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Get to Know the Artist -- Pat Sloan

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Artist Pat Sloan working in her studio.
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Red Apple Lane

Pat Sloan has been sewing since she was a child, going from Barbie™ clothing to her own clothing, and then on to quilting in a big way! She started her business while still having a busy career in computers.

In 1997, she started to teach quiltmaking to others, and then she turned her skills to pattern designing. Pat found that she really enjoys designing and seeing how other quilters make her patterns. In 2000, Pat's designs became so popular that she and her husband, Gregg, formed a design and publishing company called Pat Sloan & Co. In addition to designing and publishing her work, they now travel around the country teaching and showing her quilts to quilt guilds and quilt shops.

Pat's professional pursuits include: author of over 30 quilt books, fabric designer with Moda, published in all the major quilt magazines, radio show host for American Patchwork & Quilting magazine, International Quilt Association board member and teacher/lecturer.

Sewing Savvy: Typing the name Pat Sloan into a search engine results in an absolutely amazing array of hits; your Web presence is extremely strong. Do you work from a media plan, and if so, where did you start?

Pat Sloan: Plan? What's a plan? Wink! Being a computer science person in my "first life," I have been on the Internet almost since it started. I had a website in 1998, followed by Internet groups, blogs, Facebook, twitter and my Internet radio show. I just enjoy chatting online with people who love the same things I do, and I think it's all great fun!

SS: How has your use of social media changed over the years, and how has it helped to grow your business?

PS: I am an early adopter -- meaning as soon as I hear about it, I try it. Some forms of communication speak to me and some don't. For example, I tried Tumblr and Myspace, but those just didn't connect for me -- but Facebook and Pinterest do.

Anyone that has been online as long as I have has made changes. New, improved, fun ways to chat come along, and I am always one of the first to try them. And I'm not afraid to leave a type of communication if it no longer works for me. I'm just one person interacting, plus I travel to teach, write books/patterns and design fabric. I can't let the Internet take over my life (although it seems like it does at times -- ha!)

SS: Are there particular suggestions you would give start-up companies who are looking to build their own presence on the Internet?

PS: First, you have to love hanging out online. If you don't, it shows. So if you personally can't get into it, then hire someone who can do a great job for you.

SS: How do you use social media to form or strengthen partnerships and business relationships with companies and other designers?

PS: Hmm -- interesting question. Really, the partnerships form outside of social media. The ability to connect to more people quickly via email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc., lets me get to know my partners more quickly.

In the "good ole days," I only saw them at the trade show and exchanged a few emails. Now I keep in touch more often via Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. But those mediums are not why I have a partnership. You still have to build your partnership, friending a business person on Facebook does not create a partnership.

SS: Your latest fabric line with Moda, called Eat Your Fruits & Veggies, is yummy. What inspired this tribute to healthy foods?

PS: Funny -- I never thought of it as a healthy choice. I liked the idea of the shapes of fruits and veggies. And I've done several projects based on my love of the local farmers market. My granny worked at the farmers market her whole life; it's a great memory for me.

SS: How do you go about choosing a color palette?

PS: My color ranges for this line were inspired by the colors of fruits and veggies; they are bright and happy and cheerful!

SS: Do your quilt patterns inspire the fabrics you create, or do the fabrics inspire the patterns?

PS: It depends on the project. I have done both. I created Red Apple Lane to continue the fruit and veggie theme, but Orchard Park is a pieced quilt that shows off the fabric line.

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