breast cancer · HKelly designs

An Interview With Melanie Testa About Florabunda!

As you may know, I have been asked by my friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Melanie Testa, to help show off her new line of fabrics! I’m so excited to be a part of 12 different artists creating from this line of fabrics. So, before the big reveal happening from June 7th – 16th (I’ll be on the 12th), I thought you might want to get to know a little bit about Melanie, so I asked her some questions! After the interview please look for the schedule of other artists and when they will be presenting their creative pieces made with Melanie’s Florabunda! line of fabrics from RJR Fabrics!

TestaHeadshot-Pink 1

How did you get into designing fabrics?
At 19, I hadn’t gone straight to college. Instead, I took a job and my first quilting class. From there, I decided I wanted to design fabrics for the quilting community. It took me a few years, but I got accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology at 27 years old. I was married, I had work experience in the fashion industry under my belt, and I took a leap.

What is your inspiration for this line?
Flowers and florals are an easy go-to idea in textile design. When I created this line, I wanted a large floral, a small floral, then I wanted single color and textural prints to support the main players in the line. I wanted the grouping to be playful and expressive while affording the user ease in matching fabrics across the line. The large floral print is a favorite of mine, all the flowers were originally drawn in my journals, studies in the flowers I see when I am about town and on vacations.

sneakpeak Florabunda

What else do you do that is creative?
Everything I do is creative, when I create my prints, I carve them in rubber, draw and prepare Thermofax screens, and I mix my own dyes and thickener, and print my own cloth. I paint in acrylics and watercolor too. I also love movement and exercise. Dance/walking through the streets on New York City is a fun warm up to weight training.

Has breast cancer played a role in my creative process?
I feel lucky to be an artist because I used this foundation as a means to embrace advocacy work to shed light on flat or breastless reconstruction. When I went through breast cancer treatment 7+ years ago there were so few images of women without reconstruction, it hurt. Because I did not see myself represented, I chose to be the role model I so desperately needed. I do not think I would have had the tenacity to do this, had I not been an artist.

What is your favorite quote?
“I take pleasure in my ‘transformations'” – Anais Nin

Now for the upcoming Blog Hop with all the designers working with Florabunda!

Myself and 12 fellow quilt makers and artists have joined with RJR Fabrics, Quilty Box and Melanie Testa to host an Instagram Florabunda! introduction and fabric GIVEAWAY! Together, we have created quilts large and small, as well as usable items that showcase all that Florabunda! by RJR Fabrics can be. Join us on a Blog Hop! These artists have created a great array of items in their signature style. We invite you to join along each day, June 7 through 16th.

Please, visit and like all Florabunda! Blog Hoppers on Instagram, including @RJRFabrics @QuiltyBox @MellyTesta to increase your chances to win swag! RJR Fabrics will post chances to win Florabunda! Swag daily (June 11 through 16). Check RJR Fabrics Insta daily to increase your chances to win some Florabunda! swag. The blog Hop starts on June 7!

Check out  Melanie Testa’s blog each day too. This is where you will get a highlights and interesting knowledge nuggets about each participant! With pictures!

Without further ado, here are the Florabunda! Blog Hop Participants!

June 7:   Tiffany Hayes-
June 8:   Deborah Boschert-
June 9:   Sara Mika
June 10: Lyric Kinard
June 11: Kathy York
June 11: Teri Lucas
Facebook: @terificreations Instagram: @terilucas
June 12: Leslie Tucker Jenison
Facebook: @lesliejenison Intagram: @leslietuckerjenison
June 12: Heidi Kelly
June 13: Jamie Fingal
June 14: Debby Brown
June 14: Susan Brubaker Knapp
Facebook: @susanbrubakerknappfiberartist Instagram: @susanbrubakerknapp
June 14: David Gilleland of Vector Quilts
June 15: RJR Fabrics is hosting its own social media event, so we will NOT be hopping on this day. @RJRFabrics
June 16: Melanie Testa

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