Collaboration Challenge: Ranunculus Pillow

We continue our collaboration series with the latest project completed by Diana Brennan of DSBrennan and Lisa Billings of Pink Lemonade Boutique. They took a photographic image of Diana and incorporated it into a pillow made by Lisa. It's a stunning combination. We asked them to tell us about this project.

Please tell us a little about yourself and what kind of art you make

Lisa: I am a wife and mother to 7 yr old Olivia, and am lucky to stay at home and run my design business, Pink Lemonade Boutique. I make mostly bags and purses, but also make quilts, pillows and anything that can be sewn.

Diana: My name is Diana Brennan, I'm a photographer. I have a degree in Environmental Science, and my day job since college has been as a Wetland Biologist. It's no surprise that nature heavily influences my work! Right now I'm continuing to build my Natural History portfolio - it's been a lot of fun and has brought back some great memories of my college courses.

Can you tell us how you got started on this project and how it has evolved?

Lisa: Well, this is a project a long time in the making. I think Diana and I started talking about a collaboration a year ago. I approached Diana about transferring one of her images onto fabric and I would make a bag from it. Which then turned into a pillow.

Diana: When the idea to do collaborations first came up, I was just learning about some methods of printing photos on fabric. It made sense to work with one of the "fabric people" on the team. I was thrilled that Lisa was interested in working with me, since I LOVE her work.

What inspired you about your partner's art?

Lisa: Everything! I love Diana's images...they have such a dreamy quality to them. It really appeals to me, it was pretty much a natural aesthetic is feminine and her photographs are soft and pretty. I told her to go ahead and pick an image...she ended up picking the ranunculus photo...which was my favorite of her photos, so it was easy to get inspired.

Diana: What doesn't inspire me about my partner's art! I particularly admire the way she pairs colors and patterns. Each of her pieces feels energetic, as if those fabrics were just waiting for her to put them together before they started dancing around the piece. I felt that "Ranunculus" would work well with the vibrant floral fabrics she often uses.

How did you ultimately decide to make what you did?

Lisa: Well, initially we had talked about doing the bag, I thought maybe a messenger bag, with the image on the flap, and kept playing with the shape and composition and just wasn't feeling it. When I decided to do the pillow, it just seemed right.

Diana: Ultimately, the decision on the final product was left up to Lisa. We tossed some ideas back and forth, but in the end it was her pick. I'm thrilled with how it came out.

Can you give us some insight into your brainstorming process?

Lisa: After I decided to scrap the bag for the pillow, it was pretty smooth sailing from there. I pulled a bunch of fabric from my scraps that really made the photo pop. I love how it looks like it's almost glowing. I love doing free form patchwork.

Diana: As far as picking the photograph to print - I wanted something with colors that would work with Lisa's typical vibrant fabrics. I wanted something with universal appeal. And of course I wanted to choose something natural and fun!

Did this collaboration stretch your creative limits?

Lisa: Honestly, probably not!

Diana: It was certainly a challenge finding out the best way to print on fabric. The techniques just don't give you the same detail and color accuracy as the photo printers I'm used to dealing with. So the printed fabric itself became something a bit different than the original photo.

Were their any roadblocks or setbacks?

Lisa: Not really, just that it took me awhile to decide which direction to go in...once I decided it was very enjoyable making this project.

Diana: The biggest roadblock was that I couldn't find a fabric printing method I was happy with. It took me a long time to even bring my best results to Lisa, since I wasn't thrilled with them. But once I got over that self-critical attitude, and actually showed the pieces to her, she convinced me that we should use them. And she was able to create something beautiful!

Did you find this to be a rewarding experience and why?

Lisa: Very rewarding and fun, how could it not have been being able to use Diana's gorgeous photography?

Diana: Definitely. Lisa was a joy to work with. It's exciting to see my art as part of her art. It's now something more than just what I could have done with it. And that's a pretty special thing.
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4 Responses
  1. Ronnie Says:

    Great interview, ladies! Enjoyed reading how this all came about.
    Looked at "pink's" pillow in the shop again and again, but didn't realize the BIG size. I'd put that front and center! 20 X 20 !!! Photos make it look like the normal 14x14. Gorgeous quilting.

  2. Ronnie Says:

    Just so you all know. I have my big gift box on display STILL on my dining room table so everyone can drool over it and tell me how lucky I am. Thanks again, y'all! What a great giveaway!

  3. Diana Says:

    Glad you're enjoying your gifts!

  4. Anonymous Says:


    Great interview, ladies! Enjoyed reading how this all came about


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