Found Patterns: Fossils

FoundPatterns_PatternObserver23Images via: (clockwise from top left)  “Fossil Heaven” by Mike Beauregard (cropped from original),  “Spinners” by Mike Beauregard (cropped from original),  “Diploria fossil brain coral on Devil’s Point Hardground (Cockburn Town Member, Grotto Beach Formation, Upper Pleistocene, ~120-123 ka; Cockburn Town Fossil Reef, San Salvador Island, Bahamas) 4” by James St. John (cropped from original),  “Mammuthus sp. (mammoth fossil tooth) (Pleistocene, USA) 2” by James St. John “Ammonite” by William Warby “Diploria strigosa fossil symmetrical brain coral (Cockburn Town Member, Grotto Beach Formation, Upper Pleistocene, 114-127 ka; Cockburn Town Fossil Reef, San Salvador Island, Bahamas) 16” by James St. John (cropped from original),  “Neuropteris flexuosa fossil plant (Mazon Creek Lagerstatte, Francis Creek Shale, Middle Pennsylvanian; coal mine dump pile near Essex, northern Illinois, USA)” by James St. John


Is your eye drawn to the colors and patterns you see on clothing or in home decor? Do patterns fill your doodles, drawings and artwork? You could make money in the textile design industry. Get our FREE video training today! 

Heimtextil 2016 – First time exhibitor experience – by Elena Belokrinitski


I’ve been dreaming about the Heimtextil Fair for ages. Ever since I was a Textile Major at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, I’d been hearing a legendary tale that, somewhere in Germany, there was a special event that offered the ultimate key to happiness for textile designers. It was a place you could show off your best textile work, see the trends – and even start them.

I landed my first post-studies job at a small studio, which designed for Heimtextil and catered to trends in wallpaper and soft furnishings. I always nurtured a feeling that, one day, I had to try doing this work independently.

A few years went by, and I switched from interior design to swimwear design, which was also a fascinating experience. My designs were colorful, intense and sexy, in contrast to the subtle tones used in wallpapers. I put tropical flowers on top of leopard spots, with glitter on top … you get the idea.

About a year ago, my husband and I moved to Berlin, and I quit my day job as a textile designer and set out on my own. Of course, the first thing I did after arriving to Germany was to visit the Heimtextil Fair in Frankfurt.

The fair was so large! For three days I browsed through all the halls, where everything from Dolce Gabbana wallpapers to mass-market Chinese bed linens was displayed. The cherry on top was the Designer Hall, where textile studios show off their latest pattern collections for wallpaper, bedding, kitchen, soft furnishings, etc. Lines and rows of stands, small and large, with the fanciest designs on the walls and reams of designs on the tables. Hand-drawn artwork, printed, woven, knitted, ethnic, modern, fusion, detailed, minimalistic … every pattern imaginable was there. 

They say that the Designer Hall shrinks bit by bit each year and the industry becomes more and more difficult. Participation in Heimtextil is expensive, and the factories purchase fewer and fewer designs. While large, well-known studios are busy, smaller and younger studios may be up to sharing a little bit of their experience.

So that was last year.

This year, I was busy developing designs for stock, licensing, and private customers. Then, about a month before the Heimtextil 2016 Fair, a friend contacted me and asked if I wanted to pair up at the show and share a booth. I am quite productive and have hundreds of illustrations and designs ready in my library, so the short notice wasn’t a problem for me. It took me about a week to think it through.

I decided to do it.

inspirations materials 3inspirations materials 1inspirations materials


The preparation

That left me three weeks to prepare for the show, with Christmas and New Year’s in between.

I figured I had enough designs, but that I had to make an selection that could be altered for size and color, categorize the designs into several themes, and then find the time to create a few new ones.

What I basically needed was to find a print shop – and that was it!
Easy, right?

Well, the reality hit me hard. 

I decided that for my first show I would invest in about 70 patterns. I didn’t want to go way over my head budget-wise, because I wanted to treat this as a learning experience and not a commercial one. Putting all my money into printing everything I’ve ever designed seemed wrong. I calculated that I could bring about 70 patterns that I was really proud of. My friend had just over 100 patterns – our designs added up to an extremely small number compared to the hundreds and thousands of patterns that the large studios bring – but we were here to learn.

One day I visited about four or five different print shops to test their printing quality. I liked one of them, but got a very expensive offer – 1600 Euro for 70 prints (i.e., what I estimated would be in my collection). I’m sure that prices for prints differ greatly all over the world, but that was the best offer I got in Berlin.

Then I began searching for suitable paper, which took a few days. Then I began the designing process. Along the way, many different questions arose: How would I pack the patterns? Doing research on a bag for artists took a few days as well. Same thing for materials, receipts, fliers, stickers, branding and such. (I’ve posted a table on my website showing all the equipment and other expenses on my website.) 

Taking care of those arrangements was much more time-consuming than I’d ever imagined.

Printing during the holidays was a mess that involved time delays, missing supplies … I won’t even go into telling the excruciating details. The bottom line is that I did get my collection ready in time. (I also grew a few new grey hairs on my head.)

In between I chose about 50 of the most suitable designs for the show and individually edited almost every one of them. I divided my work into 3 collections: paisleys, florals, and abstracts. Each collection contained about 25 patterns. I strived to create diversity within every collection: variations in size, mood, density, color, but with harmonious overall look for the whole collection.

Then I designed another 25 patterns to complete what I thought was missing and also accumulated some new ideas. 

When ordering a spot through the Heimtextil website – which you should do about 6 months prior to the show – you will see a price list for exhibitors. Major exhibitors book the same spots year after year, so there’s a limited choice, but at least you can choose the kind of stand you would like (frontal, corner, open or closed). There are different prices for different spots. Also, take into account that you must order tables, chairs, lighting (everything is customisable, but the prices differs greatly from basic to advanced), and all of it adds to the stand cost. We had to slightly alter our order a few days before the show, which is not a great idea at all! Luckily, everything went through okay, but I wouldn’t recommend taking a chance like that.

A few days before the fair I was ready with a pile of beautiful designs. The fact that the collection represented my taste and design abilities was a strong plus, especially since I was entering an unknown world.

I carefully packed the designs (what would I do without my husband?) and soon I was on my way on a train. (If you travel from Germany, I strongly recommend the all-inclusive fair tickets.) I had booked an Airbnb apartment close to the fair. If you have an exhibitor or press card, your tickets will include local transportation for the duration of the fair.

My friend and I arrived two days before the grand opening to set up our booth.

Even though the show hadn’t officially begun, the Design Hall was very busy with potential customers. Exhibitors at Heimtextil (for example, wallpaper manufacturers, or curtain factories) can visit you on those days only, so coming early is a good idea.

ourstand1ourstand2Our stand


The show

The show proper lasts for four days. For newbies, it’s very interesting to watch the dynamics of well-experienced studios – try to learn as much as you can! Many large, well-established studios are there. No matter how well you design and how ready you think you are, observing how those design giants work reminds you of how much you have to learn – from presentation, to collections, colors, sizes of motifs. On one hand, everything is possible, On the other, all of a sudden you realize that there are great ideas, inspirations, styles and standards. Do yourself a favour: even if you’re an exhibitor and busy at your stand, find time to stroll around the Hall and see what’s happening.

When the fair opens, the buyers rush to see their favourite exhibitors. It’s like saying “hi” to your friends at a party. Here, personal connections define everything. We’ve heard from everybody that it takes from three to five years of just being there before you become “part of the gang” and you attract personal – as opposed to random – interest in your particular stand. That’s a long time and a large financial investment, so be prepared. 

inspirations materials 2inspirations materials


My personal experience

There was a lot going on at the popular studios, but for young, unknown studios such as ours, it was a challenge to attract customers at first. But hey, a few smiles here and there, beautiful designs, and positive energy – and there you go! You have your first potential client! Showing your designs is such a pleasure! Some buyers give you nice feedback, other say even something useful. However, some buyers are quick and poker-faced, and aren’t much into communicating. But part of your job is to remain polite and upbeat, even with a tough customer!

Some people were very focused on what they need (“Show me more of your paisleys!”), others went through our whole collection (luckily, it was a small one). It felt like whenever someone browsed through our designs, it attracted other people to come and see more.

When you’re lucky enough to sell, think through the packaging. It might be unnecessary to go the extra mile to bring large-studio designer bags and folders, but at least have wrapping paper, a nylon sleeve, or whatever. But respect your designs and your clients.

We tried to hand out as many business cards as possible and to build relationships. Nurturing those relationships is something that should be done periodically, and especially before the next fair. That’s what we learned from other designers.

We were lucky enough to sell few designs. It was such an overwhelming experience that our hands almost shook while writing the receipts (be sure to prepare your taxes, receipts and other documents in advance!). Next year I think we’ll need to be less hysterical when good things happen.

One question that arose for me during the show was whether I should have prepared mock-ups for the use of my designs. Some studios show bedding in a bed mockup; wallpapers with a mock-up of a room with the wallpaper, and so on. I’m undecided about the value of this. On one hand, mockups can make it easier to interpret what your design can be used for, and provide some assurance for a buyer. On the other hand, a mockup limits the imagination. If you present bedding, for instance, wallpaper buyers might skip your stand altogether. I guess that with time and growth you naturally become more specific and target your designs toward certain products. Then you can rethink how to present them.

In conclusion, I see my experience at Heimtextil 2015 as the beginning of a journey and an investment in my future development. It’s not an easy production time- and money-wise, so it’s better to enter the market when you’re a more experienced designer. Fortunately, I have both the production and financial ability to make such a commitment at this moment.

Selling is absolutely awesome, but it takes effort and dedication. My resolution to myself is to begin to prepare for the next show six months ahead of the show. Working in advance can better distribute not only your time and effort, but also the financial investment in the exhibition.

closeup on my designsCloseup on my designs


About Me:
I am a textile designer, currently based in Berlin.
I have a B.Des. in textile and surface design, worked in interior, fashion, swimwear and toy industries, and for about a year and a half I am working independently.
I love drawing in watercolor, that’s what I do with most of my time. I also love: cooking and eating, optimizing anything and everything, warm weather, learning about people’s stories of love and heartbreak, and last but not least, my handsome husband.
  • My website 
  • My blog, where I have a more detailed Heimtex preparation guides and costs.
  • Daily routine of drawing and design at my instagram
  • Facebook page
  • Behance
  • And if you would like to download my designs and elements to use in your own projects, visit my shutterstock page!
Also, I would like to link to my friend and Heimtextil partner, Israeli textile designer Natasha Levental, we shared the stand, and it was an awesome experience.

Interview with Maria Ogedengbe, Guest Expert for February in the Textile Design Lab

NEW_DSC7503maria-studio-2016_500wIt is our great pleasure to welcome back Maria Ogedengbe to the blog this month (you may remember her as a featured artist from this past fall,) and to announce that she will be joining us as our guest expert for February in the Textile Design Lab! Maria works across a range of disciplines, most often with projects that unite textile arts with a painter’s concerns. She earned her MFA from Yale University School of Art in Painting/Printmaking, and her studio, ESTUDIO mariaurora, is located in Kansas City’s West Bottoms. She has completed projects and residencies in Mexico, Spain, and Nigeria – including hands-on research in textile arts in Lagos and Abeokuta. Solo exhibitions of her work have been held in galleries at the University of Lagos, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo in Oaxaca, Mexico, among other venues.

Later this month Maria will be sharing a tutorial with Textile Design Lab students, on techniques she learned during her time spent in Nigeria. Keep an eye out for an excerpt here on the blog, and in the meantime please enjoy our interview with Maria below!


Please tell us a bit about your design background/career path. How did you become interested in textile design?

Hi everyone. I first came to Kansas City to study art on scholarships from the high school I attended and the art school here. Ken Ferguson, a ceramics professor, attracted me to the Art Institute – I still see him as the most outstanding artist to have ever worked in Kansas City. I majored in ceramics, spent a semester in France working in carved stone/sculpture, and then finished my BFA in painting. I went on to do an MFA at Yale School of Art where I studied painting and printmaking, with electives in figure sculpture. Later on, I spent three summers working in the silkscreen studio at School of Visual Arts in New York. In school some bodies of my work included painted drapery, and eventually I chose to make drapery or clothing the sole subject/theme with my paintings.

Later my work shifted from painting cloth or clothes to photographing assemblages constructed from fabrics. At this juncture I asked myself, “where is the painting in this work ?” and I proceeded to color and pattern fabrics for my projects with printed and dyed imagery. In my current practice, I work across an array of media and my experience with drawing, color, printmaking, and 3D processes all factors in.

Could you tell us a bit about your residencies and research trips abroad? How have your travels impacted the work you do today?

One summer I did a formal artist’s residency on the southern coast of Spain, but my other foreign residencies and projects were all self-styled. Most recently I have focused on Nigeria. There I worked with artists in Oshogbo and rural Kogi State, and then in a dyeing district in Lagos and also at Abeokuta. The fact that there are few travelers in Nigeria means that ways of life there are less westernized, it’s a place set apart. Nigerians you haven’t met often say “you are welcome” when passing on the street, and in Yorubaland children and adults alike would cry out “Oyinbo !” (white person) to me in greeting. Some of the challenges with traveling there are frequent power outages and the cash economy: you can’t use credit cards or travelers checks.

In Nigerian culture, textiles are particularly important. You usually work with a tailor when you need something new to wear, and you bring the fabric… perhaps it’s hand-dyed fabric from Abeokuta or maybe cloth you commissioned from a dyer in Lagos.

Each place where I studied dyeing was quite different from the others. At the workshop in Oshogbo students work mainly in hand drawn batik, in Kogi State matrons run a paste resist workshop, in Akerele/Lagos students work alongside Nigerian and Gambian men whose livelihood is dyeing cloth and the emphasis is on printed batik and tie & dye.

In Abeokuta, every last person seems to be involved in dyeing, from grandmothers to the children when they’re home from school. The economy’s built around hand-dyed cloth and expediency is required to succeed. Variations on alale – a style of tie and dye done with fine hand pleating – are popular. Paste resist is combed in waves over five yard lengths laid on tables, section by section. Elders work at treadle machines sewing systems of folds into yardage, seams that will be pulled apart after dyeing to reveal intricate resist patterns. I was astonished to see fabric paint in Abeokuta and ultimately came to appreciate how it could be quite beautiful when applied sparsely over dyed designs (flecks of bright white compare to tiny rhinestones on “African” lace Nigerians import from Austria, etc.).

While some American textile artists and fashion designers do work with hand dyed cloth, the practice of hand dyeing isn’t integral to our culture and economy in the same way. Vivid clothes worn on the street (by the likes of mothers with babies tied to their backs or men toting sewing machines on their heads, hands-free) are characteristic of the Nigerian way of life.

To get along in Africa, people need to be resourceful. You see artists fashioning tools from scrap materials, systems put in place, and people working at a fast pace – a busy dyeing yard is called a “factory.” Something that drew me to Nigeria is the way that fabric produced there is painterly and sometimes even pictorial. Time spent in Nigeria has given me a view of how textiles can be paramount, a catalog of ways for working with textiles in a painterly sense, and models for working efficiently and economically.

Dyeing techniques used in Nigeria are all resist in one form or another. At first I didn’t imagine working in batik yet I mastered it and have devised adaptations for working with batik in my indoor studio here.


Tell us a bit about your design process. What media/design tools do you like to use?

Hot wax for batik is rather hard to manage, yet foam rubber makes a great applicator. You can cut foam into a stylus or a printing block with scissors, and I’ve also been cutting foam and wood with a laser cutter. I heat wax in an electric skillet and lay the fabric to be patterned on a large waxed board. You need to lift the fabric regularly so it won’t stick to the board – prying it off will leave the cloth bare on back (which may affect coloration). For me this system works better than stretching the cloth and applying wax with a tjanting tool. It did take a lot of practice to gain facility, and I could probably become adept with the Indonesian method if I spent time with it. We know no one learns Photoshop overnight, and so it is with many design processes. I tell students to be like the puppy with a new toy – shake the living daylights out of it, don’t let go.

Where do you gather inspiration for your work? Are there any books, blogs, magazines, etc. that you recommend?

For me, one thing leads to another. When you spend a lot of time with your work your mind naturally makes connections. Curiosity leads me to research – this may involve web searches, visits to libraries, making inquiries, and/or visits to museums or other relevant sites.

News can be pertinent to shaping new projects and identifying opportunities, too: I listen to the BBC World Service and the local NPR station for stories on culture & current events and interviews with authors. Through Facebook I find interesting reading material that’s shared by friends; Duncan Clarke is an authority on African textiles who maintains a web presence and participates in social media, by the way. When in waiting areas, I page through popular magazines (including local ones) looking for striking images and news of arts and culture in society.

At this point, my personal library has been whittled down; if there’s a book I’d like to read I get it from the public library – if they don’t have it, I ask them to order it. I enjoyed reading New African Fashion by Jennings and Prince Twins Seven-Seven… by Glassie.

Who are your design heroes (past or present)? What about them inspires you or influences your work?

I’m choosey about what I embrace and extol – so if I say this artist or that, I do have certain works in mind. Imaginative paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer that emphasize pattern on clothing (worn by characters) are exciting to me, and I also look to some of Niki de St. Phalle’s work for the way pattern and color cooperate with abstracted human form. Last year when inputting terms of interest into a web search, I happened upon Caterina Bortolussi. An Italian running the Kinabuti fashion label from Nigeria, Caterina seeks to make fashion a viable industry for the country and to afford Nigerian women with livelihoods; Kinabuti’s fall 2015 Rome collection focused on hand-dyed fabrics. A couple years ago I reached out to Joyce Kozloff of art history Pattern and Decoration era fame, and she introduced me to her friend Robert Kushner; Kushner’s work from the 1970’s (including wearable paintings) has become an inspiration with my current projects.


Over the course of your career, what actions or decisions have made the biggest impact on your design business?

Association with passionate people is a key. In our youths we were all students, and we discovered that some teachers are particularly passionate. During my education and in similar situations since, I’ve searched for the right combination of instructor, subject, and school or circumstance. Decisions weren’t easy, sometimes I left a class. Looking back, I can see that the choices were astute. Identifying with passionate people puts you in that group. By tendency, I gravitate toward foreigners and people with foreign connections; this and experience abroad affect my view of the world and the society in which I live. Location is important. In 2006 I returned to Kansas City, and in 2009 I chose my current studio: both are favorable environments for artists. I’ve been working with Photoshop and digital photography for more than a dozen years, and through taking a class here and a workshop there I’ve polished my writing skills – Photoshop, photography, and writing are important tools with moving my practice forward.

What have been some of the challenges you have faced throughout your design career and how have you overcome them?

Well, there have been challenges from without and challenges of my own making. Generally, each new project seems to be the greatest challenge I’ve taken on. Something that we all contend with is acceptance of our creative work, usually through sales or funding. The best ways to keep things in balance are to believe in your work, apply creativity toward keeping costs down, and put your own brand of charisma to use in all that you do. Last year I was commissioned to create a couple of billboards that were displayed in Kansas City’s Crossroads arts district for three months. I was interested in having a wide audience for the work, and I wanted people to be apprised of the theme (an amusing bit of ancient art history). I contacted every news organization I could think of and followed up on replies, yet two weeks into the display I couldn’t see a way forward with the news. I decided to print a postcard using an online service, did 3 test batches simultaneously, and printed a large run for under 5 cents per card. I then used the card as a talking point with people I knew or chanced to meet at networking events, left stacks at art galleries and coffee shops, and sent cards to news writers and interviewers. This worked out well, and an illustrated interview about the project was published in the Sunday edition of the Kansas City Star. I’m still hearing from people who tell me they went to see the work because they read about it in the paper !

What would you consider to be your greatest success so far?

I can’t really confirm this, but along the way someone told me that when asked which was his greatest painting, Matisse would reply “the one on the easel now.” Projects slated for 2016 will be quite amazing, but there’s much to do. So let me roll up my sleeves, and please check back.

What advice have you received in your career that has stayed with you or influenced you? Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring designers trying to build successful careers of their own?

You can have it all, but not right away.

Victor Babu (to me)

It will take both wisdom and patience to get an elephant into the city.

Yoruba proverb

Every great and original writer must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.

William Wordsworth

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Anne Frank

A thimbleful of red is redder than a bucketful.

Henri Matisse

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou



Become a Textile Design Lab member to gain access to Maria’s tutorial when it becomes available later this month, in addition to all of our past guest expert tutorials and the other helpful e-courses and features of the Lab. Visit to learn more!

Textile Design Lab Member Spotlight: Casey Saccomanno

Mystical_Feather Mystical_Floral_1 Mystical_Floral_2

Today I am so thrilled to turn the spotlight on Textile Design Lab member Casey Saccomanno, whose intricate hand-painted style never ceases to make my mouth drop open and my eyes widen in awe. Casey puts such care into every detail of every pattern, and it is truly inspiring to see. I hope you enjoy getting to know Casey better in today’s interview! -Chelsea


Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What is your career background and what drew you to textile design?
When I was 8 years old, I learned how to sew from my seamstress grandmother and was interested in creating clothing, art, accessories with a handmade approach ever since. I am originally from New Jersey and I attended Philadelphia University in 2004 to study fashion design. After graduation, I moved up to New York and worked as a women’s wear fashion designer for a few companies including New York & Company and the Dillards Reba & Nurture lines. In my last job, I had the opportunity to work on creating hand drawn prints for dresses, skirts, and tops I was designing for the line. I fell in love with the process and decided that the next step in my career should be in apparel print design.


What courses have you taken in the Textile Design Lab? What is your favorite aspect of the Lab?
I have completed The Sellable Sketch and The Ultimate Guide to Repeats, both helped me build my portfolio and feel more confident with the technical process of building balanced perfectly repeated prints. I love that the entire website is geared towards artists that want to grow their career in print design, before joining the Lab I was completely self taught and had a lot of questions that I couldn’t find answers to. I love that the Textile Design Lab helps members learn about all aspects of the process from creative to technical and can get feedback on their work from members and staff in the group forums.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am freelancing part-time at a few companies in New York City, designing prints for a bohemian boutique label called Threaded Earth which will be launching a new apparel line in a few months (, as well as working on prints to sell on Society6! Recently, I have worked with a Brooklyn based fiber/street artist London Kaye on some crochet installations in Times Square and for Lion Brand Yarn company. Many opportunities I have found recently were through connections made on social media outlets such as Instagram.

Today I started illustrating all types of insects with wings, the intricate wing structure of butterflies and dragonflies is so interesting to me, so in the next week I will be developing some conversational prints for Society6 based on this inspiration.


Where do you find inspiration when creating a pattern? 
So many things in nature inspire me…feathers, plants, animals, the universe, moons, stars, flowers, and crystals to name a few. I try to take a lot of pictures when traveling of beautiful places and objects. I feel as a designer, I always have to be looking for new inspiration and trying to find a fresh way of translating it into my artworks. Sometimes my watercolor paints are the main inspiration of my work, I love playing with new techniques to create interesting textures and patterns.
What do you do if you’re stuck in a design rut or feeling uninspired?
I feel it is important to get out of my apartment to explore local museums and botanical gardens for inspiration in Brooklyn, NY. I am a very visual person and I need to get away from my computer in order to find strong inspiration.

As a designer, I believe in this quote:
“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” -Jonah Lehrer


What do you hope to achieve as a textile designer? What are your goals for your career/business?
I aim to work for a company that appreciates the creative hands on approach to print design and encourages me to make fresh trendy prints for a target customer. I love when I get to see a print I created in a store and know that the customer loves wearing the garment because it makes them feel beautiful.  I also really enjoy working with a lot of different clients at once so I aim to be able to work solely on a freelance basis in the future.


See more from Casey:
Society6 products:


Ready to transform your talent into a thriving career in textile design? Join us in the Textile Design Lab today! Membership is just $42/month and comes with a variety of e-courses, a private forum, weekly live artwork critiques, guest expert tutorials, fun design challenges and lots more exciting and helpful content to get your textile design career off the ground. Visit to learn more!

Featured Designer: Kate Hougen of MiraJeanDesigns

2015-09-19 Mirajean-69 MiraJeanDesigns Coastal Collection 2016 MiraJeanDesigns Coastal Pillows close up MiraJeanDesigns Kids CollectionPhoto credits: MiraJeanDesigns and Shelly Han Photography

Kate Hougen is the owner and designer behind the “colorful and coastal” MiraJeanDesigns, whose mission is “to make homes brighter via art-inspired and sustainably-designed textiles and home decor.”

A self-taught textile designer, Kate writes that she feels like she “was born to design textiles!” Kate sells her textiles by the yard (printed on select natural and organic fabrics), as well as decorative pillows and luxuriously soft, 100% organic cotton throws. Each design begins with a watercolor painting. She also does custom repeat designs for clients, “a wonderful custom or Mother’s day gift.”


About the MiraJeanDesigns process and fabrics

Every textile design begins with a watercolor painting. My background is in the Arts (I have a Studio Arts degree) and for as long as I can remember, I have loved to paint. Sources of inspiration include nature, the beach and my children’s artwork.
Today, I tend to work on 9 x 12″ sized paper and cold press paper. Once I am happy with the watercolor painting I photograph it, upload the image to my computer, and begin work to turn it into a repeat design. Once I am happy with the repeat design, product testing begins.
I print on only a handful of natural and GOTS-certified, 100% organic fabrics. (You can read more about this and my commitment to sustainability here.)  Because of the natural fibers in these materials, colors and saturation levels vary depending on fabric type, so test print runs on each is a must.
The designs are meant to work well independently, and as a collection; you’ll see many of the same color hues in each ‘family’ of designs. Designs available today fall into three main categories or collections: Summer, Kids & Coastal.
Here is more info on the fabrics I work with and recommended uses:
  • The 100% organic cotton knit is a luxuriously soft cotton; wonderful for baby and crib bedding, and throws.
  • The linen & cotton canvas blend I work with is probably the most versatile of the fabrics. It’s wonderful for draperies, roman shades, decorative pillows, light upholstery, headboards and more.
  • The soft, Kona cotton I offer is wonderful for quilters and table linens.
  • The cotton poplin is a great, durable fabric that also works well for table linens, as well as clothing.
  • The 100% organic cotton sateen is heavenly; not only is it 100% organic, the colors printed on this fabric are incredibly vibrant and it has a wonderful, luxurious sheen to it. It is wonderful for duvets, fashion, and projects seeking a truly light and elegant fabric.


In addition to my website (, I also have a blog where you can learn more about inspiration behind new designs and ‘behind the scenes’ info on my day to day.

I am active on social media (@MiraJeanDesigns), below are links for your easy reference. I also have a goal of sharing one new design in the works via social media every week. I call it New Fabric Friday; you can check out past posts by searching #newfabricFriday. It’s a way of keeping me disciplined in my work and I enjoy sharing the process.

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At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and private design community, The Textile Design Lab.