Inside the Studio: Returning Home

RETURNING-HOMEWe are back from Surtex after a wonderful show at the Javits Center last week. It was a pleasure meeting so many new faces from our industry and talking nothing but print and pattern for four days straight…what fun!!

If you are a pattern buyer, mark your calendar for July 16th & 17th–our next print show appearance will be Premiere Vision New York and we are already gearing up with some new trends to spark the creativity of our talented designers in the Textile Design Lab. After a month-long design and critique process, selected patterns will become a part of the Pattern Observer Studio collection. The Pattern Observer Studio collection currently includes the work of over 100 designers from around the world who are a part of our vibrant Textile Design Lab e-learning community.

We were delighted with the response that we received from buyers at both shows. The categories that received the most interest were:

  • Textures
  • Animal skin patterns
  • Holiday
  • Baby
  • Painterly florals and geometrics

Remember, buyers can always check out our collection online at If you’re in a rush, let us do the shopping for you! Just shoot us an email and let us know what style of patterns you are looking for. We can then put together a curated collection special for you. We hope to see you soon!


*Top pattern by Claire Hayward for PO Studio, Bottom pattern by Claire Mounier for PO Studio

Jane Lewis Scholarship 2019 Recipients

We are thrilled to announce the 2019 recipients of the Jane Lewis Scholarship fund. These designers impressed our panel with their innovative designs and passion for the craft. It will be a joy to work with them in the coming year and welcome them into our online community.


Chris-Hannigan2Christopher Hannigan

Christopher discovered the world of surface pattern design through Instagram, where he publishes art on a daily basis. Christopher hopes to improve his technical skills and marketing savvy in the coming year.

You can see more of his beautiful work on his Instagram page.



SonyaSonya Percival

Sonya studied traditional printmaking techniques, analogue photography and ceramics before discovering the world of textile design. Sonya hopes to begin “designing prints for companies I consider the very best in their segment/field as well as aesthetically closest to my inner eye” through freelance or in-house opportunities.

You can see more of her stunning work on her website.


NiroshaNirosha Ambagahawatta

Nirosha is a Junior Architect of Sri Lankan origin who grew up with keen interest in arts and crafts. Her love of drawing intricate details as an architect made her transition to surface pattern design a bit easier. She hopes to begin to identify her own signature style and watch it evolve with time.

You can see more of her beautiful work on her Instagram page.


If you are interested in applying for the Jane Lewis Scholarship in 2020 please subscribe to our newsletter for notifications.

Upcoming Event: Sellable Sketch Home


It’s been an exciting few months for all of us at Pattern Observer and the Textile Design Lab. Now that the winter print shows are done, I’m back home and so excited to dive into a series of group-studies and events with our Textile Design Lab members!

On Monday, February 18, we are kicking things off with our Sellable Sketch Home Group-Study. In this seven-week course we will explore the home décor industry through our standard Sellable Sketch course and system, but designers will also receive bonus emails. These emails will focus on the home décor industry. We’ll explore the tutorials and past guest expert presentations that focused on this industry and by course’s end, we believe you’ll leave it with a professional surface pattern collection tailor-made for this exciting industry.

As a designer taking this online course, you will also receive free access to WGSN Home for the duration of the course. If you haven’t experienced how valuable that is, you can soon!

Here’s the course schedule:

  • Week One: Discovering your artistic style
  • Week Two: Identifying the ideal client, agent, or market for your artwork
  • Week Three: Get inspired—without losing your style
  • Week Four: Creating the plan for your surface pattern collection and collection guidelines
  • Week Five: Creating your main pattern
  • Week Six: Creating your coordinating patterns
  • Week Seven: Conducting a collection review and creating an engaging presentation

During this home-study course, our resident home décor expert, Laura Olivia, will give a live presentation on her recent experience as an exhibitor at Heimtextil, the largest print show for the home décor industry.

If you are not already a part of the Lab, we invite you in to explore this inspiring market as a community.

Join here.

Surtex Preview: Brenda Manley Designs


Pattern by Emma Schonenberg

Brenda Manley Designs is a fun studio with lots of exciting work. They have a wide range of styles, from Emma Schoenenberg’s painterly designs to the fun illustrative style of Alyssa Kay’s work.

Brenda started out with intensive experience in the paper tableware industry, having worn the hats of Art Director, Art Buyer, plus Designer & Production Artist. “When I started this phase of my career, my plan was to freelance full time on my own.  Along the way, I met emerging talents that excited me. When the thought of combining this talent with my natural eye for art direction came to light, the agency formed naturally in a fluid manner.

“Today, I am both humbled and honored to represent a group of wildly talented designers. Their roots span the globe from El Salvador, United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, and the USA. They create surface pattern designs for home decor, apparel, gift, and stationery industries, with styles ranging from young and whimsical to elegant and traditional.” The studio licenses, sells, and welcomes commissions.


Pattern by Bex Morley

What Brenda has brought together is truly incredible. “Our vision is to develop loyal relationships with our clients and grow our businesses. We have a mission to be the favorite agency for others by providing fresh, creative design solutions and delivering technically correct digital files in a timely fashion. I am an artist first; a buyer second. With valuable experience in both areas, I excel at connecting the artists/artwork I represent and the clients I get to serve.” As a designer, we can all appreciate the value of this!

Brenda also adds, “We pride ourselves on creating with the most current trends. We cannot wait to share them with you! We are bringing narwhals, unicorns, and mermaids for the younger markets and a contemporary collection of florals, geometrics, and global artwork for the textile industries!”

Remember, this year’s Surtex is February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you stop by Brenda Manley Designs Booth #3375 to take a look at all the talented designer represented by her studio. If you can’t make it to the show or crave more, visit her website.

Surtex Preview: Margie Tillman Ayres


What really appeals to me about Margie’s work is how fun and feminine it is. I view it as a celebration of life, and I am thrilled that she’ll be returning to Surtex this year!

Margie shared this with me about her environment and experiences: “Hiya! I’m a surface pattern designer and illustrator in New Orleans, LA. In my work I strive to find magic in the ordinary. My collection of patterns and illustrations are meant for children, their grownups, and the playful at heart. I grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in Natchez, swinging from vines on camping trips with my dad and fishing for catfish and trout with my brother. After attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, I moved to New Orleans, where I have lived for the past 16 years.
“The city of NO has taught me so much about resilience in the face of adversity, and about maintaining a sense of humor to get through the hard times. I always hope to embody this spirit in my work. I march with an all-female dancing Krewe during the Muses parade in New Orleans to the music of the Stooges Brass Band, as well as with the first Latino dancing Krewe in New Orleans: The Ritmeaux Krewe.” Margie’s lively interests definitely shows through in her work.


When it comes to technique, Margie shared her process with us. “I use a couple of different techniques. Some of the designs are hand painted. Many of the designs were made in Procreate. I also drawing more and more in vector. It’s hard to pinpoint one inspiration, but if I am to pick an overarching theme, it would be rhythm. I am a dancer at heart and love to try to mimic a beat visually.”

With this year’s Surtex, Margie is going to really bring some interesting work. She says, “I’ll be showing lots of holiday illustrations and patterns, florals, and origami inspired artwork. These are heavily influenced by the wild imaginations of my two young boys and the flora and fauna of the equally effervescent tropical vegetation of New Orleans.


“In 2019, I want to count my blessings more often. I want to soak up every moment with my kids, my friends, and my husband as if there might be no tomorrow. I want to spend my time more with the people that make my spirit sing :). All of this inspires my work every day.”

Remember, this year’s Surtex is happening NOW, February 3-6, 2019, at the Javits Center in New York City. Make sure you take the time to visit Booth #3578 so you can see Margie Tillman Ayres work. If you want to see more of her awe-inspiring creations, visit her website.

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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.