*Looking for a step-by-step guide through the process of building a business in the textile design industry? A reminder that Monday December 9th is the last day to purchase our Building Your Textile Design Business e-course before it is removed from our offerings. To celebrate the course’s retirement we are offering $50 off the price of this eight week course by using code 1CE7E25F at checkout. With this purchase you will also receive free access to the Textile Design Lab from January through March of 2014 (valued at $117)! Read more about the course and register here.
December 6, 2013
December 5, 2013
Phillippa Copping is a UK-based textile designer and the creator of these outstanding prints, part of her “Global Collective” fashion print work. I found her vibrant use of color, layering of shapes, and intricate hand-drawn details to be so energizing and inspiring!
“Drawing on my love of culture and travel, my prints are an exciting and eclectic mix of global culture and nature. I am inspired by a whole host of wonderful things found within the natural environment, which are vivid in their colouring and have unique markings and textures, such as insects and exotic florals. There is also a strong grain of tradition running through my design work.
I currently hold a design and marketing job at a London based fashion print studio.
Prior to this, I exhibited my collections at Printsource, New York, Premiere Vision, Paris and New Designers, London. Whilst exhibiting in NY, I sold one of my fashion prints to the American retailer, Bealls of Florida and as a direct result of this exhibition my work was featured on trend website WGSN. I also completed a post-graduate internship with New York designer Milly, where I got to assist at New York Fashion Week and Vogue’s Fashion Night Out.
You can see more of Phillippa’s work at her online portfolio. -Chelsea
December 4, 2013
Lampara is an online boutique selling high quality, handmade drum lampshades. All Lampara products are designed and printed in the UK and their unique and intricate designs are carefully selected and licensed by some of Britain’s leading pattern, print, and textile designers. They also offer a bespoke service. The main aim of Lampara is to promote the work of UK print designers in an accessible, yet beautiful way around the home. Featured designers for the brand include DanYELL and Ana Montiel (read our past features on these designers here and here!) among other talented designers. See more at the Lampara website. -Chelsea
December 3, 2013
Carolyn Friedlander is a Florida-based designer who specializes in quilt and sewing patterns. She just presented her second fabric collection with Robert Kaufman at the International Quilt Market in Houston this October. We were immediately drawn to the fresh, modern feel of Carolyn’s work which she describes as being inspired by ”elements of art, architecture, and the history of quiltmaking.” Carolyn was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about her process and the experience of exhibiting at Quilt Market and working with Robert Kaufman!
Tell us a bit about your background in design. How did you find your way to designing patterns for the quilting market?
I have a degree in architecture and practiced that in St Louis, Missouri for a few years before I found quilting. When I discovered quilting, I was instantly obsessed, and over time I’ve been able to transition into the work that I do now. I love surface design and quilt making because it builds on many of my favorite things about architecture, but with so much more. Designing quilt patterns seemed like a good entry point into the industry, and I had plenty of ideas for quilts that I wanted to make.
Could you talk about the experience of exhibiting at Quilt Market? What were the most enjoyable parts of the show? Is there anything you would do different next time? Any words of wisdom for designers interested in exhibiting?
Exhibiting at Quilt Market is a fantastic experience. It is a lot of work, but I’ve found it to be a great way to get my designs into the market, show people who I am as a designer, and meet other people in the industry. The most enjoyable part of the show is connecting with the variety of people attending. It can be very productive as far as receiving feedback on your own work, as well as gaining insights into what is going on in the industry.
As for advice for designers interested in exhibiting, I would say that it is always good to know your goals and figure out the best strategy for achieving them. A lot can be accomplished by having a booth, but a lot can also be accomplished by attending as well. If you are exhibiting, make sure to start planning well in advance, and always be ready to handle surprises during set up. This year I had to build one of my booth walls against another wall. This forced some very creative maneuvering.
How did you come about the collection/license with Robert Kaufman? Did you cold email, have contacts, etc?
I was actually able to meet some of the folks from Robert Kaufman at my first market, but it should be encouraging for others to know that the most important step is the same for anyone, and that is to make a submission. They can’t say yes or no to something they haven’t seen. My contacts were a great help in pointing me in the right direction as far as where to send my submission. Then you just wait, cross your fingers, and hope that it gets accepted. I do not know how other companies operate, but that was my experience working with Robert Kaufman.
Could you tell us about your creative process in developing your collections?
I usually have a design simmering in my head for a little while before I start to explore it. When I’m ready to start working on it, I’m very hands on. I’ll do a lot of drawing and sketching to figure it out. My favorite design tools are very basic–paper, pens, pencils, colored pencils and markers. These are my favorite things to start designing with.
Do you have a favorite print type to create and if so why that print?
I definitely have an appreciation for all prints, but my favorites to create are the prints that I can imagine using the most. Lately, these have been heavily textural prints with a strong hand-drawn element. I always like it when you can see the hand of the designer in the work itself.
What are your favorite sources for design inspiration? Favorite print & pattern trends?
Finding inspiration in simple things and things outside of the industry is usually what I like the most. I feel very inspired living in rural Florida where we have lots of cattle, orange groves, and open space. Curiosity is also a big muse. A lot of what I design and make is the result of things that I am curious about. I am always interested in how things work and how they come together.
I also read a lot, some of which is totally unrelated, but I think that can be really helpful.
One of my favorite trends is print mixing. I love that!
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers hoping to break into the quilting industry or build a successful brand/business in the textile field?
My best advice for aspiring designers is something that I remind myself of often–you just need to get yourself out there and ask. The worst someone will say is no, and that really is not so bad. If you have ideas for a collection, get your ideas together and also make sure that you are showing people who you are as a designer.
Just be yourself.
December 2, 2013
Inspired by all things bally and dance … ‘pop dance’ is a bit of a celebration. Bright neons mixed with skin tones make for an exciting colour palette. Use spots and stars, texture and cute illustrations to create a lovely collection. -Claire Carey
November 27, 2013
These breathtaking scarf and clutch creations are the work of Sellable Sketch alum Kathryn Pledger, and her friend and textile artist Kathy Schicker, the dynamic duo forming KathKath Studio. Upon opening Kathryn’s submission, I literally gasped out loud at the beauty of these kaleidoscopic colors and textures, the full collection of which can be seen here.
“KathKath studio designs and produces unusual and trendsetting designs for interiors and products. The studio’s main areas of expertise are surface pattern design for digitally printed products and handprinted textiles using flocks, foils and colour changing inks. They design for industry and produce short product runs for bespoke projects and exhibitions.
KathKath brings together 15 years experience in the textiles and graphic industry. Kathy and Kathryn have worked and exhibited around the world and after bonding over a love of surface, pattern, colour and design, have pooled their respective talents to create the studio.
KathKath Studio will be debuting Escape, our new collection of beautiful luxury silk scarves, bags and accessories at Selvedge Winter Fair on 29th- 30th November. The Escape collection is inspired by our travel and international links and aims to bring you beautiful accessories to help you travel in ultimate style.
The collection is manufactured and hand finished exclusively in the UK, using the best fabrics and printers, and brings together many months of designing, prototyping and product development.”
KathKath Studio has great things in store for the new year–they will be releasing a wallpaper with Graham & Brown called ”New Wave” and will be partnering with Keka Case for various device covers. Learn more about the studio at www.kath-kath.com.
November 25, 2013
Despite its initial burst of enthusiasm with champions of geometric design such as Stepanova and Popova, textile production in Russia in the 1920s continued to clunk along, suffering from a shortage of skilled designers and technologists, and also from outdated machinery and factories. The new geometrics were increasingly relegated to small handicraft organisations and fashion houses catering to the wealthy, and low quality fabrics with traditional motifs continued to predominate in mass production.
Cultural change was slow, and it was only when the first group of professional designers had graduated from the new training schools set up at the beginning of the 1920s that textile design started to move forward again. Inspired by idealism, industry and the heroic worker, these are constructivist designs at their most vibrant. According to this group of young designers, fabric design had to both reflect life, and change it for the better. Themes of construction, electrification and accomplishments in science in culture were explored, and motifs such as tractors, the star and sickle, fitness, factories and planes all made an appearance. The designs were dynamic, full of rhythm, movement and Utopian visions.
Image credits: (Clockwise from top left) 1. from the book Soviet Costume and Textiles 1917-1945 by Tatiana Strizhenova; 2. via russianfashionblog.com; 3. via retronaut.com; 4. Soviet Costume and Textiles 1917-1945
Subject matter was stylised and reduced to flat, graphic planes of colour, and designers formulated them into repeats using standard design techniques to draw it all together, such as a limited palette, and uniform fills of geometric or abstract elements for the background. Sometimes designs were a hybrid of constructivism and more traditional folk and pictorial styles.
Not everybody was keen on these new designs, and they sparked a great deal of controversy in the press. One outspoken critic was textile specialist Ryklin, who derided them saying “Everything has its proper place! Let a picture hang in a picture gallery, let a poster mobilise for the accomplishment of urgent economic tasks, but let a dress or a suit remain a dress or a suit; there is no need to turn a Soviet citizen into a travelling picture gallery.”
Image credits: (Clockwise from top left) 1., 2. from the book Soviet Costume and Textiles 1917-1945; 3. via retronaut.com; 4. from the book Soviet Costume and Textiles 1917-1945
Designers got a bit wilder, and a few “agitational” designs appeared featuring motifs of army tanks, planes and soldiers. The government adopted a resolution in 1933 on “Inappropriate Design”, and banned thematic motifs in fabrics. Soon after, the trend all but disappeared, and only started to make a reappearance in the 1950s.
November 22, 2013
If you are as much of a floral fan as I am, life is probably feeling pretty good right now…
These amazing florals come to us from Laura Olivia, a U.K. based surface pattern designer. Laura freelances for the interiors, stationery and fashion industries, in addition to selling her own line of products which can be seen above. Her latest collection, called ‘Rockery,’ is inspired by “the organic forms of succulents typically found in rock gardens. I use watercolour paintings and hand drawing combined with CAD to produce my patterns and then everything is digitally printed on to rich materials such as pearlescent wallpaper and soft suedette fabric.”
To see samples of Laura’s freelance work or to purchase one of the products seen above please visit her website. A bit of advice: I just saw that a few of Laura’s products are now on sale, including the eye catching floral in the second image, so don’t waste anytime getting over there!
Have a fabulous weekend, Michelle
November 21, 2013
The Sorting Office is an Eastleigh, UK based designer-maker studio housing a wide range of artistic styles in a friendly and supportive environment. This Saturday, November 23rd, The Sorting Office is being transformed into a winter wonderland for a very special festive celebration.
“With bespoke goodies for sale including scarves, jewellery, wall art and Christmas cards there will be opportunities to discuss possible commissions with the up and coming designer makers. Browse the studios and see the crafts for sale, chat with the artists and indulge in festive refreshments. Buy from local designers and know your gifts will be extra special!”
The studios are open to the public between 11am-8pm and admission is free, so be sure to stop by if you are in the area! More details about the event can be found at The Sorting Office website or their Facebook page.
Beginnings of Claire Vine’s Paper Grotto
We were also curious to know more about how The Sorting Office operates, and were lucky enough to score an interview with studio manager Ria Loveridge:
Tell us about The Sorting Office–what was the driving influence in creating this business?
The driving influence was to create a space for local Eastleigh designers to develop their start-up businesses.
The Sorting Office is a joint venture between A Space Arts and Eastleigh Borough Council to use European RECREATE funding to improve local artists’ careers through our ongoing business development programme.
How does working/selling as a group influence the artists’ work? Do artists ever work collaboratively?
The artists run as separate businesses, however the community within The Sorting Office is very strong so collaborations and joint ventures often happen.
The artists are often found in each others studios discussing ways to improve a product or sharing details of good suppliers and contacts.
It’s a great, friendly atmosphere in The Sorting Office where ideas and best practise are always shared. We sometimes attend fairs with a joint stall but mainly the artists sell independently through sites like etsy.
Tell us a bit about the curation process–how do you choose which artists or styles of work will appear in the show and how they will be arranged? Is there a distinctive Sorting Office “look” or are the offerings more eclectic?
The Winter Studios event is for all our resident artists who cover everything from scarf-making and pattern cutting to children’s illustration and fine art – there’s no real ‘look’ per se but we love that homemade feel so we encourage our artists to produce bespoke work on commission. We tie everything together with our own branding, so we just love letting the artists have free reign to be as creative and unique as possible!
Karen Head with her textile art and scarves
Could you give us a few highlights of artists or products that are not to be missed for those visiting the event on Saturday?
One of our children illustrators Denise Hughes has worked on some gorgeous bespoke decorations which I think will be a real hit for those with young children. Lisa Jean, another illustrator, has independently printed some brilliant cards. Our resident scarf-maker Karen Head has a stunning new range which would make great Christmas pressies. There will also be displays of work from our resident historical costumiers which should be great to see.
How would one become involved with The Sorting Office? Do you have any advice for designers interested in joining the studio?
We have a waiting list currently but the best thing to do is email me at email@example.com
November 20, 2013
Founded by Mike Dawson and Pete Mars, Arnge is a fabulous new brand of pillows that offers an eclectic mix of bold and colorful patterns. Their collection features both placement prints and all-over prints and I fell in love with their playful but sophisticated use of color.
“As Art Director at numerous magazines, pattern-master and colorist Mike Dawson is the design force at Arnge. Architecture, graphic design, photography and the natural world are points of inspiration for his broad ranging surface pattern designs.
Stylist Pete Mars is the collection editor at Arnge. His strong visual editing skills were developed in the fields of interior design, home product and furniture design, magazine styling and museums.
To us, the who-what-when-and-where of how a product came to be is as important as the finished piece. Our fabrics are printed on 100% cotton poplin in North Carolina and we make our zippered pillow covers in the United States, paying fair wages. No sweatshops! We use firm polyester fiber inserts for pillows that hold their shape through lots of use. The pillow corners are hand stuffed with loose polyester fiber to keep them perky. Droopy corners are for sad pillows and so are feathers and down. No animals were harmed to make our products. We make our pillows when you order them. It takes a little longer, but you get a product made just for you.
We are passionate about issues outside the world of design. A percentage of Arnge’s profits will provide support for environmental legislation, wildlife and domestic animal protection, public radio and television, historic preservation, history education and equal rights for all beings. Without equality, without knowledge, without our planet and ALL of its life, we are nothing.”
Learn more about Arnge by visiting their website! -Chelsea
November 19, 2013
Cerebella Design is a new Vermont-based company that promotes science education through art in an approachable, stylish, and sustainable way. The company was founded by Ariele Faber and has just launched a new product line of biology-inspired bow ties, neckties, and scarves. Ariele was kind enough to share more about her process and this fascinating marriage of art and science.
Tell us a bit about your background in design and science. What made you decide to start this business merging the disciplines?
I have always been passionate about the intersection of science, design, and education. From a young age, I was fascinated by how people learn and remember information. I have ten years of experience working with children on the autism spectrum in educational and healthcare settings, which has greatly influenced my interest in combining disciplines and developing strategies to think “outside the box”. I am particularly interested in how people who are diagnosed with learning or developmental disabilities may reach their utmost potential through more innovative teaching strategies and accessible design. As a visual learner with an insatiable curiosity in how things work, I take note of all the creative ways in which seemingly complex information, particularly in the sciences, is more approachable when presented through an artistic lens.
At Middlebury College, I majored in Neuroscience and Architectural Studies. It was there that I took a Cell & Genetics biology course my sophomore year and was introduced to photomicroscopy, a method of capturing photographs through the microscope. This class got me thinking about how microscopic images were one way of communicating information to scientists and non-scientists alike when the images were taken out of their typical research context. I started to outline ways in which these images could be made into patterns and applied to various surfaces, making biology more visible and exciting to people who would be more inclined to shy away from a lab setting.
I kept this idea in the back of my mind for a couple of years until 2012 when I took a summer course in digital surface design at Rhode Island School of Design within the Textiles Summer Institute. Since then, I have focused on developing Cerebella Design into a surface design company that promotes science education through art.
Can you tell us a bit about your design process? Are there certain specimens that you find particularly inspiring?
Part of my design process is driven by finding specimens that I think people will want to learn more about; the other part is evaluating the aesthetic appeal of certain patterns and determining which surfaces they would be best applied to.
I am most inspired when I see something new or unexpectedly beautiful on a slide I come into contact with frequently. I experienced this when developing the pollen pattern. I now imagine pollen sections whenever I think of allergy season or see flowers!
What are the challenges of translating a microscopic image to a textile design?
I put a lot of value on how a pattern looks and what it is showing. One of the hardest parts of this process is balancing scientific accuracy with artistic license. These patterns are biology-inspired– they show carefully curated parts of a specimen, and are color adjusted and edited– they are not all as straight forward as a single photograph in repeat.
Before the company’s launch, there was a large focus on imaging and developing patterns, which required work be done both in a lab and in a business workspace. Currently, we are based out of the coworking space of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies (VCET), a globally recognized business incubator with offices in Middlebury and Burlington. Since launching our official website and store on September 30th, daily tasks have been more focused on marketing, supply chain management, filling customer orders, and outreach that will allow us to expand in the realms of collaborative design projects, retail, and educational programming.
The most exciting part of this job is being able to imagine how Cerebella Design can influence the way people think about combining their own interests across disciplines, and have an impact on how art and design are incorporated into STEM education. It is also an absolutely amazing experience to have the opportunity to work with so many talented people, and I look forward to expanding the team!
Do you have any advice for aspiring designers hoping to build successful businesses of their own?
The “entrepreneurial spirit” is in the air these days, which can be both exciting and stressful. Dream big but take the time to discern a good idea from a great one, and develop the idea(s) that you are most passionate about. Think through the logistics of how your business would function and seek out mentors that will be “cheerleaders” (people who give you positive feedback and motivation) and “challengers” (people who will speak candidly about potential pitfalls, finances, and other tough stuff). Most importantly: know your limits and push them within reason. It is easy to pull all-nighters on a project you are passionate about, but a business is made up of many long-term projects. Make a point of getting into a good rhythm of sleep, food, work, exercise, and socializing so that you can make it the distance!
November 18, 2013
Each month we like to do a round-up of the designers, trends, and wide array of patterns that were featured on the blog in the previous month. With so much amazing textile design work coming through the blog it can be easy to lose track of your favorite posts, but visit our YouTube page and spend a few minutes watching our past vignettes, and you can re-discover some absolutely amazing designers! We are also highlighting past posts on our Facebook page daily, be sure to check them out! -Chelsea
November 15, 2013
Today I am delighted to feature the beautiful work of Lady Ann de Borja, of Denver, Colorado.
Lady Ann is an illustrator with a professional background in graphic design working to get herself into the surface design industry. I was immediately drawn to her use of color and simple, yet thoughtful, pattern layouts. “Her portfolio site includes her collection of surface design patterns and illustrations for the fabric, home, stationery and gift markets and more” and I fell in love with her wonderful blog, which you can visit here. Through her blog she shares her inspiration, her process and her latest designs. Lady Ann does a wonderful job of communicating the vision behind her creations and for all you designers out there, her blog is a wonderful example of how to share your message in a thoughtful and authentic way.
Lady Ann warmly welcomes licensing inquiries, commissions, and collaborations. Please visit her website for more information!
November 12, 2013
We spied a terrific trend emerging on the Spring ’14 runway and loved its simplicity–black outlines on white or cream ground. Take a look at our Pinterest board on the topic to see how the designers put this trend into practice, from loose and sketchy marks to detailed, vaguely tattoo-like florals. A fun and quick way to try out this trend is contour drawing, putting pen or pencil to paper and drawing an object in a continuous, unbroken line, like the face sketch in the images above. Interesting shapes can emerge when you make the decision to keep your pen on the page instead of lifting between strokes, and can make for beautiful abstract designs or just an interesting way to capture details like creases and shadows. The subject matter on the runway ranged from highly stylized Art Nouveau-inspired florals at Anna Sui, to loose and layered doodles of swirls, faces and gridlines at Cushnie et Ochs that felt like they could have been pulled from many an artists’ sketchbook. Have a sketchbook filled with black outlines lying around? Scan a few and see how they can be combined and layered to form a unique standout print for your portfolio. -Chelsea
November 8, 2013
This week’s featured designer is Virginia Njeri Kamau, who is based out of Karlskrona, Sweden. Virginia was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya where she initially feel in love with print and pattern.
“I am basically inspired by almost anything around me and with that said, I find myself going organic and floral most of the time. My design process depends on the goal for the pattern, most of my catchy patterns are those I just do spontaneously with a high blast of the 90s music on.”
November 6, 2013
In my opinion, one of the strongest trends of the Spring ’14 season are the use of desaturated color palettes. Muted florals were seen at Zimmermann, Hermès, Emporio Armani and Marni, while Antonio Marras featured soft, painterly landscapes. Jeremy Laing and Celine took the trend in a slightly different direction by applying the desaturated palettes to abstract textures and nature-inspired motifs.
If you are developing patterns for Spring ’15, think about how you can evolve this trend for your customer. You could add a bright pop color or apply the muted palette to other motifs, such as dots, plaids or geometrics. A great place to start is with the colors on the left side of the Spring ’14 Pantone palette. Then add different hues, tints, shades and tones to make the palette your own.
For more inspirational images, including the runway shows listed above, please visit our Muted Days Pinterest Board.
We would love to see your muted days inspired pattern. Tag it #patternobserver #muted days on Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook.