Featured Designer: Diane Sullivan

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Diane Sullivan’s path to surface design started with a formal education in clinical social work and a background as a potter for a number of years. Diane grew up in a rural community in upstate New York where she spent most of her free time in the outdoors, and gained a deep appreciation for the changing seasons.

“From a very early age, I have had an affinity for collecting and creating in nature. My camera and sketchbook are always with me for my outdoor adventures. During a hike, I “might” be known to fill my pockets with seed pods, feathers, stones, sticks, and anything else that might make its way into my art. I also love to leave behind nature collages made up of a variety of findings in the woods. My early creative years included a lot of nature and landscape photography.”

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As a self-taught surface pattern designer, with no prior knowledge of Illustrator or Photoshop, Diane describes how her “road to creating patterns came out of a desire to want to take some of my photography and create a single piece of fabric for use in some home decor projects. Once I created my first repeat pattern, I was “hooked.”


“All of my surface designs start with a hand drawn sketch. I am currently working in Illustrator to create my surface designs. I am deeply inspired by my love of nature and the changing seasons. Many of my patterns are a collections of motifs derived from my observations of texture and pattern in nature. 

My goal is to be doing surface design work full time. I hope to one day be creating fabric lines and home decor products.”

Please visit Surtex booth #2936 where Diane will be exhibiting with the Pattern Heads Collective. You can also view more of her lovely nature-inspired work at dianesullivandesigns.com.

A “Lasso Portfolio”: How to Draw Agents In


In the world of textile designers, the definition of frustration is: trying to determine which patterns to show in your portfolio and where they should be shown. This is an overwhelming and frustrating experience for many that leaves you mentally tangled up and stumbling to decide what to do.

As a mentor, portfolio curation is a difficult topic to cover because there is no one size fits all solution. There is no one perfect portfolio template for all designers, and there is no one perfect portfolio curation formula for all designers. This plight is where the frustration begins. You see, depending on your style as a designer, you might need a different variety of patterns within your portfolio from someone else. This type of individuality is both the joy and frustration of creativity!

As designers, we want our passion, experiences, and talent to shine through in our portfolio. This is how we attract clients, agents, or just anyone…But how can we package a lifetime of experiences into a few website pages?

Sonya Percival came to the Art of Portfolio Curation with an amazing body of work. She was born in St. Petersburg to a family of artists and has worked in a variety of media over the years, such as analogue photography, 35mm and medium format, digital collages, sketching, printing, jewelry, and pottery. All before coming to textile design.


Through her textile design work, Sonya uses watercolor, ink, pencils, gouache, wax, and charcoal to explore her major sources of inspiration. These inspirational sources include: flowers, plants, and the Great Lakes.

Her work is breathtaking and emotive; her passion for nature comes through in every piece she creates. Not everyone knew this right away, though!

Before taking the Art of Portfolio Curation, Sonya Percival found herself struggling with what so many designers do—including myself—which was how to attract the agents that would definitely love her work.

According to Sonya, “I couldn’t decide what principle to choose for organizing my works, it seemed quite an overwhelming task.” Skilled and talented individuals like Sonya were the inspiration behind the Textile Design Lab creating the Art of Portfolio Curation course.

Sonya-Portfolio-Pattern-ObserverAfter working through this 5-week course, Sonya now has a clear and well-structured print portfolio. “The online class taught me how to curate and organize, and currently my selection of works is presented much better. I believe the audience responded to this, as I received two offers from agencies to work on a consignment basis.

“The class gives you very clear step-by-step instructions and ideas on how to better structure the content and how to curate, so it becomes so much clearer, less stressful, and, eventually, quite manageable.”

With a lifelong passion for the arts and a well curated portfolio by her side, Sonya hopes to continue to grow her business by working with a studio or agent on a full-time basis. She’d love to license her art to make it her main source of income. Making money doing what you love—this is something that creative people are always excited about! A well-structured portfolio that represents the best of your creative work is a powerful way to draw agents in that would love to do business with you.

Find out more about Sonya at her website: http://www.sonyapercival.com/

Ready to discover a step-by-step to help you curate your portfolio with ease? The Art of Portfolio Curation course runs from May 22, 2017 – June 23, 2017. Grab your spot here.






Featured Designer: Meredith Desmond


We are excited to continue our Surtex features with the stunning work of designer Meredith Desmond. I am really drawn to the unique and colorful ways in which Meredith has interpreted so many classic, and marketable, designs.

“A lifelong lover of design and pattern, I graduated with a BA in Studio Art with a focus on serigraphy and painting from UT Austin. Following graduation, I traveled to Guatemala and Thailand where I developed a lifelong love of global prints and textiles. I then moved to NYC where I spent years designing home decor, bedding and all things room-related before landing at Coach. At Coach I was the Sr. Designer of Print and Pattern as well as Women’s Woven Scarves. Now in Colorado, I continue to assist various brands in achieving their design goals through my freelance contracts, while enjoying Colorado’s mountain environment in my free time. Through Magpie Moon, I continue to express my passion for print and pattern, dedicating my energy and talents to creating fun and fresh patterns to be lovingly set loose into the world.”


“I am continually inspired by the world’s textiles and also the creative process in general. I love to take my love for, say, Mayan textiles, and reinterpret them in my own way starting with hand drawing, block printing, and/or watercolor and then taking them into Photoshop and Illustrator and seeing what new life they’ll take on in the digital world. My prints are truly a morphing of many inspirations and processes- with my main intent to create something that gives me joy and, hopefully, others too! I find a world full of beautiful patterns stimulating and enriching and I want to share that with the world”


“I am continually inspired by the loving and open nature of our field. I love that we have evolved to a place of support and companionship over guardedness and frightful competition. The current environment is so motivating, encouraging and, again, INSPIRING!”

Please visit Meredith Desmond at Surtex booth # is 3336 in the Design District or at her website www.magpiemoondesign.com



Featured Designer: Kelly Kratzing


Surtex is just around the corner–are you attending? If so,  you won’t want to miss the beautiful new designs by surface pattern designer and illustrator Kelly Kratzing. The Melbourne, Australia-based designer will be represented by Nerida Hansen Print and Textiles in booth #3017, where she will be exhibiting images “primarily inspired by the SS18 trends and Australian nature.”


Kelly’s work is often described as “classic with a modern twist, demonstrating a clean design with detail that makes it interesting and distinctive.” We couldn’t agree more!

Her background in biology influences her strong use of nature-inspired motifs, particularly anything distinctly Australian.


Kelly has always loved the saying “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” and finds it very useful to remember this in the surface pattern design industry. Wherever Kelly may find herself on that beginning to middle journey, we see a bright future ahead for this talented designer!

Visit www.kellykratzing.com, @kellykratzingdesigner on Instagram, or Surtex booth #3017 to see more.


Featured Designer: Jocelyn Proust



Surtex kicks off in just under a week, and Jocelyn Proust will be exhibiting there for the second time alongside her Four Corners Art Collective colleagues, Beth Schneider, Pippa Shaw and Emma McGowan. You may remember this talented crew from past posts detailing their trade show experiences here, here and here

After studying art at university, Jocelyn worked for a number of years as a graphic designer in advertising, marketing and publishing. Her surface design journey began while taking time out from full time employment when her children were young–“I felt the need to keep creating so I dabbled in many different things including fabric painting, ceramics and jewellery making. Working with different mediums has shaped the way I design now for different surfaces.

Since exhibiting at Surtex in 2016 I have licensed my work for stationery, calendars, homewares and fabric. I am looking forward to meeting new clients in 2017 and making new partnerships so I can share more of my art to the world!”




“Birds and flowers are a constant theme in my work! I always start designing by drawing or painting or using collage in my sketchbook. I then take those initial ideas into Illustrator or Photoshop and work them into finished pieces. I like to include my hand drawn linework as often as I can and I love playing with different palettes.”

These sweet, colorful designs have us totally inspired. If you find yourself equally as smitten, be sure to visit Four Corners Art Collective at Surtex booth #2723 or head on over to www.jocelynproustdesigns.com. Have a great week!


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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.