Designer Leslie Mark: In Her Own Words

Unity Quilt on Maine beach

You may remember a few weeks ago we held a giveaway for some Unity fat quarter bundles.  Congratulations to the two winners  of this contest– they are quite lucky to receive such beautiful fabrics!  Judging from all of the lovely comments left by folks about this fabric, this debut collection by one of Clothworks‘ newest designers, Leslie Mark, has certainly made waves.  It’s no wonder– as Leslie comes from a town in coastal Maine.  Situated near the sea, perched on a rocky beach, perhaps it’s just ingrained in her to make something splashy!

We do all that we can to promote our beautiful fabric collections here at Clothworks.  Cross-promo patterns, social media, and giveaways are just a few of the things that help connect the product to our wonderful customers.  Today I’d like to share the fabric designer’s perspective and bring you an inspirational story that through her art, connects her back to her hometown.  All in the name of Unity, too!

It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Clothworks designer, Leslie Mark.  Here she tells her creative journey in her own words:

One of the first nuggets of wisdom I took to heart as I began my journey in art licensing was to find my authentic, artistic voice. I heard that without a clear vision, I would never connect with an audience in this very competitive industry.  I scribbled on my white board, “Create designs which inspire creativity in others”. This guiding goal is always right in front of me and it has rewarded me in ways I never imagined.

Last summer, I got a call from Ruth Davis, the owner of Quilt n Fabric in Southwest Harbor Maine, the tiny coastal town where I grew up and moved away from over 30 years ago. She had been chatting with my Dad at Brandon & Laura’s Café next door and heard about my first fabric collection, Unity. She was delighted to learn that she could order the fabric through Clothworks, one of her favorite vendors.  She invited me to come to her shop for a ‘meet and greet” when the fabrics arrived.  I was beyond thrilled that the very first response to this collection came from my home town where so much of my love of art and enduring inspiration originated.

Unity Collection Fat Quarters

After months of not so patiently waiting, Ruth called to tell me the fabric was in and I should come for a visit.  With a winter snow storm predicted, I banked on inaccurate forecasting and made the 4 hour journey “home”.  Although I had never met Ruth, I was greeted by the warmth that only comes from a home town welcome.  And then there was Connie, my mom’s dear friend who hadn’t seen me in 40 years, but it seemed like just yesterday.   As I went through my presentation about the process of creating a design collection, the ladies were so curious and engaged, I could feel that they were proud of their home town girl. As I concluded and my heart was bursting with pride for being part of such a loving, close knit community, Ruth brought me to tears.  She presented me with a beautiful quilt made from my fabrics by her, Connie, Deb, and Lily, The Batty Quilter.

Leslie Mark with Unity Quilt and Shop Owners

The surprise continued with a beautiful cake made by Laura from the café next door.  I later learned that the frosting, which so cleverly matched one of my fabric patterns, was completed in the dark during the early morning power outage.

Cake for Leslie- Unity colors

Since then, I’ve met the wonderful women from my local stores in the York, Maine area including Knight’s Quilt Shop and the Seacoast Sewing and Quilting.  I’ve started following quilting blogs, Facebook pages, shop hops and trade shows. I’ve come to appreciate the tradition and craftsmanship of quilting all over again. This is an amazing community and I am left to wonder, “Who is inspiring whom?

Leslie Mark- Unity Quilt- Cat

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