Poppy Gall: a designer’s blog

poppy_gall_paletteSpeaking of blogs, courtesy of Seth (Textilesmithing) I found a new-to-me blog that I love called Poppy Gall. Originally a fine artist, she grew a company, sold it, became a freelance designer and then in 1998, co-founded another company called Isis.

I’m telling you, her site exemplifies the real world of a professional clothing designer. Or rather, she epitomizes what (I think) every service provider out there aspires to work with. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for somebody who has it this together.

For example, when she freelanced, she worked as a trend and color specialist  specifically for ski and outdoor sports (markets are that specialized). One of her sample palettes, a composition of flotsam and sea weed sown on a rocky beach is shown at right. However unfamiliar her name is to you (it was to me) her work speaks: she is a star.

In another entry -after a three week ski trip to Iceland- she documents pattern creation of Icelandic sweater design. This is what real designers do, what real designers find, analogies and holistic design patterns culled from the natural world. I’m not a designer; I never would have put the two together but she seems to do it effortlessly. Maybe it’s not effortless but the results seem as though it is. You may never see her line on a New York fashion runway but this is genius of another sort. Her work is a better representation of a successful, comfortable and sustainable -but not marque famous- design career.

I only have one criticism of the site, that being the lack of categories to sort entries. Although it will take some time for you to survey it fully, there are also entries relating to the technical side of producing a line that are similarly excellent guidance to all of you who aspire to make a rewarding life long career in this industry. I hope you enjoy this site as much as I have.

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  1. rob keller says:

    I was taught that same technique by my color theory teacher! Extracting the colors from any organic material is a great way to build a palette. Especially if you use a microscope. Rocks or even plain old dirt has a lot of interesting color ratios when its really close up. I dont think god plays dice with the universe, he paints it..
    That teacher was so special, our class had open access(almost) to The Interaction Of Color by Joseph Albers. With the original plates too! Such a rare book ,not on display, but as a working classroom aid. I tell everyone about that book. They reissued it and its on sale on ebay right now. Two volume set with color plates. mega.

  2. Thank you so much for introducing us to Poppy. How does she write such a full and creative blog while also doing her job, skiing everyday and making a beautiful garden? She’s an inspiration

  3. Faviola says:

    Oh Kathleen! i so love your blog, thank you for posting this, it really teaches you that there are other ways to se the world and give me a real reason to grab my camara not only cause your in vacation..

  4. Sarah says:

    Wow those beach photos and color matching pics are terrific. I bought an Isis rain jacket from REI a while back (perhaps in early 2000s?) and love the fit, it is still my only rain jacket. Some of the lining eventually started chipping away last year but I attributed that to my destructive wearing of it (I still wear it). I haven’t really thought about them since then, but thanks SO much for sharing that blog, it is beautiful!

  5. poppy says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I took your “criticism” to heart and have attempted to re-organize/categorize my blog content. It makes me realize that my subject matter is all over the place and that lots of topics overlap! Thanks for the housekeeping nudge and sending readers my way! Wish I’d know about YOUR blog years ago!

  6. Kathleen says:

    Wow, I don’t even know what to say. With that bit of housekeeping, I’m discovering even more content on your site that I love.

    Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea that you created categories… it has become a big time suck :). Love the recycled lawnmower, that’s ingenious. And I want that commuter bike from Vanilla Bikes!

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