This week’s featured designer is the talented Jessica Wilde.
Jessica graduated from Birmingham City University in 2008 with a degree in Woven Textile Design and went on to design wallpaper for five years for a manufacturer. Four years ago, she “took the slightly terrifying leap of going freelance” and started her own brand. When I asked Jessica about that, she shared: “My family have always been self-employed, so it felt natural that I’d go this way at some point (my dad is an ice cream man, slightly random but made for many adventures and time for drawing when I was younger!).”
Look at this piece that Jessica has shared with us. She explains: “This is a selection of my latest work inspired by botanicals and the concept of Biophilia. After working freelance for 3 years, last year I went back to uni to do a part-time in MA Textile Design. I’d been working commercially for a number of years and wanted to focus on developing the creativity and concept behind my work. ‘Biophilia’ refers to our innate need for nature, something I’m very passionate about. The design process involves nature photography, drawings in black finer, and abstract watercolors – all of which I combine digitally.”
Jessica was kind enough to tell us a bit more about her industry experiences in this short interview:
How do you think your experiences in the wallpaper industry affected the way you think about patterns?
Working as a wallpaper designer was a fantastic experience, and because it was a manufacturer I learnt about the production side too. I also saw the early days of digital printing, and how that came to change the industry and market dramatically. From a pattern aspect, while in industry I got to work on some incredibly varied design briefs, and learnt how to adapt to different styles, requirements, and had to be constantly aware of production constraints. When I started designing for myself and different markets it was quite an adjustment. At first, I really had to think outside the box—it was all so sudden! I soon started embracing the creative freedom, though, and I got back into my drawing and worked on my technical knowledge beyond just wallpaper. I still design wallpaper, but love being able to design for a full range of products now.
How are you currently marketing your work? How are clients finding you?
I find that Instagram, LinkedIn, and my website work the best for me for online marketing and finding new clients. Recently, as my own brand grows and I’m exhibiting at larger trade and retail shows, I find it often leads to new clients and collaborations, despite the purpose being to market my work. I believe that seeing your designs working as a range of products can be attractive to a potential client. It’s something tangible; you’ve tested your concept commercially and you always have an awareness of what the market is doing. I think it’s also important to clearly communicate your niche and passion behind your work—which can be tough to do, as it’s often quite a journey. However, refining your offering over time helps build a reputation and attract work that aligns with your brand.
I am so inspired by your decision to go back to school to get your MA. How has that experience affected the work that you are producing and your outlook on your business?
I’m doing the MA part time over 2 years and it’s very much linked to my business practice and the development of a new body of work and products. I’m two-thirds of the way through the course and have found my work has changed quite a lot! It has also encouraged me to explore the concept behind my work in far more depth, and I’ve become fascinated by biophilia (our innate need for nature) and biophilic design. Overall, my work has generally become a lot more experimental and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to try new techniques and be part of a creative group. I’ve also been planning where I want to take my business in the years to come, as there are industry applications I’ve never considered before. All of this is very exciting to me and important in the development of my ideas, and in taking my business further.
You can learn more about Jessica at her website: www.jessicawilde.co.uk.
From Pattern Observer Studio
This week’s Repeat Downbeat post is all about unique interpretations of one of the most popular motifs…the circle.
The circle patterns we are featuring today are not your classic polka circle. Each pattern features something unique—maybe a texture, maybe a unique layout style, or perhaps the addition of a second motif. These patterns push the idea of a classic circle pattern forward, but maintain the entertaining whimsy of many circle or bubble patterns that we are used to seeing.
I designed this circle pattern as a part of prairie-inspired collection that I created for the Pattern Observer studio. I was inspired by nail patterns found in old pieces of lumber and created this dot motif, which I used within a larger circular shape. I added one color texture to enhance the worn and weathered appearance of the pattern and dismantled the layout to add interest and variation.
Pattern by Alexandra Michiardi
Using circles within unique layout styles is such a fun way to experiment with this classic pattern style. This is exactly what drew me to this pattern by Alexandra Michiardi. Alexandra is a
French designer based out of Sheffield, UK who is a part of our Textile Design Lab. The movement that she created with this free-flowing layout is compelling, especially when combined the texture and layered circle motifs.
Pattern by Milena Zdravkova
Texture also plays a key role in this pattern by Milena Zdravkova, a Textile Design Lab member based in London. Milena created this piece in our Surface Pattern Design Mastery course while studying the most popular layout styles used in the industry. The washed out color palette and texture work together to tell a really compelling story and turn what could have been a simple pattern into something that is so much more. I also appreciate that Milena used a variety of different circle shapes and sizes, which fits with the more organic texture and color palette chosen for this design.
Pattern by Brook Gossen
The addition of texture also plays a key role in this charming circle pattern by Brook Gossen. But what makes this pattern so special is the gold semicircle motif that is sprinkled throughout the layout in such a charming fashion. Brook is a really talented designer who is one half of @shopmorethanever, which is a wonderful shop featuring beautiful bedlinens and prints. I highly recommend checking it out if you are ready to up your bed linen game.
Sketchbook by @jennimaensivu
I’m wrapping up this week’s Repeat Downbeat with this inspiring sketchbook photo from designer @jennimaensivu. Jenni is a Helsinki-based Textile Design student with a deep passion for fabrics, drawing, sewing, and sculpting. This piece was a creative exercise that Jenni worked through while trying to clear her head after turning in her final thesis. I love the addition of the semicircle motifs and all the various marks and textures that are a part of each circle shape. It’s a dynamic piece that is exciting and comforting at the same time.
Want to explore more classic pattern styles? Download our free Surface Pattern Design Layout Chart here.
Today I am proud to feature a Pattern Observer alumnus, Molly Fitzpatrick. I met Molly about five years ago in one of our marketing workshops. Since that time, it has been a joy to see all that she has accomplished.
Molly Fitzpatrick is the Founder and Creative Director of DittoHouse – modern, bold textiles for the happy modern house. She lives and works in Cleveland, OH and has designed textiles for a wide variety of clients in a number of markets, including major airlines, home furnishings, and baby accessories. Her work has been featured in Dwell, Interior Design Magazine, Architectural Digest Mexico, and Design Milk, among others. Recently, Molly’s work was included in Dwell Magazine’s The Best of New York Design Week.
When you ask Molly about her work she lights up: “I am endlessly inspired by the Op Art movement; I love emoji language and Inuit printmaking. I have a true enjoyment of patterns and love all the rhythms and repeats I see, hear, and feel in my surroundings and myself. I aim to design with this appreciation in celebration.”
Molly studied textiles at the Cleveland Institute of Art and worked in a textile mill where she learned all about textile production and design. She began working as a textile design consultant after she left the mill and then launched DittoHouse, her brand of home textiles.
I’m confident that you’ll love the Q&A that I had with Molly.
What inspired you to start DittoHouse?
When I had my son Malachi in 2014, I wanted to make everything so special for him. I designed a graphic, as well as a cute black and white polar bear blanket and put a picture of my new baby laying on it on social media. So many people wrote me to ask where I got the blanket from that I thought ah-ha! A year later, when Malachi turned one, I launched my first collection of bold graphic blankets and pillow covers that feature textile designs that are engaging and interesting; designs that will look at home in any modern house!
With my background being in textile manufacturing, it was important to me to make my products ethically. I found a family run mill here in America that could work with me to make beautiful products. To date, I have released 5 collections since my 2015 launch and am working on a new collection to release early next year.
What has been the most challenging aspect of having your own product line?
My product line came as the third facet of my business, after my existing textile design consulting, and textile design licensing businesses, so there was so much to learn! Figuring out everything from shipping internationally to selling wholesale to marketing has been interesting, but the most challenging aspect for me is staying organized. I have many projects in motion and need to meet tight deadlines while dealing with the everyday details of owning a product based business—like packing and shipping orders and answering emails.
How do most of your clients find you? How are you currently marketing your client services?
Most of my clients and customers find me on Instagram, which is one of my strongest marketing tools. Not only do customers of my product line find me there, but the platform is also wonderful to find like-minded brands to collaborate with on custom textile designs. I also delight in any opportunity to be featured on blogs and in magazines to get more eyes on my products! I take many different photos of my products every few months so that I always have fresh content to share on social media, and with blogs and magazines.
You can see more of Molly’s beautiful work at http://www.dittohouse.com/ and http://mollyfitzpatrickstudio.com/.
Pattern by Molly Vizesi
I confess, I am sooo excited to dive into the holiday season, but I am trying my best to live in the moment and enjoy this downtime before the festivities begin. That’s why this week we are taking the time to celebrate Fall – in all its glory – both here and on the blog and social media. I have chosen a stunning collection of Fall inspired patterns from our #patternobserver feed and I am excited to share them with you throughout the week.
I really love this pattern by Molly Vizesi. The yellow and orange motifs are classic fall colors, however, the addition of the soft pinks and blues make this a more memorable colorway. The layering and overlapping of motifs also brings such a nice energy to the pattern.
Pattern by Jenny Edwards
I was also drawn to the color palette and layering of motifs in this pattern from Jenny Edwards. The play between the orange, pink, red, and green is so intriguing. In this photo, she is showing us a doodled, tropical print, which started on the iPad and later became a featured fabric swatch for her Surtex booth.
Illustration by Kate Blairstone
This show stopper of an illustration is by Kate Blairstone. Kate is an Illustrator, Wallpaper Designer, Colorist, and Mom based in Portland, Oregon. The luscious color palette was the first thing to catch my eye, but I was really attracted to the bold scale and illustration style of these Fall-inspired motifs. The usage of the various motifs and colors that are so well balanced also brings a lovely movement to the layout.
Pattern by Amanda Kay
Amanda Kay is a lovely illustrator who I just started following on Instagram. Her illustrations and patterns are slightly abstract and heavily detailed and layered with various motifs, marks, and textures. I was drawn to the color palette that she used and the added details, which give the pattern a slightly more festive holiday vibe.
There I go again…back to the holidays. I just can’t help myself, I am ready for them! If you want to shake up your design process and bring new sources of inspiration to your work I encourage you to get started with our free 5-Day Design Shake Up. Get started here.
Patterns by Sophia Frances
This week’s Repeat Downbeat is inspired by the final product that so many of us textile and surface pattern designer’s spend hours envisioning—fabric yardage. As we design our patterns it is hard not to envision the yards and yards of printed fabrics that will someday be turned into a beautiful product that will bring joy to someone’s life, inspire, or delight.
I love seeing yards and yards of patterns. By this time, there has already been endless time and energy invested into the design by the textile designer and printer, but there are still questions about what will become of the yardage. Will it be a dress that’s worn on the first day of school? Or maybe a quilt that gets passed down for generations?
This week I am excited to share a few photographs of fabric yardage that were recently shared in our #patternobserver Instagram feed. What future products or uses do you see for these fabrics? I see endless potential!
Pattern collection by Krista Engler
The first photo to catch my eye was this collection by designer Sophia Frances. Sophia is a London-based surface pattern designer who designs bold and colorful fabric collections and stylish homeware products. Sophia’s painterly designs are created using watercolors and inks. Her signature style is colorful, confident, and has intricate kaleidoscopic details. When I saw this collection I was struck by the simple motifs paired with the sophisticated use of texture and color. Each pattern is simply stunning and I can see these patterns being used in a variety of home decor products.
I was then delighted to find this amazing collection by Krista Engler. Krista Engler is a designer and artist living and working in Charleston, SC. I love the powerful story that this collection tells, despite the fact that they all appear to be two color patterns. It’s tempting to keep adding more and more colors to our work, but I think this is a great example of a strong collection that uses colors in a minimal way. Krista will soon be selling this collection on fabric by the yard, pillows, towels, and more so keep an eye for more to come!
Pillows by Sue Henry
This magical piece is by Artist Sue Henry. Sue opened her first home goods business after years of working as a ceramic artist building life-size (and larger) figurative work and fountains in California. I was drawn to the rich and regal color palette used in the pattern, which has been sewn into a pillow. The combination of the stamped texture with the thick and textural embroidery make me want to scoop up yards and yards of this fabric and run away to create a magical space in my home.
If you are a fan of hand crafted textiles in yummy colorways, I highly recommend following Yetunde Rodriguez.
Pattern by Yaytoonday
Yetunde is a prolific designer who creates a seemingly never-ending supply of prints, patterns, and printed accessories. And I love them all! Her work has such a wonderful energy and rhythm to it and it is uplifting in a subtle and gentle way.
Thanks to all of these designers for sharing their work and process with us on Instagram. I’m curious, do you think about the final product as you are designing your patterns? In the Textile Design Lab we try to think about the final product when we feel overwhelmed by too many design ideas, or when we are lacking direction and don’t know how to get started. It’s a great way to break out of design overwhelm and get inspired. I look forward to reading what you envision as you are working through the design process in the comments below.