Tag Archives: textile design

Trending Now: Collaborative Textiles

By this I mean the emergence of several companies that share some common characteristics, namely:

a) they offer designs on fabrics
b) the designs are selected from winning entries of competitions open to members
c) competition participants vote for their favourite designs, and further raise the profile of the company by publicising this via social media
d) prizes include getting the winning design produced as an item of clothing eg scarf, dress etc, and the designer getting a shout out or a cash prize.

These so-called “collaborative” textile companies are what I believe to be the young upstarts of a new trend.

Here are just some “collaborative” companies that I know of, in no particular order. Please note I am unable to vouch for the reputations of these; these are the ones I’ve submitted designs to for contests or stumbled across on my internet searches. I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find several more like them online yourself.

Constrvct http://www.constrvct.com

Front Row Society

Textile Federation

Only time will tell if this trend kicks off and continues to capture the imagination of the public, or whether it is just a phase. It certainly is one way of democratizing the art of textile designing, making it accessible to anyone with a smart device or computer and the motivation to participate.

As I write this, Front Row Society’s current competition has the theme of “Typography”. Here is the link.

Textile Federation is currently running a competition called “Entomology”, with the theme of insects. Here is the link if you’re interested in participating.


Lastly, here is an Australian-residents-only competition, by Digital Fabrics, for my Antipodean readers.


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Artist Inspiration : LAURA OLIVIA

I came across Laura Olivia’s site Surface Pattern Designs whilst searching for, haha no prizes for guessing right, surface pattern designs, on Pinterest. My first thought was “This must be a large, international company, if they have a name like that”.  I clicked on the link, as I wanted to see if it was indeed a large, international company where I could possibly submit my own designs for consideration.  Well, it might as well be a large, international company, as Laura Olivia is a veritable powerhouse, with hundreds of designs represented in dozens of formats by different licensing companies.  Laura is only young, but already she has broken into the world of textile design, homewares, greeting cards, stationery, etc.  There doesn’t seem to be anything that this young lassie can’t turn her hand to.

She is living the life that I would love to be living.  Lucky, lucky girl, and well done too!! Here are some of Laura Olivia’s designs, to whet your appetite, before you start exploring her website.  Definitely ONE TO WATCH!



Bird Street Designblue



Bohemia Cascade


Bohemia Canvas Laura-Olivia-Butterfly-Garden-Pearl-Cushion Decorque_hummingbird cork placemats

Here is what Laura Olivia says about herself, on her “About” page:

About Laura Olivia


I am a very passionate and ambitious designer with a love of surface pattern and textiles. My work is mainly focused around print design and I am lucky enough to work for some fantastic clients in various industries including interiors, fashion and stationery.  I absolutely love what I do and hope that comes across in the vibrancy of my work and the patterns that I create.

Originally from Berkshire, I moved up to Nottingham to study Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University. After gaining my degree I worked in the interiors industry for a few years which I believe gave me an invaluable insight in to the furnishings fabric and wallpaper industries.

After realizing that a nine to five was not for me, I took a leap of faith and left it all behind to follow my dream of doing what I love and making a living out of it, as for me there is nothing better than that! Although it has not been plain sailing all the way, I’ve never looked back and find seeing my designs on the finished product, and in people’s homes, the ultimate reward.

I began my journey by launching my own range of homewares as well as working with an agent who sold my furnishing fabric and wallpaper designs to clients around the globe.  Within my first year I was very lucky to be selected to exhibit at ‘One Year On’ which is an event for designer’s within their first year of business at the ‘New Designers’ exhibition in London. The show was a huge success and shortly after I was commissioned by high street retailer ‘Wilkinson’ to produce a large range of stationery which was sold throughout 250 stores with my photo and name alongside. This amazing opportunity led to working directly with some fantastic clients in the UK and abroad on projects from curtains and wall art to dresses and resort-wear prints. Past clients I have worked with and/or sold work to include Arthouse, Wilkinson, Bianca Turner, Ellison First Asia. Mori Tessuti and more. I now also have a range of licensing partners including Artistic Britain, S-Blinds and Keka Case.

My work is mainly inspired by the beauty of nature and I usually use a range of techniques within my designs including watercolours and hand drawing. Different clients require different styles, but I try to reflect my true style within my own product range as here I can do what I want! For fashion I often use photographic elements also and sometimes collage when designing for wall art.

I am always looking for new opportunities so if you are a supplier, manufacturer or retailer interested in working with myself, please feel free to email me at sales@lauraolivia.com.

Artist Inspiration – JACKIE BECK

I stumbled across Jackie Beck’s artwork by accident, while surfing Pinterest. Another pinner had pinned up an image of one of Jackie’s works, available on Etsy. Something about Jackie’s work resonated within myself, maybe it was the vibrant colours, or the abstract shapes, or the techniques she uses. I Googled her company, Jacque Textile Designs Ltd, and read with great interest about her. A lot of it mirrored my own aspirations and sources of inspiration.

Here are Jackie’s own words about herself, taken from her Etsy profile. http://www.etsy.com/au/people/jacquedesigns?ref=owner_profile_leftnav#

I have worked in the garment and textile industry for more than 20 years. I am experienced in various positions including sales, purchasing, designing, managing, and textile researcher. I attended the University of Minnesota and received a BS degree in apparel science and design. My experience includes creating commissioned pieces of fabric for a variety of clients including museums, galleries, quilting stores, clothing and accessory designers. Also, I have taken variety of courses in web development, marketing, and surface design techniques.

My Minneapolis based company has been in business for over 10 years, and my fabrics have been featured in a variety of magazines. In addition I have licensed several of my fabric designs to textile manufactures. As an integral part of Jacque Textile Designs ltd I have been proactive and constantly educate myself regarding new design and production techniques the textile industry. While attending college and working on a research grant, I found my passion and interest was in fabrics; the science behind fabric, different ways they are made and the variety of applications used. The creation process of textiles intrigued me, especially the printing and dyeing process.

My fabric designs are a creative expression of feelings, with explosions of color, which look three dimensional on a two dimensional surface. I am inspired by the dynamic imagery in nature: the forms, textures, colors, and I collect many objects of nature from trips and incorporate them into my designs. I love the texture of bark, veins in leaves, beauty of colors seen in tropical settings, wildlife and animals. I am also drawn to the shapes, colors, texture, and intricacy of beautiful landscapes, and the vastness and mysteries of the universe is inspiration for me. The first step in creating my art fabric is the creation of the design, and the inspiration must be discovered. I must decide what message I want to send the viewer, and what emotion I want to evoke from my fabrics. My main objective is to have the fabrics evoke a message or emotion from the person viewing them, even if it isn’t the one I intended.

I guess I’m a wannabe Jackie Beck.  Her profile reads like what I hope mine could read in 20 years’ time…I wish I had had the opportunity to do a course in textile design or surface pattern design.  In fact, I wish I’d known when I was 18 what I wanted to do with my life, rather than let my father decide for me.  But anyhow, it’s never too late, right, so that’s why now I’m determined to make/find my own way to achieve what I want to achieve, do what I want to do, create what I want to create. I couldn’t find any information on how Jackie prints her beautiful fabric panels, but I did find some categories that she listed her skills under, on her Etsy page, which may point us in the right direction:

Very experienced in many techniques used in surface fabric design. Digitally Textile Printing, Discharge dye,various dye techniques, Quilting, Screen Printing, Shibori Dye, various painting

I’ll let Jackie’s wonderful artwork inspire you. (Images courtesy of Google Images)

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Artist Inspiration – KATE SPADE

I first came across Kate Spade many, many years ago, back when I was going through my handmade handbag phase. This would have been in the year 2006, when I first started by hand-felting old woollen jumpers to create bags. I was a single-mother stuck in Spain then, and had too much time on my hands when my son was in school, so the handbag-making was a big part of my life. That, and the dozens of books on making handbags that I bought on Amazon. Kate Spade featured in several of those books, and as I searched for handbag inspiration online, her name and brand cropped up quite a bit too.

Kate hails from the United States and had quite a privileged upbringing. She worked in the accessories department of Mademoiselle in Manhattan, where she met her husband Andy Spade. It was while she worked at Mademoiselle that Kate noticed a niche in the market for stylish and sensible handbags, and started researching and creating her own first handbags. In January 1993 her company “Kate Spade Handbags” was launched in New York. “Kate Spade Handbags”, as the name implies, sold handbags and accessories. In 2004, “Kate Spade At Home” was launched, selling bedding, china and other homeware merchandise. In 2012, Kate Spade produced and sold a complete line of products featuring the designs of eccentric Australian design icon Florence Broadhurst. Thanks to sharp business acumen, the Kate Spade brand just keeps growing from strength to strength and is now a truly global brand.

Here is the link to Kate’s official website: http://www.katespade.com

The Kate Spade brand is all about clean lines, unfussy looks, blocks of colour, confetti spots or stripes. It’s witty and playful, yet extremely sophisticated. When she launched her Spring Campaign of 2012 in honour of Florence Broadhurst, however, Kate Spade went the opposite way and painted the town red, with Florence’s signature bold florals, geometrics and colour. Here are some of the wackier entries from Kate Spade’s blog for that campaign, which entailed driving a bright red tour bus bedecked in Florence Broadhurst designs, the interior of which was an innovative pop-up store:




What do I like about Kate Spade?  I admire her for having the gumption to act on her instinct when she first spotted a niche in the market, and for then taking that inspiration forward and launching her own brand. I admire her for what she did after that – expand on her range of products and designing for all manner of household items, fashion apparel, accessories, jewellery, shoes, stationery etc. I admire her for moving forward with the times and branching out into putting her designs on mobile phone cases and other techie products. As a successful businesswoman, Kate Spade is a role model for artists like myself who are struggling to find their niche in an increasingly saturated market.

Lastly, I admire Kate Spade for bringing the work of Florence Broadhurst to the attention of the public again, after many years of obscurity. She has helped bring Florence to the American market, and very deftly tied her own brand’s history in with the Broadhurst brand. A very shrewed move by a very clever businesswoman.

Artist Inspiration – ORLA KIELY

Orla Kiely is an Irish institution.  Even if you aren’t aware of her name, chances are you would have come across what’s probably her most famous design, the “Stem”:


Yes, THAT pattern. It’s found all over, from handbags to curtains to furnishing fabrics to fine bone china sets to room fragrances to stationery etc etc etc. It’s an inspired design that will never fade with the times, rooted in the nostalgia of the 1960s but forever contemporary. Of course, it’s not Orla’s only design, but it was the face that launched a thousand ships, so to speak. And the rest, as they also say, is history. Or Her story.

I’m inspired by Orla as a designer, as a businesswoman, as an artist. She has built herself into a global brand, and that is no easy achievement. I can only dream of achieving 1/10th of what Orla has…but that won’t stop me from trying!

Read about Orla and how she became an icon, and be inspired!






Now, go do YOUR thing! 🙂

Not Quite Photoshop…but close. PART 9. CREATING A COLLECTION

In this tutorial I will show you how simple it is to create a textile design collection…by this I mean 1 design in different colourways.

The App used is predominantly PicsArt, which, the more I use it, the more I like. It is a very comprehensive App with hidden depths. I may well write a detailed review of it some day, someone please remind me. Other Apps are Elements of Design, for the basis of this image, and Smoothie, to create the different colourways.

Here is the original image, a screenshot of the Live Wallpaper created by the App Elements of Design.


I added some light bokeh effects using PicsArt.

Next, a few judicious passes through PicsArt’s “Mirror” filter gave me this image.


I then ran this through the Collage section of PicsArt until this emerged:


I love the curlicues and romantic swirls of the resulting image, but felt that the image was too dark. So, I simply used Smoothie’s “Hue” filter to create several different colourways. Ta daa! Instant fabric design collection!






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The Winds of Change

So, recently we were away for a short break, and what an eye opener that trip was! In fact, you’ll find me writing about aspects of our holiday in greater detail. Keeping my blog going those 4 days in early October was an Herculean task, as for much of the time there was no mobile phone reception or GPS, and I had to rely on my husband’s portable wifi dongle. Oh, and not to mention how scarily fast one’s mobile phone battery goes down when sitting in a car on a 15 hour drive!

Anyway, I’ve been unhappy at work for a while now. It’s not the nature of my work, which is answering enquiries from bank customers. That’s easy and pleasant enough. It’s the fact that my department is run by children, for children, literally. The managers are too young and inexperienced to be managers, and yet they call the shots. Everything is about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and Customer Satisfaction. It’s all about statistics, and nothing about Staff contentment or retention. It’s not what you know, but who you know…and if you want to get anywhere, then there is a lot of brown-nosing and favouritism involved. Well, I’m not one to play this game. So, I’ve given my notice and although I haven’t another job to go to, I feel nothing but relief at being able to escape from that infernal place. I know I deserve better.

What will I do? Well, I decided to take the plunge and invest in Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I’ll not be buying the CS6, which at over $3100 is beyond my budget. Instead, I’ll be subscribing to the Creative Cloud (CC) for $49.99 a month first, with an annual outlay of $564. It will be hard going, but I know if I persevere with getting to grips with this powerhouse of programmes, it will be so worth the effort!

Adobe announced in March 2013 that it would no longer be producing hard copies of its software programmes. Instead, subscribers would be able to access all its products online via a range of payment options and packages.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Many diehard users of Adobe’s software were unhappy at the announcement made by Adobe, as they had grown used to idea of perpetual licenses. This new development meant that instead of owning a CD hardcopy of Adobe, one would be “renting” it monthly. For me, though, having never had any experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc, at least there’s nothing to unlearn. I’ll be a clean slate that hopefully will fill up with knowledge and know-how. That is the plan, anyhow.

And here are my reasons for wanting to use Adobe’s CS6:

1. I want to be able to design pattern repeats for textiles. My aim is to be able to produce my own designs for bedlinen, cushions, curtains, rugs, wallpaper, maybe even clothing such as coats, scarves and t-shirts.

2. I’d like to be able to publish my photobooks to platforms such as Kindle and e-books.

3. I want to print my own CD album covers, CDs, book covers.

4. I’d like to be able to bring my Graphic Design ideas to life. There are very few Apps on iOS and Android that offer graphic design templates.

5. Maybe, if I ever get past the basics, I could even write some photo editing Apps? (Wishful thinking)

So, from time to time, when I’m not posting about mobile photography art, or music, or recipes, or travel, or anything else under the sun that catches my fancy, you may find me posting here about my experience with Adobe CS6. Or maybe ranting about it, when the learning curve turns into a slippery glass mountain.

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