casey york: art historian + fabric designer :: Okan Arts
casey york: art historian + fabric designer

casey york: art historian + fabric designer


By Casey York PhD, Guest Blogger

ST LOUIS MO Hi, I’m Casey of Casey York Design. I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts at Spring Quilt Market in my current home city of St. Louis. She wanted to hear from a new fabric designer and invited me to introduce Fine|Spun, my debut collection!

Although I learned to sew when I was about six years old, I came to quilting indirectly. I didn’t make my first quilt until I was in my twenties, when I was expecting my first child and living as a graduate student in New York City.

I fell in love with the history of art at the age of sixteen and decided to pursue a career in that field, but I never lost my passion for designing things. As I was finishing my degree, it became clear that pursuing an academic career wasn’t the ideal path for me. Fabric design emerged as a possible way of meshing my love for the history of design with my drive to create original work.

Traveling to see original art works has always been a magical experience for me because when I’m face-to-face with an original work, I can’t ignore the presence of its creator’s hand. With my fabric collection, I aim to update historical designs with a contemporary aesthetic and palette.

Creating modern fabric inspired by historic works of art lends these great designs new life and allows a new generation of design enthusiasts to touch a little piece of history.

In addition to historical art, I also find abundant inspiration in the natural world—having grown up in rural northern Minnesota and spent much of my childhood exploring the woods surrounding my house.

As a quilter, I specialize in appliqué. Together with Studio 37 and Marcus Fabrics, I developed Fine|Spun as a collection that provides other appliqué devotees with a rich range of contemporary near-solids and backgrounds. (Editorial note: Casey has also written two books on modern appliqué for Stash Books.)

The process of designing a fabric collection and seeing it through production has been a wonderful adventure. I’m so excited to see how other quilters interpret my fabrics in their own projects.

Fine|Spun, Volume One, will be arriving in shops this July. If you’d like to see the entire collection, a lookbook is available online. I’d also love you to visit my own website at and connect with me on social media! I’m @CaseyYorkDesign on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Thanks so much for reading!

GIVEAWAY ALERT: Casey’s FinelSpun collection will be featured in Okan Arts July 2017 Giveaway.

To visit Casey’s website and see modern quilt designs, patterns, books and more +click here

To make your own hard-cover needle book designed by Casey +click here

All photos by Casey York (2014-2017) except the top photo by Ann K. Hubbard, 2016.

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2 comments to “casey york: art historian + fabric designer”

  1. Susan says:

    I love hearing how artists came to designing fabric

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Susan—So do I! I think the story behind the fabrics adds a richness to the appreciation of the patterns. PB