Textile Design Lab Member Highlight: Scandinavia

This Monday we launched into week six of our eight week Summer of Creativity journey in the Textile Design Lab. This year’s theme is travel, and each week we explore a new “destination.” So far we have visited Cape CodJapanMalaysia & Singapore, Scotland, and last week we explored Scandinavia.

Our Textile Design Lab members were provided with two briefs–one for holiday-themed home decor, and one for the children’s market. We are continually impressed each week by the amazing patterns our members have created and are so excited to share some of that work with you in today’s post. Congrats to all the members who completed last week’s brief and I look forward to sharing more patterns with you next week!



(L) Collection by Christa Schoenbrodt (R) Collection by Chris Olson


(L) Pattern by Carrie Esplin (R) Collection by Lucy Conway


(L) Pattern by Gill Ferguson (R) Pattern by Claudia Negru


(L) Pattern by Susan Brand (C) Pattern by Valerie Knight (R) Pattern by Linda Tajirian


(L) Collection by Toile de Lina (R) Pattern by Natacha Devaud


(L) Collection by Sandra Moura dos Santos (R) Pattern by Terry Stone


(L) Collection by Kelly Lahl (R) Collection by John Wylie


(L) Collection by Álex Roda (R) Collection by Crystal Kruger


(L) Collection by Marit Cooper (R) Pattern by Roseanna Jiggins


(L) Pattern by Sarah Nussbaumer (R) Pattern by Stephanie Nehme


(L) Collection by Elena Moore (R) Collection by Jill Craig


(L) Collection by Judy Anderson (R) Collection by Leigh Cornell


(L) Collection by Fiona Cowell (R) Collection by Beatrice Kim

Textile Design Lab Member Highlight: Scotland

We are now on week five of our eight week Summer of Creativity journey in the Textile Design Lab. This year’s theme is travel, and each week we explore a new “destination.” So far we have visited Cape CodJapan, Malaysia & Singapore, and last week we explored the trademark tartans of Scotland. Our Lab members blew us away with their varied interpretations of the plaid theme, from whimsical watercolors to highly detailed digital designs. The patterns and collections you see below were created in just seven days and were based on three trend-driven inspiration boards we provided at the start of the week. Congrats to all the members who completed last week’s brief, and we can’t wait to share more of their patterns with you next week!




(L) Pattern by Beatrice Kim (R) Pattern by Sarah Nussbaumer



(L) Pattern by Colour Book Studio (R) Pattern by Carrie Esplin



(L) Collection by Judy Anderson (R) Collection by Christa Schoenbrodt




(L) Collection by Kelly Lahl (R) Collection by Lucy Conway



(L) Collection by Leigh Cornell (R) Collection by Crystal Kruger



(L) Collection by Jill Craig (R) Collection by Terry Stone



(L) Pattern by Mike Vancoillie (R) Pattern by Julie Saunders



(L) Pattern by Gill Ferguson (R) Pattern by Esther Loopstra



(L) Pattern by Batoul Yazdanian (C) Pattern by Susan Brand (R) Pattern by Chrissy French-Finch



(L) Collection by Toile de Lina (R) Collection by John Wylie

Partnership with Melissa Schulz of Branded Licensing

New-Partnership-Branded-Art-LicensingLife is full of surprises…

When I started this blog back in 2010, I had no intention of teaching or mentoring other designers. My parents were both teachers, but teaching never really appealed to me. Yet, through blogging, I found that I have a strong passion for teaching and lifting up others in our design community. Surprisingly this passion to teach is now stronger than my passion for designing patterns. I never would have thought this would happen.

Another surprise occurred a few years ago, when my husband and I quietly built a website that would allow designers to upload their artwork and sell it online. We worked with a branding designer and the website was almost complete when we pulled the plug. The large-scale site lacked the personal connection to designers that I find to be so important. This made it a project I just could not invest my heart and soul into the way I wanted to.

And, the latest surprise occurred just a few months ago. We decided to exhibit at the 2018 SURTEX show and I made the decision to invite our Textile Design Lab members to submit work for representation at the show. For the exhibited work, the Lab members had certain requirements to meet for the opportunity. These requirements included: 1) Designing according to our Pattern Observer Studio briefs; 2) Submitting their work to Textile Design Lab’s private forum; 3) Each design received a critique by the Lab’s team of expert designers; 4) Based on critique and feedback, the opportunity for designers to resubmit work was offered.

While there were some logistical bumps along the way, the experience was extremely inspiring. Our Lab members stunned us with the quality and quantity of their designs. We received hundreds of high quality professional designs that we were thrilled to represent at the show. And while I could see that our process could be improved, I also saw the potential power of this large group of talented designers. Suddenly I realized that this was the design studio that I had been thinking about for so long, but was never able to grasp how to create it—that community of designers learning, growing, and encouraging each other while receiving real world design experiences and earning fair pay for the work they are sharing with the world.

I also realized that we needed help.

Selling the work of this many designers is a fulltime job and isn’t something that I can possibly do on my own. My true passion is teaching and lifting others up; however, the sales, networking and marketing required for this project wouldn’t leave time for my passion and strengths.

Melissa Schulz of Branded Licensing

Melissa Schulz of Branded Licensing

With this realization, Chelsea and I went to SURTEX in May with several goals. I’ve discussed some of these goals in previous posts, but we also hoped to meet our future sales representative—and it turns out that we did just that.

Chelsea and I met Melissa Schulz of Branded Licensing at SURTEX and immediately loved her warm, inviting personality. She’s outgoing, a champion for designers in this industry, and a perfect fit for the Pattern Observer team. She’s also a licensing rock star, with over twenty years of experience in the industry. Which is why we are delighted to announce that Melissa will be representing the work of our Pattern Observer Studio designers and those Textile Design Lab members who choose to participate in our studio briefs.

In addition to networking and selling the work of the Pattern Observer Studio, Melissa will also be active in the Textile Design Lab. She will be joining our team of experts and will be checking the forum twice a week and sharing her industry knowledge with our Lab members through live chat and Q&A sessions.

Our goal is that she will be sharing regular, up-to-date information with our members on what buyers are looking for, how buying habits are changing, and how designers can make their work more relevant for products. So even those members who decide not to participate in our studio briefs will gain insight from Melissa as they market and sell their own work.

Knowing where to focus within your business can be a challenge. Opportunities arise and as I have learned over the years, usually the answer needs to be a polite “no, not at this time.” But every now and then, an opportunity comes along that results in a strong, passionate, relieving YES. We are so excited to welcome Melissa to the Pattern Observer team and look forward to continuing to support, inspire, and promote the work of designers from around the world.

Textile Design Lab Member Highlight: Malaysia & Singapore

This Monday kicked off week four of our eight week Summer of Creativity journey in the Textile Design Lab. This year’s theme is travel, and each week we explore a new “destination.” So far we have visited Cape CodJapan, and last week we explored Malaysia and Singapore, the fabulous results of which you can see in today’s post.

Our Textile Design Lab members were given a retro, jungle-inspired design brief to explore for Malaysia, and a futuristic “eco-city” approach to the tropical theme for Singapore. We were blown away by the amazing patterns they created in just seven days and are delighted to share some of that work with you in today’s post. Congrats to all the members who completed last week’s brief and I look forward to sharing more patterns with you next week!



(L) Pattern by Dora Font (R) Pattern by Susanne Mason


(L) Collection by Crystal Kruger (R) Collection by Claire Mounier

Blue Tropical_64cm repeat_recoloured

(L) Pattern by Cathrin Gressieker (R) Pattern by Beatrice Kim

9 copy

(L) Pattern by Stephanie Nehme (R) Collection by Jill Craig


(L) Pattern by Sarah Nussbaumer (R) Collection by John Wylie


(L) Collection by Gill Ferguson (R) Collection by Christa Schoenbrodt


(L) Collection by Leigh Cornell (R) Collection by Kelly Lahl

8 copy

(L) Collection by Toile de Lina (C) Pattern by Carrie Esplin (R) Pattern by Sarah Didion

4 copy

(L) Collection by Julie Saunders (R) Collection by Sandra Moura dos Santos

Featured Designer: Sara Paoletti


This week we are pleased to feature the work of Sara Paoletti, a Surface Pattern Designer and Illustrator based in Montréal. I was immediately struck by Sara’s sophisticated color stories and detailed illustrations. Her patterns whisked me away to a far off land. It became a genuine treat to explore her portfolio. Now I’m excited to share her inspiring story with you.


“I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. After graduating from Illustration and Design at Dawson College in Montréal, I started working as a designer for a fabric company. It was there I learned about surface pattern design and developed a passion for it. I have recently decided to pursue a career as an independent surface pattern designer.”

Sara’s passion shows, but here’s what she had to say about her inspiration: “One of my greatest inspirations is the natural world. I love bright, bold colors, vintage fairy tale illustrations, and clashing patterns. I am also obsessed with drawing birds.”


When it comes to mediums, Sara prefers to mostly work with markers and pen and ink. For her surface pattern design, she uses Adobe Illustrator.” If you’re like me, you’ll also feel that Sara has come across a great creative strategy. Also, as you realize by now, I am always interested to hear what designers have in mind for their future dreams and goals, for Sara it is “to design a line of wallpaper.” We can’t wait!

You can see more of Sara’s beautiful work here.

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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.