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.

At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.

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Alison Tauber