April 15, 2020 2 min read
Wonder what’s involved in creating a RainCaper? We spent some time with Designer Jan Hartman to get the back story on the RainCaper Museum Collection, which reflects Jan’s love of the arts (she and her husband Jim collect the works of American Impressionists). It makes Jan especially happy to see how art resonates with people and watch as their love of art translates into an appreciation and desire for a Fine Art RainCaper. The first Fine Art RainCaper was developed on a whim – Jan loved Maurice Prendergast’s dreamy watercolor Umbrellas in the Rain and felt inspired to apply it to a RainCaper. The approach captured the imagination of art lovers and the Fine Art Collection was born, attracting the attention of museums, who asked for more.
Product development often begins with a call from a museum. Perhaps there’s an important exhibition in the works, and the museum gift shop buyer seeks appropriate merchandise to offer as part of the event. For example, the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum (DIA) is planning a major van Gogh exhibit, Van Gogh in America, for October 2022. The exhibition will display 68 works by Vincent van Gogh, and is the first exhibition dedicated to the introduction and early reception of his art in the United States.
DIA reached out to Jan in the fall of 2019 with specific requests along with an ask for her ideas and suggestions. Jan adores this kind of assignment and spent hours poring over van Gogh's artwork while being mindful of what the museum wanted and what would translate well onto a rain cape, umbrella or pair of gloves. Whether it be Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait, Bank of the Oise at Auvers, The Diggers, or Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin, Jan considered attractiveness and wearability, determining how to best adapt the art to fit the product form. From there she worked with an in-house graphic designer to finesse the designs, keeping the composition and color as true to the original art as possible while also going back and forth with the museum to make sure they were on board.
Samples were then produced which also required museum approval. In an established museum relationship such as with DIA, the approvals are quick because the museum has come to trust Jan’s expertise – they know she’ll get it right. Some products take years to develop and multiple approvals – a lot depends on the owning entity and their expectations. Regardless of how long it takes, Jan’s commitment to getting it right is what distinguishes RainCaper.
Not all designs are inspired by museums, in fact, the Classic collection features proprietary prints and patterns developed by Jan. Popular examples include Vintage Birds, Wavy Stripes, Circle Dots and Cool Cats. If reading about Jan’s design process has awakened a creative spark, express yourself – enjoy our free downloadable coloring pages. Print them, color them and share with us on social media. Who knows – we may use your colors in a new RainCaper!
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