Free Contemporary Designs for Fiber Art

Free Contemporary Designs for Fiber Art

My friend Deb Stika and I are working up a book proposal using Deb’s designs. These are contemporary designs that Deb has drawn and that we both thought would work really well as designs for various types of fiber art including hand stitching, machine stitching, wet felting, needle felting, screen printing, surface design, silk painting, mixed media and more. The designs are in 5 categories including psychedelic, circles, nature, tapestry and graphic. The plan is to have 5-10 designs in each category and to have examples that have been completed in each design in a variety of media. You could also use these designs to print out and color with colored pencils or pens. There does seem to be a new fad of “adult coloring” books and these designs would be fun to color.

When you are writing a book proposal, you as an author need to be able to show to the publisher that there is interest in that type of book and that there will be an audience for the book. So Deb and I thought we would give away a few of the designs here to our readers and see what the response is. We would love your feedback and for you to spread the word on social media about the proposed book and the free designs. We would also love to see whatever you make using any of the designs. Perhaps, if the book proposal is accepted, your piece might even be included in the book.

The links to the PDF version of these designs will be included below. Please feel free to use the design in your own work. Please make sure to attribute the design to Deb Stika when showing your work. If you would like to sell items with these designs, please contact us before doing so.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika, copyright Deb Stika

This is the first design in the graphic category. The nice thing about these designs is that they could be used in so many ways. For example, you could enlarge the design if you wanted to use it in wet felting to make a wall hanging. Or if you wanted to use it in hand stitching, you could keep it at a smaller size.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika

Here is Deb’s interpretation of the design in hand stitching and then coloring in the background.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika

Here is my interpretation done with free motion machine stitching on dyed felt. How would you interpret this design? I could see this design being used for 2 dimensional needle felting in natural wool colors. Or even using a variety of hand stitches to fill in the colors once the outline was completed. I also think this would be cool if enlarged a bit and used as a design for a silk painting. I’m sure you can come up with other ideas on how to use the design.

Graphic 1

Just click on the link above to get the PDF version of this design.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika, copyright Deb Stika

This design is part of the nature series. Again, I can see many possibilities with this design. Applique, cut back applique, wet felting with prefelt pieces, screen printed on a t-shirt, or wet felted and machine stitched.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika

Here is Deb’s hand stitched interpretation. The background was actually printed by me during several of our local surface design sessions. I don’t actually remember what all I did to this piece of fabric. But it was sitting unloved in my stash and Deb liked it, so I gave it to her. I just love the end result! Deb has hand stitched hand dyed felt as well as including other hand stitches. Don’t forget that you can enlarge any of these photos by clicking on them.

Contemporary Designs by Deb Stika

And here is my machine stitched creation from Deb’s nature design. This is fused, hand dyed fabric applique pieces that I covered with sheer silk organza and then machine stitched. I really like how even though we used the same design, our pieces are very different. Have we got your mind whirling with ideas on how to use this design in your own way?

Nature 1

And again, here’s the free PDF at the link above for you to try your own piece with the nature design. So I will make this a mini challenge for everyone. Use one or both of these designs to make something in your own methods and media. Then let us know what you created either by showing it on the forum or sending it to me by e-mail at laneruthe at gmail.

Please let me know in the comments if this type of book would be something you would consider buying. Are you looking for fun designs to use in your work? Would you prefer to have just the examples and designs or would you prefer specific how to projects with the designs? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!


27 thoughts on “Free Contemporary Designs for Fiber Art

  1. Wonderful, inspiring designs Ruth. I see ideas for so many projects here and have bookmarked the page for future use. Batik springs to mind. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 I’m sure such a book would be very popular.

    Personally, I would be happy with just the designs, but perhaps some could be published as ‘how to’ projects to encourage the reader to develop new skills. Will let you know when I try some.

    1. Thanks Judith – batik is a great idea. I’ll have to add that to my list 🙂 That’s a good idea on a couple of how to projects being included.

  2. Great idea Ruth! I assume the designs will be copyright-free? Personally I would prefer to see less fussy designs like the nature sample above (I’m not sure why but the first one makes me want to recoil from it). Koffipot’s suggestion of adding some how to text next to the examples is a good one too, will take the book to a whole new level and have a wider interest. Will have a think about doing a sample with the second design….

    1. Thanks Teri – I think the designs from the book will be copyright free. It also depends on the publisher but it wouldn’t make sense to publish designs you can’t really use.

      The designs are a combination and some more detailed than others. Something for everyone hopefully.

  3. This is a very interesting idea, Ruth. I would probably get this as a colouring book. If I had more free time at the moment I might try to make something out of the designs you’re showing, but unfortunately I don’t think I can. I hope others will, and show us the results!

    1. Thanks Leonor. All of these designs could certainly be used as a coloring book. I know what you mean about free time. Hopefully, though, we will have some interest and people that use the designs.

  4. Good luck with the book Ruth! Fun designs give thought to other uses with felt. I do like the nature design, but am intrigued with the first one. It reminds me of a ink project I did in high school outlining all the different colors on a wet page of ink. Less structured than yours, just random, but interesting.

  5. Great idea, Ruth 🙂
    I was thinking something similar to Judith. I often ‘doodle’ on Photoshop, but transfering the ideas to fabric requires extra knowledge. I can see the designs being useful for polymer clay, too.

    1. Thanks Zed! We do plan to have methods of transfer explained and ideas on how to move forward. Polymer clay is a great idea although I am not good enough with clay to make these designs 🙂

  6. The design book idea is a good one. Many artists seek inspiration from nature but from outside sources as well. We have all known days when an inspiring design would be helpful to one’s craft. One requirement I would want in such a book is easy “transfer” as Zed says above. There are folks who will want more than the designs…not everyone has the ability to imagine the finished design in felt, embroidery, etc.

    I really like the first design you have shown. It’s intricate, but I am reminded of a lino block print I carved in college.

    1. Thanks Cathy! We are thinking about the transfer idea and how it would be best to either explain how to do it or to have designs that are “transferable” printed in the book somehow. Lino block printing would be great for these designs – another to add to my list!

  7. It’s a lovely idea – one comment above was of colouring books and the images did put me in mind of them.
    I favour the nature style over the dense style of the first pattern.

    1. Thanks Lyn – we did think of going the coloring book route but thought we might be a little late in that category now. I like the nature one too. 🙂

  8. I saw a video on Facebook showing a guy creating fiber art. He was using a handheld machine. It was doing the sewing, embroidering, or whatever it is called. Would you know what that machine is called, and is it available to the public?

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