Featured Designer: Camilla Fellas

Camilla Fellas

Camilla Fellas is our featured designer to wrap up the week, and what deliciously expressive work she has to share with us! Her work is filled to the brim with color and layers of texture and I just want to reach out and touch these pieces! Camilla was kind enough to tell us a bit about herself and her favorite techniques used in creating her work:

“I am half Greek Cypriot and British and I’m based in Norfolk, England. I went to Norwich University of the Arts in 2008 where I studied BA (Hons) Design for Publishing (first class) before doing MA Communication Design (again at Norwich University of the Arts). Since leaving university in 2012 I have been working as a freelance graphic designer on projects across the UK and Cyprus. I work on everything ranging from branding to packaging design, website design and also book design. The books I design are mostly specialist art and cultural books for a company called Unicorn Press Ltd and I’ve worked on a range of projects for them, both typesetting and book jacket design, including designing the book jacket for a reprint of ‘Painting as a Pastime’ written by Winston Churchill! I also work freelance for a company called Primary Site designing layouts for Primary School websites across the UK and have done projects for other companies such as Meadow Kids, Globe IQ, Finding Cyprus and Amero International Ltd.

While freelance graphic design is my main line of work, I got the bug for surface design last year when I worked on a project for Meadow Kids which was a greeting card box set. I had to design half of the 50 cards included in the set as well as designing the box itself which featured an owl pattern and I loved doing it so much that I decided to start developing my own pattern designs from there on.

My work itself is a mixture of methods and I use a lot of texture and layering. I think my work as a surface pattern designer reflects my Greek Cypriot heritage with an organic, ‘raw’ style that is full of emotion and energy and is quite bright too! My designs use a combination of textures I have created through methods such as monoprinting and Shibori dyed fabric which add more depth to my work. All of my motifs are hand drawn and I like working with quite a rough style of drawing as it works well with the textures I create. My favourite materials for drawing are using a broad carbon stick and also a gold leafing pen which has a really scratchy effect to it! I also use some digital painting techniques so it is quite a wide mixture of methods that I use to create my works but ever since I was young, I’ve always loved using the complexity of textures and layering. I first started doing graphic design back in 2001 when I got my first website and I started creating ‘blends’ which were really popular back then. I spent a lot of time experimenting with texture and it has been something I’ve always been drawn to over the years so I really love bringing it into my own work now because it feels like while it has been a constant theme throughout my work, it has only ever been as a sideline whereas now I can bring it to the forefront and it shine through my work. It is something that I thoroughly enjoy so I almost don’t feel like I’m working when I create new pieces and I really hope that my designs are able to capture an essence of the joy that I get from creating them. I have so much fun making them so I’d love for that feeling to be translated into my work for the viewer!”

Learn more at www.camillafellas.com or follow Camilla on Facebook. Have a great weekend everyone! -Chelsea

Pattern Observer’s Award of Excellence

By the time a designer makes it through all three of our main workshops Mastering Your Market, Portfolio Development and Sharing Your Work, they are rockin’ some serious skills. In these workshops designers not only learn industry standards and advanced design techniques, but also learn professional practices and how to operate a thriving design business. Our classes are no joke. We dive deep into our textile and surface pattern design industry and I am proud to say that the results are impressive.

For those designers who have taken all three workshops and exceeded our expectations, I am proud to announce our new design award, the Pattern Observer “Award of Excellence.” Designers who have earned our “Award of Excellence” have proven themselves to be talented artists, trustworthy partners and emerging leaders in our industry. They have experience in the apparel, home decor and quilting markets and are working with clients around the globe. Simply taking all three workshops doesn’t qualify one for this award. I have to feel 100% confident in a designers ability to work with clients in a professional manner before they make the list.

design awards

Click to see the full list


With this design award our goal is to highlight the excellent work that these designers are doing and connect them with pattern buyers around the world. We plan to add new designers several times a year and application information can be found here.

I am so proud of the work that these designers are doing and it’s an honor to feature them on the site. Check out the latest recipients here.



Marketing Your Design Business






Swift Handcrafted Textiles

swift compositionswift dip deyed pillowswift mint kitchen towel4Swift tiedye scarf2Photos by Tamuz Rachman


Swift is a handmade textile design brand based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Founders Michal and Roni studied weaving and printing at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, graduating in 2013. They now run Swift which specializes in handcrafted home decor items and accessories such as scarves, tote bags, kitchen towels, pillows and more.


“Swift’s essence is about collaborating modern design with traditional handcrafting textile techniques, such as Tie-Dye, silkscreen prints, block prints and felting work. These and more, makes each of Swift’s items to a One of a Kind piece, which contains the unique signature of the technique and the designer’s handprint.

The designs are influenced by a research of shapes and textures which expressed by a graphic dissolution and assembly. Swift’s designers are inspired mostly by contemporary worldwide art, the tension between past present and future and their own local environment.

Hand work is a major principle for Swift, keeping a high passionate work while paying attention to the smallest details, all to ensure the maximum quality of the product.

Swift’s life-style products are made to create a range of complementary items for home decor and fashion, which naturally links two aesthetic fields in our daily life.”


Visit Swift on Facebook or check out their Etsy shop to see more of their delightful offerings! -Chelsea

The History of Surface Design: Liberty Style

Series on the history of surface design by Julie Gibbons.


“Liberty Style” was the term given to a range of homewares and fabrics sold by Liberty & Co, a retail store, established in 1875 in London by Arthur Lasenby Liberty. While they embraced technology and the machine, the store was run on a guiding principle similar to that of the wider Arts and Crafts movement – beautiful goods at an affordable price for everybody.

Initially Liberty carried an eclectic range of goods imported from the Orient, but Arthur turned his attention to printing fabrics when the store started importing high quality silks from India.

He employed a number of designers to produce work in the popular Art Nouveau style, producing patterns with flowing and sinewy lines, and used printers such as Thomas Wardle (who also printed for William Morris) to produce the finished fabrics. However, it was company policy that none of the designers or printers were credited, but the fabrics were simply labelled “Liberty & Co”. Many of the original designs were toned down and adapted too, to ensure a more consistent aesthetic throughout the offerings.


PO - Liberty 1all images from http://collections.vam.ac.uk


A particular leap forward came with the introduction of special dyes in delicate pastel tints, which until then had been only available in the East. They called these new shades their ‘Art Colours’; they proved incredibly popular and eventually became synonymous with Liberty.

The designs developed to the point there was a distinctive “Liberty Style” across the range of fabrics on offer, dropping the Art Nouveau style in favour of all-over, densely detailed patterns. These were most often floral motifs in soothing and harmonious colour combinations.

Liberty is still widely recognisable for these classic style prints, although it has extended its range to embrace slightly stronger palettes and new shapes without disrupting its core aesthetic. Excitingly too, it has collaborated with several well-known artists such as Su Blackwell and papercut artist Helen Musselwhite to produce entirely new takes on the Liberty classics.


PO - Liberty 2all images from http://liberty.co.uk


More recently, Liberty has collaborated with other brands such as Swedish clothing company Acne, and this injects a whole new attitude into the designs – classic Liberty is printed onto leather and pieced together to create jackets with edge.


Cloud on the Horizon

*October Tech Talk by Sherry London. Each month Sherry brings The Textile Design Lab an in-depth post on how to improve our design process by using technology to its fullest capacity. This is an excerpt of a longer post available to members of The Textile Design Lab. Join us to access the full post!*


When Adobe announced the death of the Creative Suite in June 2013, there were gasps of outrage from all over the world. Many users vowed to find some other program to replace their Adobe addiction of choice and swore that they would never, never pay for subscription software.

It’s now 2014 and Adobe Cloud seems to be here to stay. There are no other suitable programs to replace Photoshop and Illustrator—especially if you do this for a living and need to share files with clients who only use those applications.

It is time to take another look at Adobe Cloud from a less impassioned stance of righteous indignation and see what it is all about.


Creative Cloud comes in three main ‘flavors’ that are useful for most designers.

  • Photography
  • Single App
  • Complete


The Photoshop/Lightroom plans gives a year subscription for $9.99 a month ($119.88 prepaid for year). You get access to both programs as well as any updates.

The single app subscription lets you choose the one application that you want and subscribe to it for $19.99 per month for a yearly plan. You also get access to the cloud features, 20GB Cloud storage, and a ProSite portfolio website.

The complete collection is $49.99 per month on a yearly subscription or $29.99 per month for the first year for people switching from CS3 or higher to the Creative Cloud. It allows you use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Premiere, and After Effects plus all of the other Creative Cloud apps. It also comes with 20BGB Cloud storage and a ProSite portfolio website.


Many myths surround the Creative Cloud:

  • Internet connections: you need to be connected to the internet only once a month or once every 90 days to verify your membership status. You don’t need a constant internet connection.
  • Files disappear: you files won’t disappear if you stop the subscription. Any file on your hard drive remains on your hard drive. You can still send it someone who does have the apps. You can still open the files if you have an earlier version of the program and you have saved your files in a compatible format that you can open on that earlier version.
  • Slow processing: This one tracks along with the internet myth. All desktop apps are installed on your local machine. They live on your machine exactly the same that the previous versions did. They are installed on your main drive and they run on your computer—not via the Cloud. So they are as fast, if not faster, than earlier versions.


I hear from a number of designers that they see no need to upgrade to Creative Cloud because their current software does everything they need. Maybe it does.

But it also might limit them from doing new things. Photoshop 3.0 under System 7 on the Mac was the first version that allowed for layers. That was a huge improvement. Assuming that I could have kept my Mac 9500 running and using System 7 this long, maybe I could have managed to this day on the $3500 extra I spent to get 64 MB of RAM (yep!!! Megabytes—not Gigabytes). But I would have lost a lot in productivity and my creative ability would have been severely limited by what the computer and the program could do.

If you already own CS6, you should be able to hang in there yet without being forced to upgrade to CC because your computer or operating system will no longer run it. Versions below CS6 will soon find that new operating systems might not run the older programs as well (and vice versa—if your computer is very old, then an update might not be possible for you).

In the cost/benefit analysis, you also should learn what, exactly, the new software can do for you that the older software could not.


Let’s look first at Illustrator and what each new version has added. Illustrator is the oldest of the Adobe programs. The team that writes Illustrator has been, traditionally, slow to change the program. So, what’s new?:


Illustrator CS2: This version introduced Live Trace and Live Paint. It allowed you to add strokes that weren’t centered and gave you access to some of Photoshop’s filters to be used in Illustrator. It also introduced the Control panel, custom workspaces, and support for Wacom tablets. You can find all the gory details if you want them at:



Illustrator CS3: This version brought you Live Color—the ability to alter colors on an image-wide basis and explore color harmonies. It gave you the ability to align points and to see anchor points more easily. The Control panel was improved, Isolation mode was introduced, and a new Eraser tool appeared. You also gained the ability to create and use New Document profiles.




Recolor Artwork


Illustrator CS4: For most designers, the debut of the Blob brush was probably the most-used new feature. However, it also gave you the ability to divide your images into multiple artboards, which made organization a lot easier. You could also add transparency to gradients. The Gradient Annotator also made its first appearance as did the ability to alter the appearance of an object directly through the Appearance panel.


customgradGradient Annotator

Illustrator CS5: The new features I most liked in CS5 were the variable width strokes and the Shape Builder tool. The Shape Builder tool was worth its weight in gold to me. Yes, I could use Pathfinder, but my goodness this was easier and faster! I also liked the new Bristle Brushes though they quickly added almost too much complexity to the image and made Illustrator bog down rather quickly. The brushes added a corner control that was really helpful to pattern designers. It also gave the first attempt at an easy way to join open paths.


bristlebrushCreated with Bristle brushes

Illustrator CS6: Though this version added a number of new features, the two big ones for pattern designers were gradients on strokes (finally) and a totally new pattern design subsystem. The pattern design command is a dream come true—for easy patterns—and makes it very quick to preview and evaluate patterns that are more complex if you’ve already built them. I was more excited by this feature than almost any new thing I can recall in Illustrator, but I find that when I use Illustrator, it’s often still easier to use the CS5 methods. In addition to these, Illustrator unveiled the new Image Trace function—a revised and somewhat improved version of Live Trace.




Pattern Maker


Now let’s see what has been added as of today to the five major Illustrator updates for Illustrator CC. Adobe now averages three major updates a year that add new functions.


Illustrator CC: For the first time since the launch of Illustrator in the late 1980’s, Adobe has added functionality to the basic tools in the program.

  • Pencil tool: You can now control how many points the tool leaves for a smoother path
  • Pen tool: Path segments can be reshaped with a new function by dragging them.
  • Curvature tool: This almost replaces the Pen tool—you can draw point to point and double-click to leave a corner and single click to leave a curve. You can change a corner to a curve and back with a click.
  • Join tool: Just what it says—and it works!
  • Live Shapes and Live Corners: you can create and control rounded corners and curvature even after the shape is fixed on the canvas

You can also use raster images in brushes. There have also been many performance enhancements as well.


Pencil tool


Live Corners


Curvature Tool




Bottom Line: Illustrator CC is far above CS6 with basic feature improvements. If you want to keep using CS5 or CS6, you can get some of the features with an excellent implementation in Astute Graphics plug-ins (http://astutegraphics.com)


Join us in The Textile Design Lab to continue reading this post and learn about the updates that have been made to Photoshop in Creative Cloud. Sherry also discusses the new mobile apps that integrate with Photoshop.