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The Textile Design Lab

Members of this tight-knit community are continually improving their craft, learning new techniques, staying informed with the most up-to-date styles, and making their artwork more profitable.

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Textile Designer: Cathy Hunt

Over the next two weeks we will be featuring a few of the collections developed during Mastering Your Market, one of our textile design courses. In this six week workshop designers focus on the apparel, quilting and home decor markets, producing a small collection of patterns for different companies in each market. Designers can choose from several brief options, finding the ideal customer match for their style, so you’ll be seeing a large variety of work over the next few weeks.

We’ll start with Cathy Hunt, who was kind enough to share her process for each collection and her thoughts on the workshop here:

“There were so many things in the course that brought me to the next level. If I had to choose one thing, I would say that the greatest value to this course is the industry information. The in-depth look at three different industries, apparel, home decor and quilting was VERY helpful. I discovered that I was able to really focus on the needs of each buyer and their customer. This actually gave me the freedom to stretch my creativity further and create more than just “pretty prints”.
In the end, I feel I developed collections that were more unique and “marketable”.  
Having my work reviewed by the industry experts was invaluable feedback! I was able to use their comments to revise and improve my work. I enjoyed the entire process and came out of it with three collections for which I have already received some interest!”

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Collection #1, Aspen

I loved creating this collection for Pendelton. I drew my inspiration from the fact that Pendelton’s customer appreciates a Native American look in their products. I was inspired to bring an unexpected twist to the designs by creating a contemporary tribal feel to the collection.

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Collection #2, Hazy Kat

I designed this collection for the quilting market. My inspiration came from studying folk art designs. I was searching for a way to create that simplicity of shape in a hand-painted technique and then, digitally, give it a complexity with the blurry, hazy effect. I hand-painted the elements and created a hazy background or blurred the lines in some way on each print.

 

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Collection #3, Westminster

This collection was a challenge as I had never designed for bedding before. I had a vision to create some simple, oversized geos with a medieval feel to them. I wanted to contrast this strong graphic feel with bold, watercolor flowers. I believe my customer would be drawn to the traditional facet of the design, but at the same time be inspired by the freshness of the florals. I wanted to give her something in her comfort zone that she could also be excited about. I loved pulling this together. I created the geos in illustrator, then brought them into photoshop to merge the flowers. Working in such a large scale, and indexing the color, was challenging, but I learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence. Bedding is an area I am very interested in, so this was great learning for me.

 

You can learn more about Cathy’s work here and register here for the textile design course: Mastering Your Market!

 

 

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Create opportunities by exploring new markets

I want to introduce you to two designers who have experienced a huge leap forward in their career by exploring new markets, communities, and shifting their understanding of what is possible in their careers. Their stories are inspirational and provide us some valuable insight into the way they went about achieving their goals and creating new opportunities.

Sherry London

Sherry London is an accomplished writer, teacher, and Photoshop expert, but when it came to her own artistic style she was lost. She knew she loved to create textural, motif-less patterns, but she didn’t think there was a market for her work. In most of the courses she had taken and contests she’d entered, it seemed like the cute illustrative work always stole the show. These experiences led her to believe that “this was the wrong career path completely” and she came very close to giving up on her dreams of selling her work in the marketplace. But here’s the thing—Sherry’s textural patterns are gorgeous and, in fact, there is a HUGE market for this style of work in the apparel industry.

Sherry had the opportunity to explore the apparel market further in Mastering Your Market and everything “clicked.” She had finally found her design home and immediately began to design with more confidence and purpose. In fact, Sherry recently signed on as one of Patternbank’s newest designers. By exploring a new market, Sherry is now creating the patterns that come most naturally to her and beginning her career as a professional surface pattern designer.

 

Ellie Cashman

create opportunities-ellie-cashmanI first had the pleasure of working with Ellie a few years ago through one of our Pattern Observer courses. Despite her innate talent, Ellie felt a bit lost when it came to finding a market for her work. Again, she knew what she wanted to create, but she didn’t know how to find the right market for her work. Despite this fact, Ellie kept creating the flowers that inspire her so and began sharing them through her blog and Pinterest community and boy was that ever the right decision!

In May of 2013, an image of Ellie’s “Dark Floral” wallpaper went viral on Pinterest. Purchase inquiries streamed in from all over the world, prompting Ellie to launch her very own web shop with a signature collection of wallpapers available for purchase. She now creates her signature floral patterns for her wallpaper collection, which is shipped across the world. Had Ellie not stayed true to her style, while exploring new markets and new communities, her business may have never come to be.

“Pinterest and Instagram give designers the ability to connect directly with consumers for free, so just keep making work that reflects your authentic style and getting it out there for people to see. This is the most valuable feedback you can get and it costs you nothing and teaches you so much! It’s a really exciting time. Designers can bring their products to market and don’t need to wait around for the endorsement of manufacturers or brick and mortar stores. The internet has blown everything open and that makes this a really exciting time for us! I think one of the most beautiful things that will come out of this is more variety, more choice, because there are so many millions of creative styles and visions and so many millions of consumer niches to be discovered. There’s no longer any reason to force ourselves to design for the status quo/mass market, so put your time and energy into doing what is YOU and that will always be time and energy well spent!”

 

Two Examples, A World of Opportunity

In both Sherry and Ellie’s cases, you can see how each designer stayed true to their innate style, but found success by challenging what they knew to be “the norm.” Instead of focusing on what their friends or peers were doing, and forcing themselves to fit into that box, these designers found success in markets, communities, and businesses that they never thought were possible.

How could a new technique, market, or community positively affect your business? Would it bring in new clients, help you grow your services business, or inspire innovative ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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Textile Designer: Lee Coren

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When I see Lee Coren’s work, one word comes to mind: escape. Her patterns, fabrics and photography all take me to a faraway place where there is no email, bookkeeping or dishes to be done. Maybe I simply need a vacation, but I think it is the way Lee uses abstract textures, simplistic color palettes and minimal motifs that allow the viewer’s mind to wander and explore.

Lee Coren’s collection features “handmade screen printed fabrics as well as original digital prints I photographed. The result – a sophisticated and fun twist on modern textiles. My designs are inspired by a mixture of two strong elements in my life – my local urban surrounding and the need for escapism and a breath of fresh air. The landscape photos were taken during varied road trips. The new addition to the family this spring, the Dead Sea design, was photographed during a 2 days trip to the area, on a sunset that washed the entire landscape in beautiful breathe taking pink shades. The new scarf designs were inspired by urban encounters of steel and organic green wild plants.”

We can’t all jet off to the Dead Sea this year, but you can purchase one of Lee Coren’s pieces and take that essence of escape on your next trip to the grocery store or bank. Check out more from Lee Coren here.

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Featured Pattern Designer: Leanna Perry

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Hello there fellow Pattern Observers!

Today I am delighted to share the work of pattern designer Leanna Perry. Leanna was born and raised in Kansas City, MO which she reminds us is home to the best BBQ on the planet. Being a Carolina girl I might have to disagree, but I digress… ; )

Leanna now lives in Minneapolis, MN where she creates patterns and “illustrates crazy hyper-graphic environments.” I LOVE that description and I love Leanna’s work. What drew me to her work was how much of her personality shines through in every inch of what she creates. Leanna recently had the opportunity to work with 3M and Scotch designing the illustrated patterned Washi tape that you see above and can purchase here. Leanna did a great job of creating prints that are slightly toned down for this more conservative customer, but are still 100% Leanna.

To learn more about Leanna work you can visit her website: http://www.leannaperry.com/

 

 

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