07 I tend to, I tend to start with the pattern. Yeah. And the, and maybe a color. So like the bed was chosen foe first for this room and it was um, it's a deep green velvet so that kind of fed into the rest of it. And I also kinda look around the rest of my home and it's a lot of greens and a lot of pinks and so I'm kinda keeping with what I have going around there in the rest of the house. Yeah, that's so, so yeah, the color palette and maybe starting with one statement piece that is just like the focal of the whole thing.
Cara Newhart: 31:41 Right. Yeah, that's a good tip. So kind of moving from like starting out designing fabrics to now, obviously there's a lot of different products, like I know there's phone cases with some of your work on it and all different things. How did you move from fabric to then like licensing and other products?
Bari J. : 32:00 So it really took a really long time. Um, it, it took a long time to develop a style that was truly my own. I think I was always with the florals, but it wasn't until I started painting that it really became pronounced what my, what my, my aesthetic was very painterly and colorful and the florals are definitely a central theme. Um, and so in developing the style, I think that's, that's how I ended up transitioning into doing more art, um, for, for licensing and people should, people probably don't know exactly what art licensing is. So I'm going to give you a quick overview. So, um, basically I licensed my art to companies that then manufacture products and they pay me royalties. Okay. So that's, that's the basic gist of it. So I still own the art and they get to use it for a certain period of time in a certain category.
Bari J. : 32:58 Yeah. So like I could license something for rug that would still be, I can still use on a fabric. Right, right. That's so cool. So, yeah. So eventually I just, I mean, I contacted companies, I went to trade shows, um, and I just over time gathered those licenses and it, I always say it takes like a critical mass in art licensing to be able to really be making a living in it. So you've got to have those multiple streams, whether you're like a speaker or you're doing teaching. Are you doing auths of other things to have multiple streams of income if you're planning on doing art license?
Cara Newhart: 33:35 Yeah. So interesting. So if someone wanted to go out and like buy a product with your art on it, where, where would they find it? Like where have your products been sold?
Bari J. : 33:45 So, um, Anthropologie has the rugs, um, a company called Lola and they're all over the country. Um, they're uh, um, grinding road there, rugs.com, but there are a bunch of different online places in minute anthropology as well. And then, um, a while paper you can find out while Turnitin that com and murals at murals your way. Um, there's lots of paper stuff that's out there that you find a various stores. So yeah. Th the fabric is found in quilt shops or small independent fabric shops all over the world. I mean it's really cold wide. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 34:27 That's so, so cool. So, um, other exciting news is that you're writing a book which comes out spring of 2020.
Bari J. : 34:34 Is that right? Yes. So March, 2020 book called Bloom Wild will be out and it's with Abrams publishing, Abrams, Abrams books, and um, uh, it's a really fun book. It's about mixing and matching florals in your home and how to do that. And it gives lots of examples of rows throughout your home. And um, it starts out with actually like the basics of how I come up with a fabric line and what I include in that, on know how to put all those things together.
Cara Newhart: 35:05 Oh my gosh, that's so exciting. What is the process of writing been like? Cause I know it's so much more involved than just like sitting behind a laptop and writing. There's a lot of styling and photography and
Bari J. : 35:17 yeah. So this has been really, um, it's been a really amazing trip for me because the first book that I did was a sewing book. And you know, what I did was I created the projects and I wrote the instructions and I, you know, you know, some descriptions and then photographers came and shot everything at my house and that, and it was done right. This was, I mean, like I had, so it's mainly in my house and then a little bit in my sister's house. And so, um, I had to style all the spaces and debt, you know, decorate all the spaces. And then I was, I was writing tidbits as I went along. And so I had this like basic outline of what, what the book was going to be, but once you shoot everything, things changed so much. So the photographer for the book was Carly page summers.
Bari J. : 36:06 She and my friend Sarah Ellinger helped me style the book as well. And so we did what we do a four day shoot. Oh my goodness. I do not, I do not recommend, but I'll sit and you needed to be like at least six. And so we were very, it was very, very hard to get it all in. And I did do a couple of little reshoots, but really mostly everything turns out I some miracle. And because my friend Sarah like really kept Harley in line carrot, Carly and I in line apparently I was like making sure things got done. So, um, so what happens? So we did the 4-day shoot and after all the photography came back, then I matched up what I had written and wrote more. And then that's how the manuscript got put together. So it was really, really, really fun. Um, definitely give yourself more shooting time all in one place.
Bari J. : 37:03 Like we'll be able to do that no problem in four days. Um, you know, but it really turns out so gorgeous. And Carla is such a wonderful photographer and Sarah is an incredible stylist and I learned so much from them. I mean, I, I thought, you know, I'm pretty darn good at styling. I can do this. And when you see people that have been on professional photo shoots over and over and over there and style things, they really do it in a way that is just, you just, you just learn a lot from watching. It's kind of amazing. Yeah. That's so because your eye in a person sees one thing in your eye, in a photos, totally different. Yeah. Like the room could look great in person and then not shoot well, which, yeah. Yeah. And yeah, and that is like another thing that I learned like at, for the next book, quote unquote.
Bari J. : 37:57 Um, I definitely hope to do another one. Um, I think that I'll have a better eye for what's going to shoot well. Mm. Yeah, for sure. So what's like your mission for the book in terms of just like kind of teaching everyone how to feel confident styling florals and kind of mixing them and yeah, I mean my, my main goal for the book is that people learn that to not be afraid of mixing and matching various patterns. I see people take one pattern and use that like throughout the entire realm and they don't put in any other patterns with it. And I'm like, Oh man, it's such an opportunity to see people be a little bit more brave with their, um, with the patterns that they use and, and be able to um, just not fear it. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 38:50 And that's something I feel like you're just in such a great position to teach cause I think it's one thing being a designer and knowing like what patterns work well together, but a whole like an interior designer but then a whole 'nother thing being a fabric designer and actually having a designed collections that are intended to work together. Um, and I know you have a lot of different collections, so can you kind of speak to the process of designing a collection like more big picture versus each individual print, how you make sure they work together and are kind of created to be cohesive?
Bari J. : 39:24 Yes. So one of the things that I learned was that um, cohesion also means contrast. And I say this over and over and over again. So when you don't want to look at a stack of fabrics and they all look lovely and they have the same kinds of colors and they look, they're, you know, they're very pretty. But when you go to put them together in a dress, in a, um, on, on a couch, on a pillow or whatever it is, they, if they don't contrast, it just looks like a blur I learned was to use various techniques for creating, so one printer might be painted and that their prints might be very digital or like a stamped kind of loved one floral. And then other print would be maybe a Stripe or a geometric. And so things, so when they contrast, but again, everything has that through line of either a color or a shape. So that makes it all match together. But what makes it dynamic is the key isn't the contrast.
Cara Newhart: 40:27 Yeah. That is so interesting because for someone that doesn't want like a really wide color palette with like a ton of colors, like super rainbowy, you can still have that dynamic feel in that like interest without using a ton of crazy colors. So
Bari J. : 40:42 yeah, with the, you know, altering the scale or something. It just makes things top. Yeah. Yeah.
Cara Newhart: 40:51 Right. Like all the same. Um, are there any design situations for home decor where scale of pattern like really matters?
Bari J. : 41:01 Oh, for, for walking for I found out the hard way. I printed something myself. Um, for, for my home, I actually was for the book and I printed it and I was like, Oh Lord, it was so small and had such a graphic feel to it that all you saw was these like shapes popping out of you didn't really see the floral and the design. So, but that design blown up worked beautifully. Yeah. So you have to be really careful what you're gonna put things on. I think home decor definitely needs a larger scale, a lot of things. And, and for your contrast, not necessarily like for your wealth things and you know, middle trims and contrast fabrics, you can definitely go smaller, but you need bigger to be able to see it
Cara Newhart: 41:44 from further back. Further back. Yeah. And then is it kind of like in general, does a big room need bigger prints? And small rooms do like what's the role, cause I know that's like an old design role.
Bari J. : 41:58 Yeah, I don't, well I don't tend to adhere to rules but yeah, but like chintzy I mean we use those little teeny chances like all over walls. But I think the difference between using that little small chance on what I had done was that it had elements that were graphic and florals in it. And so it was just, you have to be careful about what you're doing with that kind of thing. But like a little chins where it's so beautifully on a wall. And I, you know, I remember when everybody was doing and now I have started doing again, you know, that help Hilary Vanderbilt look where she did the pattern on top of the pod on the same pattern and it was like the 80s
Cara Newhart: 42:39 a lot. It's back from the 80s yeah. Everything's back now. I just think, you know, don't follow rules. Yes, my rules don't follow rules. I love it. Yeah. Well that's just, I know like a lot of people in terms of like the everyday girl, she's going out and she's trying to learn about design and style her home. There's probably a lot of rules that she's been told that she's just assuming like you have to stick to and you, yeah, I mean you totally don't, but I think like rules like, um,
Bari J. : 43:10 how far the coffee table is from the couch. Yeah. Boston's a practical role. Like I'm like, yeah, I'm like, yeah, okay, it's 12 inches. You can put your drink down. But other rules I really don't pay too much attention to. I mean even like I was reading about like what size your chandelier should be in, in comparison to your dining room table. And I was like, Oh yeah, that's what I picked out. It's not going to work. And I was all worried about it. It's oversized. And when we got it in I was like, it totally works like that. Pay attention to a lot of that stuff. Like go, my gut was, this is gonna work
Cara Newhart: 43:45 [inaudible] but I was worried because I'd read this rule. Yeah. And that's a good example because like it is oversize but it's a look. And if you want that to be a statement than oversize is perfect. Like that was absolutely thing to do to do. So it's really good guidance. Um, so a theme on the podcast recently has been this idea that the key to creating a home you're in love with is to yeah, skip those rules and basically fill your home with things you absolutely love. But um, I know that's like your number one role is to buy what you love, but taking that a level deeper, once we've filled our home with things we love, how can we like, refine and redefine them to keep things feeling fresh and keep us from being overwhelmed by like too many things.
Bari J. : 44:32 I tend to, um, why not? I have for myself the one thing in two things out and that's because I've been married 25 years and I know that like there have been things that were not eliminated years ago. So like there's just too much stuff. I, I will go through a room and I'll clear the entire thing once. Like if we've got, I feel like there's just too much stuff going on, like too many chotchkies or too many pieces of furniture and all clear at least all the surfaces off and start over again and then really think about which things are meaningful to me and which things I really, really want to keep. That whole Marie Kondo thing like does it bring you, I mean I think people got a little crazy with the Marie Kondo thing, but yeah. But I do think that we need to have things around us that make us happy and if they don't, then why are they there?
Cara Newhart: 45:28 Yeah. That's a really interesting strategy though of clearing everything because some of it, sometimes it's just the fact that you've looked at it all this, it's been there for a while and you're just used to it. So really to get a fresh perspective, I think sometimes it does take, like
Bari J. : 45:42 sometimes like somebody will give you a gift or something and they'll get set on a credenza or I'll get set wherever and then it's there for six months and you're like, who put that there?
Cara Newhart: 45:53 Did I buy this? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So funny. That's, that's really good advice though, to keeping things fresh. Cause I think there is, there is a really good line between like embracing less stuff but also not like going without when it comes to design, like not feeling like you're living with bare bones or something that's on. Yeah. Yeah. In a museum. So true. Oh my goodness. My house is for sale now and I feel like I live in a museum like keeping it cool.
Bari J. : 46:21 You live in a museum when you're selling, don't you? Hard Ross.
Cara Newhart: 46:25 Yeah. Um, so is there any other like good insight you have for home decor for, um, just someone who's really interested in working for flow w with florals and, and mixing them but maybe doesn't know kind of where to start.
Bari J. : 46:40 Um, start with one piece that you love. Um, and also I would go into a fabric store, um, and either and like gather both up, be sure to put them back on your bolts and like with the, you know, put them on the cutting table and like move them around and see which things like float your boat for, ask for swatches of things that you love and put them in a little notebook and see and literally like played the card game of moving things around and see what makes your, your heart thing when you see the things together. And again, always with the, you know, contrasting scales and then, you know, bringing in the, um, a color or shape that goes with it.
Cara Newhart: 47:27 Yeah, I like that because I feel like part of the major part of the design process is that like trial and error and trying things out. And is there anything that like you can speak to in terms of something that you really thought was going to work, whether it's like designing a space or designing a print and then it totally didn't when you went to do it and you had to like adapt.
Bari J. : 47:51 Um, I'm sure there have been times when that has an example off the top of my head, but I think that the trial and error is so, so important. Um, one really good exercise that, um, I didn't intend as an exercise when I was first starting out. I was, um, I was making belts and they were patchwork belts. And so I had these four inch squares of fabric and I was just sewing, literally just sewing them all together. And I think what was happening was they would turn out so cute and I was just randomly picking fabrics to put together. But I think what happened was I was, um, number one, I'm always drawn to the same kinds of colors. So what, I'm put these things together, it would be like this kind of trial and error of putting it together, but it was very random and you're something about that random kind of patchwork thing that will make you start seeing which things are, um, coordinating together. And so, yeah, I think just kinda like it really that trial and error exercise. And I think that's a problem where people like they won't start because they're afraid and they think they have to be an expert at it right away. And you're not going, no, no, this is so just keep trying things. And I think it's great to get lots and lots of samples of fabrics and put them together and see what happens.
Cara Newhart: 49:18 I like that. Do you think the reason that works is because you're like letting yourself experiment versus like trying to impose how you think it's supposed to go?
Bari J. : 49:29 Yes, that is how I learned was experimenting. And I just highly recommend the recommend the experiment because I think that our brains, the little synapses kind of click together instead of trying to follow like how like, like she said, like how we think it's supposed to go or what the rules are. But when we start playing and really forgetting all of our adult rules, then we're learning. We're learning things.
Cara Newhart: 49:55 Yeah. And that's something really cool I think when it comes to our homes because you know, doing the adulting thing, a lot of the rest of our lives is super structured. And so I think our homes are like one of the few last places where we get to really play. Um, especially when it comes to physical stuff. So do you have any tips for like staying creative and trying to keep your home fresh instead of like, you know, pin worthy?
Bari J. : 50:24 Um, I, I mean I really just, I think it all goes back to that what you love thing and stop thinking so much. Like there we, we overthink everything and we want everything to be just so, and I think just so is where we, where we lose our way.
Cara Newhart: 50:40 Yeah. Um, and then so having not had like a very serious art background in terms of like, you didn't go to school or declare yourself an artist early on. Um, do you have any advice for someone who, I don't know, has artistic tendencies, but it's kinda scared to lean into that and like embrace themselves and call themselves an artist?
Bari J. : 51:00 Yeah. Um, I think first of all, we're all artists. Like we were all born creative. Every one of us was on, it's only the world around us and our experiences that have made us not artists. Um, and so I think that that, I think the thing that artists do is they play and they try not to like, you know, see what's on somebody else's page of what's going on and just, and just play, play, play and really dive in. And the other thing is that the day I started calling myself an artist, I believed it. Like I just, I wrote it in a blog post. Um, one day it was, I think it was like around, at the time we moved here, I think 2012 ish. I wrote it in a blog post that I'm, you know, today I'm an artist. I didn't think I was an artist yesterday, but today I am. And um, I think it's words, words just so matter in our lives. And we saying things and they become what they, you know, [inaudible] yeah, they didn't come up, we say.
Cara Newhart: 52:07 Yeah. So, so true. Wow. This is really jam packed with so much good stuff. It makes me want to just like, I don't know, add a bazillion more
Cara Newhart: 52:16 florals core cause I not have enough. Well thank you so much for your time and for sharing all this amazing advice. So, um, when your book launches, where will people be able to find it? Or where can we like is there you have a mailing list or somewhere people can get noticed?
Bari J. : 52:34 Sign up for my mailing list on my website. You get three screensavers with our every mom. Oh. And um, also when everything comes out, you'll be the first to know. You're always the first to know if I have a new art release or the fabric lines are out and when the book is out you'll be the first to know. But it will be in, you know, and on the bookstores and it's a major publisher. So it'll be anywhere where books are sold.
Cara Newhart: 52:59 Yes. Oh my gosh. So, so exciting. I cannot wait to grab a copy.
Bari J. : 53:04 Thank you for having me on. It's been fun.
Cara Newhart: 53:06 Of course. Oh my gosh. Thanks so much.
Bari J. : 53:08 Take care. You do have a good day.
Cara Newhart: 53:10 Bye [phone hangup sound]
Bari J. : 53:12 So I hope that you guys loved that conversation. I hope that it inspired you to get out, get making and give yourself permission to call yourself an artist. Even if you don't have formal training or you don't think that you're creative, um, you are, it's just something you have to tap into. If there's a specific part of this conversation that you really enjoyed or you have more questions for Barry, you can find her on social media at Barry J. um, just shoot her a message and let her know what parts of this helped you or what followup questions you have for her. Um, I would also love have you followed on Twitter and join the conversation by using #MakeSpacePodcast.
Cara Newhart: 53:54 You can follow me at make space pod on Twitter. And then if you want to leave questions, um, you can go to never skip brunch.com/talk and there's a ton of options between calling in. There's a little button you can click and leave a really fast voice memo or if you don't want to talk out loud, you can fill out the form. One more quick thing. If you're a blogger or a content creator in the home space, we're doing a really cool new thing called group chat episodes. Basically it'll be a topic every month and everyone's going to like weigh in on what they think about it. So if you want to be part of the group chat, just go to makespacepodcast.com/groupchat, all one word and you can get all of the details. So this is for anyone that's a content creator or expert in the home space.
Cara Newhart: 54:47 Um, this is just a really cool way to bring us together in here, like a lot of different opinions. Instead of just having one guest on the episode, we can feature a ton of different ideas. So I'm so pumped about these. Hopefully the first one is going to be November. Um, I already have a couple submissions in, so I think we're going to be talking about Thanksgiving tables and I cannot wait. So if that's something you're interested in, be sure to check that out. If you are new here and you liked this episode, hit that subscribe button so you don't miss the next episode. I have some more super, super amazing guests coming up. If you are already subscribed, I would love it so, so much. If you left a review or even just like scroll down in your Apple podcast app and give the podcast some stars, this helps other listeners find it and if you're enjoying it, um, there's a ton of people out there that will too. So I would love if you helped spread the word, whether that's through leaving and review and letting me know what you think or just sharing it with a friend at the office who you think might enjoy it as well. Okay, enough of all of that. I will talk to you guys next week. Thank you so much for listening.
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