Featured Designer: Alexandra Michiardi

With the support of SURTEX, each month a new post will be highlighted on Pattern Observer, featuring the work of one of our Textile Design Lab members. This month we are thrilled to feature the work of TDL member Alexandra Michiardi. Alexandra joined the Textile Design Lab in October, 2017 and we were immediately took note of and were impressed with her passion for her craft, and her fresh use of color and texture. She is such a joy to have in the Textile Design Lab and we look forward to bringing her work to the SURTEX show in May.

Read on to learn more about Alexandra’s background and what drives her to create.


“Although I graduated in Science, I always wanted to be an artist. It was only two years after my PhD, at almost 30, that I decided to pursue my passion for art. I studied mostly painting, particularly portrait and human figure, but I was not ready to allow myself to be a painter. I had the impostor syndrome. Two countries, two businesses, and two children later, at 40, I decided it was time to do what I really want to do.

“For starters, I am pausing my Etsy shop (where I sell stamps for crafters under my brand méli-mélo) to give me permission to become a textile designer.

“Since I joined the Textile Design Lab in October last year, I have been working toward my goal, a couple of hours a day, every day, when my baby is sleeping. And I will have more time to work very soon! We just sold our house, where we have been living the past 6 years, so my husband could take a career break. We will be moving out of the UK in a few months. We don’t know where we will relocate yet, but we do know why we willdo it! He will take care of our children while I focus on my art and business.
I feel grateful and excited (and a bit scared too!) to get a real chance to make my dream come true.


“All the patterns seen in this post were created in the past four months, and most of them have been inspired by courses and challenges I have taken in the TDL.

“They are mostly abstract, bold, and colourful prints. I have used several techniques to create my motifs (drawing with china ink, stamping with foams, using cut out papers, acrylic paint, and sprayed inks). Then I worked in Photoshop (I promise I will learn Adobe Illustrator this year!), mostly playing with layers, textures and of course colours!

“I aim to have a professional website and portfolio to start reaching out for my first clients later this year. I would love to work with ethical and sustainable brands who contribute to make the world a better place.
I want to be able to play with colours, shapes, and textures every day from anywhere in the world (we have big travel plans as a family this year), and make a living from my artwork. And I think the universe is conspiring to help me succeed!”

See more from Alexandra on Instagram and be sure to sign up for SURTEX’s newsletter here. I send out helpful content through their newsletter each and every month.

Print Studio Workgroup

This past Fall, I had the wonderful opportunity to work through the Textile Design Lab’s first “Print Studio Workgroup.”

Textile Design Lab members who had a professional online portfolio developed—and who were interested and ready to work with print studios and agents—were invited to join me for this four-week journey. We met once a week during that time and the participants went through the process of:

  • Researching studios in the marketplace;
  • Making small updates to their website;
  • Preparing marketing materials;
  • And, eventually reaching out to print studios for representation.

The workgroup was a wonderful experience for many, and many of the participants were also able to land freelance positions with the studios they contacted.

Here are just a few of the Textile Design Lab members who took part in the workgroup and stayed active and engaged throughout the entire process!


(L) Pattern by Anni Wernicke (R) Pattern by Dora Font

(L) Pattern by Anni Wernicke (R) Pattern by Dora Font

Anni Wernicke

Anni Wernicke has a background in fine arts and graphic design, which has trained her eye for color, form, and composition. Her design process usually begins with hand painted or drawn elements, and she uses a wide variety of techniques, which are developed further into textile patterns with Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. While trend driven, her designs are inspired by folk art, vintage design, and nature. They are elegant, often with a touch of whimsy. Anni’s focus is women’s fashion, but she is happy to design for other markets.

Anni is continuing her search for the perfect agent or studio for her work. You can learn more about her work here.

Dora Font

Dora Font, founder of Dora Yvonne Textiles, is influenced by the lush tropical plants and nature that surround her, as well as the diverse culture in south Florida.  “I love using lots of texture and color, as well as playing with negative and positive space. When I am working on my art, I am in the moment, which is very meditative.” Dora combines hand drawn art, doodles, and photos in her work, using digital tools on the computer.

Dora was formerly trained in textile design at the University of Massachusetts and has committed to extensive continued education at the Textile Design Lab. During high school in Massachusetts, she had the opportunity to work under batik artist Betsy Johnson for several years, using the wax and dyeing process to create silk and cotton scarves.

This last year she won two competitions with her pattern designs and also had her designs featured in several advertisements.

Dora is continuing her search for the perfect agent or studio for her work. You can learn more about her work here.


(L) Pattern by Elena Skvirskaya (R) Pattern by Lina Thuresson

(L) Pattern by Elena Skvirskaya (R) Pattern by Lina Thuresson

Elena Skvirskaya

Elena Skvirskaya is originally from Russia. After finishing school she moved to Israel, where she studied Art History (BA). Art theory made her curious about the process of making art. That’s when she took her first drawing classes. This hobby became more serious and brought her to New York to study Painting (MFA).

“About 5 years ago I had become interested in Textile Design in attempt to find more commercial application for my painting skills. I really fell in love with creating patterns and I was looking for ways to become more professional and turn it into a career. That’s when I joined the Textile Design Lab, which helped me to gain the necessary technical skills and get inspired. I felt supported and encouraged by a big community of talented designers. Recently, I signed with the print studio as a freelance designer. This is my first experience of being out there and trying to find my place in the real world of textile design. Very challenging…but hopefully I will find my way.”

Elena is currently working with White Buffalo Studio and you can learn more about her work here.

Lina Thuresson

Lina is a Swedish surface designer building her personal brand in the South of France after living in Providence and Boston, USA.

Having spent most of her career in Travel IT, she followed her dream to become a surface designer. After taking art classes and two online Textile Design courses with Central St. Martins, and various Creative Bug and Skillshare classes, she knew that patterns was the perfect path for her. Lina says that after signing up to the Textile Design Lab her designs and process were dramatically improved and she continues to find the lab continuously helpful. What she enjoys most about Textile Design Lab is the indispensable constructive feedback and support from experienced professionals and peers. This has made all the difference in her progression.

The endless possibilities of creating, the world of motives to draw, and different mediums to explore is what Lina loves the most and she finds the whole processes to be a true joy. Continuously learning about design and exploring creativity has given Lina that extra spark in life.

The stunning nature in the South of France combined with her Swedish heritage reveals itself as key influences in her work. Lina’s cheerful patterns are a mix of hand painted and Photoshop motifs, and she masters repeats.

Lina’s brand, Toile de Lina, is a French play on words of “toile de lin”, meaning a linen canvas. Lina continues to search for the perfect agent for her work. You can explore her portfolio here.


(L) Pattern by Poonkuzzhali PK (R) Pattern by Renea Gallagher

(L) Pattern by Poonkuzzhali PK (R) Pattern by Renea Gallagher

Poonkuzzhali PK

Poonkuzzhali PK is a Fashion and Textile Designer from Bangalore, India. She focuses on designing for women, kids, and home decor. Apart from surface design she also designs for womenswear, lifestyle,  interior products, and makes tech packs.

After graduating from Istituto Europeo Di Design, Milano, and with a decade of working with various fashion companies and designer labels, she continues to pursue her passion for art and design under her name PKP.

She now creates exclusive surface pattern designs for fashion and home decor. She is also available for custom and commissioned work. Poonkuzzhali PK follows trends closely and stays up to date on the international runway trends. Since she is from a country that has multitudes of cultures, she draws inspiration from the various customs and rituals of her home land.

She creates each and every design from scratch, experimenting with different techniques, hand drawings, paintings, and craft. To summarize, she loves her work and she always strives to the fullest to deliver artwork with the highest quality!

Poonkuzzhali PK is currently working with a studio, but continues to explore new opportunities in our marketplace. You can see more of her work here.


Renea Gallagher

Renea Gallagher is a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art with a BA in Communication Arts. She has worked as an Art Director for several years in design studios around the Chicagoland area.

Her love of design and fashion has drawn her to textile design. Renea’s designs have a strong modern palette and feel. She loves experimenting and mixing traditional techniques with modern digital effects to create unique eye-catching looks for the apparel market.

Renea resides in a suburb of Chicago with her husband Steve and two sons, Declan and Colin. In her free time she enjoys working out at barre classes and taking an occasional ballet class.

Renea is currently exploring all the different options available in the textile design marketplace. You can learn more about her work here.



Negin Maddock

Negin Maddock is an illustrator, surface designer, and printmaker from Sydney, Australia. She designs wallpapers and textiles for the interiors market, specializing in bespoke large scale murals, depicting botanical paintings, birds, and other animals. She also creates illustrated art prints, patterns, and handmade cards that she sells on Etsy. Her other passion is printmaking, anything from stamping, to linocut and etching. All of her work is beautifully hand illustrated with painstaking attention to detail. She takes a very technical approach to her art making, believing a deep understanding and knowledge of the subject matter are key to a successful design.

Negin is continuing her search for the perfect agent or studio for her work. You can learn more about her work here.


How about you? Are you ready to market your work to agents and studios, but are unsure of how to go about it? You’re not alone! When marketing your work to the right parties, your first step is to have an amazing portfolio of original artwork. But knowing how to curate and present this artwork in your online portfolio is also an essential part of the process. If you are unsure what you should include in your online portfolio, get started with our free Portfolio Development Guide Checklist. The information in here will give you an idea of what comes next—and from there, you can take the steps to achieve your goal!

Repeat Downbeat: Sun, Sand, and Good Times


(L) Pattern by Molly Vizes (R) Pattern by Amanda Rouse Letscher

I’ve been thinking about the stories that we tell through our print and pattern work for quite some time. This seems to be a theme (concept) I cannot get away from, although I confess that most of my work is abstract and doesn’t tell much of a story. But, perhaps out of admiration, I am obsessed with other designer’s work that tells a story and how the perfect pairing of motifs can create a deep connection with consumers. It amazes me that by simply adding a 2nd or 3rd motif to our art, us designers can tell a much more memorable story for those who are viewing our work. Each motif is a new character in our pattern story, allowing us to go deeper into the narrative we are creating. I recognize that I might be over-thinking this, but the concept amazes me and this week I looked at all the beautiful work in our #patternobserver Instagram feed and pulled the patterns that I thought successfully told a story of sun, sand, and good times.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

This pattern from Molly Vizes immediately caught my eye. The colorful umbrellas, beach towels, and bathing suits quickly tell the story of a fun filled day at the beach. We think of sun, sand, good times with friends, and the chance to dive into a good book. The viewer immediately reflects on a fun experience they had at the beach, or a fun time they hope to have in the future. Molly does a great job of telling stories through her illustrations and pattern designs! I encourage you to follow her journey on Instagram, @mollyvizesi.

Textile Design Lab member Amanda Rouse Letscher also does a wonderful job with telling stories through her design work. What I love about this pattern is that it is so simple, yet the pairing of these two beautifully illustrated motifs tells such a clear story. As Amanda said in her description, “Agave + lime = Party time.” Without the addition of the limes, this would have been an agave pattern. Or without the addition of the agave plants, this would have been a lime pattern, but by combining these two motifs Amanda is telling a more descriptive story. Check out more of Amanda’s beautiful wok on Instagram, @rousehousedesign.

(L) Pattern by Carolina Diaz (R) Pattern by Melanie Miles

(L) Pattern by Carolina Diaz (R) Pattern by Melanie Miles

This design from Carolina Diaz is anything but simple. However, it lays out a beautiful story of a day in the tropics. A day of exploring tropical fruit, flowers, fish, and the bounty of the region. Her use of washy, textural watercolors is the perfect match for this sun-bleached beach scene. And it helps to bring the viewer into this relaxed, tropical state of mind. Carolina has a passion for these tropical beach scenes and her Instagram account is filled with her beautiful interpretation of the tropics. Check out more @carolinadiazb.

Last but not least, these beautifully illustrated motifs from Melanie Miles are bound to make anyone smile. They immediately sweep up the viewer and transport them to a time when they may have been enjoying these whimsically illustrated goodies, or a time when they hope to! We think of birthdays, parties, tea time with friends, a fun outing, or a special occasion, and it feels so good. Check out more of Melanie’s beautiful work on Instagram @melaniemilesdesign.

Now what about you? What story are you telling in your work? If you’re not sure, I have just the solution for you. Explore your story by taking our free 5-day Design Challenge. Get started here.

“Recycle” – Our Latest Chelsea’s Challenge in the Textile Design Lab


This month’s design challenge in the Textile Design Lab is all about recycling–reworking old prints or creating patterns to be pieced together and used in unexpected ways. While we typically let our members choose a target market, this month we decided to switch it up and the goal for our members is to develop a collection of 3-5 patterns for children’s apparel.

The recycling theme offers a fun opportunity to create something new, or use that pattern that was too difficult to put into repeat or that you could never figure out the right layout. In the full post in the Lab we show Michelle’s process of pasting a hand-painted floral into a geometric pattern and link to helpful TDL tutorials to help our members achieve this collaged, “recycled” look.

The most exciting part of Chelsea’s Challenge for me is seeing everyone’s sketches and rough concepts develop into beautiful polished prints as the month progresses. Textile Design Lab team members and other TDL community members provide feedback on our private forum and participants also have the opportunity to take part in our weekly live art critiques for additional help and feedback. It is really one of the best ways to experience the camaraderie of the Textile Design Lab and make new friends from all over the world!

If you’d like to get involved in the challenge and become part of our supportive e-learning community, we invite you to join us in the Textile Design Lab. The deadline to complete the Recycle challenge is Monday, March 5th, so there’s plenty of time to dive in!

Repeat Downbeat: Luscious Painterly Patterns

(L) Pattern by Jen Peters (R) Pattern by Studio Josien

(L) Pattern by Jen Peters (R) Pattern by Studio Josien

In this week’s Repeat Downbeat we are exploring luscious painterly patterns. The abstract, loose painterly style of these patterns captured my imagination and I could not resist sharing them with you. I hope they delight and inspired you, as well!

First up is this beautiful painterly pattern by Jen Peters. Jen is a graphic designer and illustrator based out of Los Angeles. What drew me in to this pattern was how it was with a loose, camouflage feel, which makes the piece so intriguing! I particularly notice how she added in the delicate line work to highlight the trees and mountains in the scene.

This next selection is one that I am really excited about, as it was shared with Pattern Observer when we held our last 5-day Design Shakeup. @StudioJosien added this beautiful pattern to our #patternobservershakeup feed after completing only Day Two of the challenge. I love the bold marks and the addition of the dots as a fun accent motif. This is a great reminder of how inspiration can strike quickly when you accept a fun, “shake-it-up” challenge.

(L) Pattern by Rachel Parker (R) Pattern by Farida Zaman

(L) Pattern by Rachel Parker (R) Pattern by Farida Zaman

Rachel Parker of @pixel_thread added this beautiful photo to our #patternobserver feed. What really intrigues me with this image is how you can see her Evie floral pattern printed onto Melino Linen. I love the bright color palette and the yummy painterly texture that is expressed throughout—it really draws you in when you look at it! Check out Rachel’s Etsy page to see more beautiful work that is available.

If you are as smitten by loose painterly patterns as I am, you will want to be sure to check out the work of Farida Zaman, @fzamanart. Her Instagram feed is filled with beautiful paintings of flowers, leaves, animals, and other fun motifs. I love the loose style and bold colors that she uses in many of her pieces; very distinct and appealing.

After checking out all of these painterly patterns I am excited to get out my brushes and mix up a bright and bold color palette! If you love design, I think you’ll be inspired, as well. In order to keep inspired, please add #patternobserver to your next post so we can check out your latest work.

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.