Interview with Susan Cousineau
Following the announcement that Marcus Fabrics would be working with Canadian Textiles and Surface Design Artist Susan Cousineau of Fort Frances, ON, International Textiles reached out to Susan to learn more about her creations and her career. We thank Susan for taking the time to speak to us!
Interview with Susan Cousineau, fabric designer for Marcus Fabrics
What does it really take to become a successful fabric designer? I’m pretty sure most of us fabric-enthusiasts have at one point thought about what it would take to turn our little idea onto fabric. After meeting with Susan Cousineau, the latest fabric designer from Marcus Fabrics, I’m starting to think that so much more goes into designing fabrics!
Although Susan Cousineau is now the new name in the Canadian fabric industry, her background wasn’t originally in sewing. Before even owning a sewing machine, she had already published crafting books and articles. But when she purchased a sewing machine on a whim, everything fell into place quite quickly: a little over a year after buying her first sewing machine she got her first sewing book contract.
“A couple years later, my second sewing book, Sweet Nursery Chic, was published and at that time, I also joined the McCall Pattern Company as a licensed designer. Soon after, I launched my own independent line of sewing patterns called Gifts ‘n Giggles.”
Her sewing patterns’ girly themes like princesses, ballerinas, fairies, unicorns and tea parties, brilliantly coordinated with fun party ideas and recipes, quickly became a hit. Shortly after joining the McCall’s design team, Susan started dreaming about making her own fabric designs, instead of using other designers’. Her work at this famous pattern company was a turning point in her career as it paved the way for her to connect with the right people in the industry, and now realizing her dream of having her own fabric line.
Honestly, we’re not surprised that Susan Cousineau has had such a natural career progression. Her signature style is sweet, whimsical, colourful and so fun! She knows exactly how to cater to trends in the kids’ market, yet her style is truly unique. As she says,
“My main goal as a designer is to stay true to my design style and brand which is to create a fun and colourful world for kids! I want my designs to bring a smile to kids of all ages and to add that sense of storybook magic and fantasy.”
Her newest collections for Marcus Fabrics demonstrate well her love of bright colours like lime green, teal, pink and fuchsia, but she always tries to balance them against more subdued and neutral tones. You’ll also see lots of cute critters in her designs, as Susan is a huge animal lover. Her husband and her own several pets, all of them rescues. She explains that because many of the smaller remote communities north of Fort Frances, ON (where she’s from) have no access to spay/neuter programs, the pet overpopulation crisis is daunting. She sings the praise of people like Judy Mackie, who runs Northern Lights Dog Rescue in Thunder Bay, Ontario. “The work they do for the homeless animals in these rural communities is absolutely amazing!” she says.
Since we’re speaking of her local community, I asked Susan about the rumour that her Magical Mermaid collection was inspired by the Mermaid Statue on Rainy Lake:
“There was a stone mermaid statue built on Rainy Lake many years ago and there are several different legends about why it was built,” she says, but quickly adds,”but my mermaid fabric was not inspired by that. I love to create sweet girly collections and little girls love mermaids – so I thought it would be fun to do. Also, in my younger days I loved to scuba dive so I’m fascinated by anything “under the sea”!”
Her debut lines with Marcus Fabrics have been available to independent quilt stores for a few months already, and the feedback from our customers has been very positive. Susan loves receiving feedback from people using her lines and fondly recalls an interior decorator contacting her to let her know that she used one of her fabric collections to decorate a kids’ learning center. “She said everyone loved it and that made me so happy to know that my designs will bring some joy to those kids each day!”
We hope you’ll all join us in congratulating Susan Cousineau on the launch of her lines with Marcus Fabrics! We wish her much success, and we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the future!
-Jessica Kaufman, digital community manager for International Textiles.