Featured Designer: Marina Oliveira of Cottonflower Studio

unnamed-8unnamed-2unnamed-6Marina Oliveira is a surface pattern designer and illustrator who lives in Brazil with her husband, her three cats and a dog. She graduated in architecture and worked for ten years as an interior designer with business jets for an aircraft company. She has since decided to change paths and fell in love with surface pattern design and illustration. She now creates under the label of Cottonflower Studio.

“My style is very whimsical and naturalistic with a focus on botanical and floral collections. Still, I love the challenge of focusing on different subjects now and then. What is very important for me, is the structure and shapes of the object that I am focusing on. It needs to be interesting to be represented in a pattern. This must be due to my architecture background.

I usually work within a theme, I created by myself or by a client. I gather inspiration by collecting information for a moodboard. This is when it takes most of my time, to understand what I expect from the new collection. And then I draw, draw, draw… until dawn. This is when I usually forget about everything else! Love this part!

Next step I digitalize, colorize and, at the end, I create pattern for ultimate adjustments.”

Visit Marina at www.cottonflowerstudio.com or on Instagram @cottonflowerstudio.

Enjoy the weekend!!

Featured Designer: Rashmi Rao


Hi! My name is Rashmi Rao, a passionate fine artist, graphic designer and an art educator based out of Dublin, California. I love design, smell of paper, crumpled paint tubes & chai. Everything handmade and original dazzles me. I’m a maker. I love to make things with my hands. Nature, Indian heritage and the world of design around me are some key elements that influence my work. My design style is a blend of east & west with ethnic motifs infused to fit the modern contemporary taste. Colors, patterns & textures empower and inspire me while children, people & cultures kindle fresh perspectives on my palette. Today, my main focus is designing wedding stationery, textile design & teaching art to children. A perfect day to me is doing experimental art, listening to music, taking a stroll with my husband, toddler & dog and delicious eating!


“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”—Pablo Picasso

Only having the confidence to break the rules, making those amazing & interesting mistakes, leads you to creating a beautiful stunning piece of art! As an artist & designer, I have always found that a right creative approach is vital in making good art & design. Over years of practice, study and continued education, I have compiled a process that works best for my art & design projects. I begin the creative process by carefully analyzing and considering the aesthetic choices in composition and execution of the design. Jotting down ideas in a sketchbook and drawing thumbnails are very critical to me. Texture, color, form, line and space play a primary role when I combine layered techniques to add depth and dimension to an artwork. Some of my recent work includes creating experimental art using innovative digital techniques on hand drawn paintings as well as creating patterns in Adobe Illustrator to serve the print stationery, home décor and quilting industry. With a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Chemistry Major) coupled with certifications and experiences as an artist, graphic designer & cosmetologist has shown me the value of the creative process, and I believe that this awareness has only strengthened my artistic identity. Every moment, I strive to grow and discover other facets of my self. I invite you to visit my website to see my work as an artist and art educator. I hope you enjoy looking through my work. Please feel free to contact me with questions and comments, or just to say namasté. If you are interested in any of my designs or have a specific brief you would like me to work on I would love to hear from you.


Rashmi has created a beautiful tutorial for our Textile Design Lab Summer of Creativity course, in which she shares her process in creating mandala motifs and fun textures, and finally combining the two to make a visually compelling piece of artwork. You can join the Lab here to have access to the post when it is released on Friday.

See more from Rashmi at www.rashmi-rao.com.

To Trade Show or Not to Trade Show by Four Corners Art Collective

It’s an honor to welcome Four Corners Art Collective to the blog for this three-part guest post series on the workings of their collective, from its formation to their experiences at trade shows like Surtex and Premiere Vision. Read part one HERE.



Jules and Pippa enjoying a coffee at Premiere Vision

One of the key reasons we decided to form our art collective, Four Corners, was so we could share the risk and costs of exhibiting at trade shows. Once we’d chosen our name, designed our logo and launched our website, we turned our attention to the big question: which trade shows?

In September 2015, we had a Skype call to discuss whether we would exhibit at Surtex in 2016. It’s a big expense and the timing wasn’t right for everyone but Beth, Emma, Kevin and Jocelyn decided to go for it. As it turned out, all seven of us ended up exhibiting at a major trade show this year.

First was Jane, who made her debut at Premiere Vision in Paris in January.

Jane: “There’s no right or wrong way to approach selling at trade shows and I feel lucky that the collective has tried a few different approaches so we’re able to share each other’s experiences.

“My route was to test the waters before diving in. So instead of going to Surtex, I showed 50 fabric samples at Premiere Vision in Paris via the not-for-profit Scottish Textile Collective, Collect, who exist solely to nurture and support new Scottish textile talent.

“It was my responsibility to have each design printed on to fabric and then to trim them and add headers before passing to Collect. I paid for printing and also a small fee to Collect towards the cost of exhibiting.”

In February, Julie was signed by Cinnamon Joe Studios, which meant she would now be exhibiting in New York in May 2016 too, but at Blue Print rather than Surtex.

Julie: “Blue Print was set up by my agent, Cinnamon Joe Studios, as a cheaper alternative to exhibiting in New York. Blue Print is a boutique show, with a more intimate atmosphere. The other major difference between the two shows is that companies come to Blue Print to buy designs outright. Surtex is a licensing show, so there’s less expectation to make sales at the show.

“Because I’m part of an agency, all the costs of the booth, printing and promotion was covered by them, so I didn’t have all the decision-making and to-do lists or the financial outlay the others were coping with. I could just concentrate on making new work. In the months running up to the show I pulled together 50 collection sheets for my agent to print for the show.

“I didn’t even need to attend – my agent presented my work to buyers on my behalf. But I couldn’t resist the chance to fly out to New York and see my work on display at Blue Print, and also to visit the rest of the collective at their Surtex booth.”



Pippa in her booth at Blue Print

Meanwhile, in February, Pippa found out she had won the Blue Print Young Designer Competition so now she was preparing to exhibit in New York in May too!

Pippa: “I only had three months to get ready, which was an extraordinary experience. Fortunately I had an idea of the amount of organization involved from the conversations that Emma, Beth, Jos and Kevin were having about Surtex. Some decisions were easier because I didn’t have to consult with everyone, but at other times I wished I had the team to share the big decisions with.

“For three months I lived my life according to the longest to-do list I’ve ever written, organized by completion date and priority: banners were designed, fliers made and sent out, a Blurb portfolio book designed and printed to showcase my licensing work, lots of new patterns designed and printed on to sell sheets, emails sent to art directors, social media updated daily, fabric printed to make bunting, pouches and pillows.

“To this day, I am still amazed that it all came together in time.”


Kevin, Beth, Jocelyn and Emma in the Four Corners booth at Surtex.

Meanwhile, the four collective members who’d decided back in September to exhibit at Surtex were deep in their own preparations.

Kevin: “Really from September onwards it was a mad dash to get enough work together. We read articles and blog posts from previous attendees, but it was still a huge unknown.”

Jocelyn: “It was great to share the cost and organizing with the group. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to exhibit at Surtex without an agent: advertising, promotional material, banners, booth, products, furniture, displays, Blurb books etc.”

Beth: “There were plenty of freak out moments and it was nice to have each other. There was always someone with a level head that could talk the other down.”

Emma: “We sent out a lot of press releases and fliers throughout the run up to the show and got a lot of coverage as a result. I’d say really investigate free editorial opportunities and find an interesting angle to write about. People really responded to the fact that we’d all met online and that we were coming to New York from all four corners of the world, to meet for the first time!”

As the show got closer, Beth, Jocelyn, Kevin and Emma were having regular Skype calls, working late into the night and making endless decisions. Tasks included:

  • Deciding on booth size
  • Finding and booking flights and accommodation
  • Deciding where to advertise
  • Designing and writing adverts
  • Writing and sending press releases
  • Designing show fliers and sending them to blogs such as Print & Pattern and Pattern Observer!
  • Getting products and fabric swatches made
  • Designing and ordering the banners for our booth
  • Planning our booth layout and deciding on additional furniture
  • Filling in insurance forms and other show admin
  • Reading hundreds of pages of (impenetrable) show manual
  • Chasing up show organizers for answers to questions – and chasing again!
  • Designing handouts and giveaways and getting them printed
  • Putting together press packs
  • Going through the attendees list and contacting companies to set up appointments
  • Naming and numbering every design and collection
  • Designing Blurb books and laying up collection sheets
  • Not to mention continuing to make new work!

Kevin: “We made lists of everything we’d need at the show so everyone knew what to bring. We had our banners printed in the US and shipped to Beth in Chicago, who shipped them on to our hotel in New York. Emma brought lampshade kits with her from the UK and we set up the booth on the Friday and Saturday, and made our display lampshades on site.”

Emma: “I think one of the biggest challenges was figuring out our booth banners so they represented our individual portfolios of work but also looked good together. There were moments when I’m sure it would have been easier not to be making collective decisions, but they never outweighed the comfort of knowing that we were going to sink or swim together!”

Next week, in our final blog post, we’ll reveal what each show was like, what we’d do differently next time, and how things have gone post-show.

About Four Corners Art Collective

Four Corners is an international collective of seven surface pattern designers creating fresh, modern patterns for products and publications. Our work is available to license or buy outright and can be applied across markets – bolt fabrics, apparel, home décor, gift, stationery, quilting, and more. Clients include: Hallmark, The Guardian Newspaper, Dashwood Studio, Workman Publishing, Michael O’Mara Books, Proctor & Gamble, American Flat, and Leap Year Publishing.

Featured Designer: Esther Shavon of E’FLOMAE

Featured Designer: Esther Shavon of E’FLOMAE on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/05/featured-designer-esther-shavon-eflomae/

Esther Shavon recently founded her surface design studio, E’FLOMAE, and will be debuting her colorful abstract designs at Printsource New York next week, from August 9-10. If you are attending the show, check her out in booth #C20!

“I am currently taking appointments to view my work at Printsource and throughout the week. I will be available for appointments in New York all that week! I’m really excited to explore the tradeshow experience and looking forward to making new connections!”



A bit about me, I am self taught both in photography and surface design. I spent 16 years in the healthcare profession but I have always natured my creative side. I was constantly stopping to stare and daydream at the tiniest things: a texture on a rock here, the intricate weaving of tree bark there. I grew fascinated with the most minuscule found patterns on some of the most overt objects. I started to wonder: Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could take the minute shapes and lines that seemed to mesmerize me, and create them on a larger scale?

I started taking pictures with my phone and when my vision grew larger that my technical availability, I started researching everything I could find relating to macro, or large scale print and patterns, and how to make my visions reality. That’s when I bought a professional camera, took every workshop that sounded interesting and just jumped in and started playing with the settings on my camera. I was making patterns even before I knew there was a surface design profession out there. That all started about 10 years ago, and now I live and breathe color, pattern, and design!

Featured Designer: Esther Shavon of E’FLOMAE on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/05/featured-designer-esther-shavon-eflomae/


I am a fine art photographer and it definitely shapes how I view the world. I am forever in search for organic lines, shapes, and direction of movement, and constantly explore how all these elements are affected in relation to light, shadow, and scale. I usually have some sort of camera with me and I am forever taking pictures of everything…food, door knobs, the texture of my hair, any that makes me stop and stare. Even though I am constantly taking pictures, my mantra is: Take pictures of things that make you smile! I get really engaged and focused while exploring a subject with my photography. I and can easily spend 40 min to an hour at a time on one single subject.

The majority of my designs derive from my original photography. I am drawn in by a certain aspect, line, pattern or shape and that guides the direction of my patterns. The rest of my designs are a combination of ideas from hand drawn images from my sketchbook. The journey is a multifold process that can pretty much be full of surprises upon the end result; but I always keep that initial element of the original photograph in the forefront of my creative process when designing each pattern. I often have the original photo handy to keep my initial inspiration focus at the center of my design process. It also helps to re-spark the creative mojo if I get stuck in a rut for ideas.

Featured Designer: Esther Shavon of E’FLOMAE on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/05/featured-designer-esther-shavon-eflomae/


I have a distinct style of bold abstractions from organic elements with a modern twist. I welcome bright bold colors and lots of energy in my work. Two things that you see repeatedly in my designs are bold abstractions and modern floral prints. I am obsessed with wildflowers! These two themes rock my world and I am constantly exploring how to integrate both in various styles and upcoming trends.


Visit Esther’s website or her Instagram or Facebook page page to see more of her work. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Spotlight on Lala Print Studio

Lala Print Studio featured on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/04/lala-print-studio/Lala Print Studio featured on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/04/lala-print-studio/ Lala Print Studio featured on Pattern Observer https://patternobserver.com/2016/08/04/lala-print-studio/

Textile Design Lab members Lisa and Larissa (a.k.a. Lala Print Studio) are a wonderful example of a collaborative textile design partnership and it is always a joy to see what the pair creates. Together they have put together a thought-provoking new training on on how to creatively acquire customers, as part of our Summer of Creativity course in the Lab. They have some great tips for finding clients in your local community and beyond! You can join the Lab here to have access to the post when it is released tomorrow. For now we invite you to get to know a bit about Lisa and Larissa and their business, Lala Print Studio.


“We are Lisa and Larissa, two childhood friends, who paired up to color your world under the LalaPrint name.

Despite our distance, we work closely together, bouncing off each other’s ideas, mixing our graphic and organic styles to create balanced original pieces according to our customer’s desires, and the relevant latest trends.

Larissa has a background in marketing, but is an artist by heart since her first years. Originally from Brazil, but citizen of the world by soul. Trained by the school of surface design of Pomerode, Larissa draws inspiration from her surroundings, the chaos of the big city, and the tranquility of the ocean a few blocks away. She has a hand for graphic, structured prints, constantly hand drawing, and experimenting with markers and colored pencils.

Lisa is a fashion designer by training, lover of the world by heart. Originally from Brazil, she is definitely a citizen of the world as well. She studied at FIT, and interned at CSM, but believes that true learning comes from experiments. She finds inspiration in her travelings, as she is hardly more than a year in the same place. Lisa has a hand for organic prints. Watercolor and ink are her favorite tools to use.

Lalaprint comes from finding our individual and cooperative creative spaces and from exploring the lives, dreams of people and the natural design of all things surrounding us.”

Learn more at http://www.lalaprintstudio.com/.

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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.