Holly Taylor: Designing with the Woods in Mind

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Countless people will tell you they dream of designing fabric. But a literal textile dream was the start of Eileen Taylor’s 18 years of designing for Moda.

“I’d worked in the industry for decades,” says Eileen, “so when I dreamt an entire line of Northwoods fabric, in color, I attributed it being around fabric all day. But when I had the very same dream two nights later, I got up at 4 a.m. and started sketching.”

While she had the vision, she claims she lacked the drawing skills to bring it to fruition, so she called on Lynn Hawley Bloomquist, a friend in the garment industry. Together they created a line of fabric based on their Minnesota surroundings and Eileen took it to Quilt Market three weeks later. Not only did Moda like the look, they sold dozens of fabrics just from the artwork.

At the suggestion of Lynn’s son the women named their design team Holly (for Hawley) Taylor—“Taylor and Bloomquist didn’t have the right ring,” says Eileen with a laugh—and they have since completed more than 60 lines of fabric. This past year they also designed fabric for the all-Wisconsin shop hop and for three years they created fabric especially for Minnesota’s annual shop hop.

“Minnesota is a huge quilting state,” says Eileen. But their fabric don’t just appeal to residents of the upper Midwest: it’s also popular in woodsy locales like Washington state and Canada.

This centerpiece served as inspiration for fabric design
Lynn and Eileen find inspiration for their fabrics all around them. “Sometimes we’ll just hop in the car and take a trip together,” says Eileen. “We’ll wander the back roads, looking for things in nature. We’ve even drawn inspiration from the names of Northwoods motels and inns.” The women get their creative juices flowing by looking through shelter magazines, visiting local shops, and perusing racks of paint chips. “Once I took a photograph of the tile in a motel bathroom where I was staying and we used the shape in a fabric,” says Eileen with a laugh. Sometimes it’s not necessary to leave home to find inspiration—the reeds and berries in a floral arrangement Eileen created for her dining room table sparked the shapes and images of an upcoming line of fabric.

Eileen was a rep for Moda for 17 years. Connecting with Moda was such a blessing,” says Eileen, who attended her 52nd Quilt Market in spring 2010. “Working with them was the best chapter of my career.” Though she retired from her role as fabric rep two years ago, lovers of warm and woodsy fabrics can rest assured that the design duo of Holly Taylor shows no signs of slowing down.

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5 thoughts on “Holly Taylor: Designing with the Woods in Mind

  1. I have STACKS of her designs because I LOVE them so! I am hoarding them because I just don’t want to cut them up even though they were acquired with the queen sized blanket in mind 🙂

  2. Holly Taylor fabric is my absolute favorite. It is too bad that I cannot find anywhere around here to buy it in person. I can find it online, but it is more fun to buy at a shop.

  3. I too love their fabrics and have at least five of their complete lines waiting to be made into quilts and have made two already. I’m in a family of outdoorsman who also love their fabrics. As long as they design fabric I will buy it because now we live in a log home!

  4. I loved reading the background story for “Holly Taylor”. Thanks so much for sharing it. I find their fabric so beautiful and tranquil, and I’m glad they’ll be designing more.

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