My Journey Into Surface Pattern Design

It has been an accumulation of experiences, learning, interests, careers and different businesses over the past 30 years or so that has taken me into the world of surface pattern design. These past 30 years definitely have added a backbone and undercurrent to following my dream and artistic pursuit to be a designer. 

Growing up I was always artistic and I loved art and crafts classes, everything from pottery, sculpture, drawing, painting, copper art and even macrame and string art! I learned how to sew, knit, crotchet, do cross stitch and embroidery from my mother and grand mother. So I was always making things to either wear, display or to decorate in some way.

I distinctly remember designing my own nightdress, cutting it out of some fabric and sewing it up one day after school before my mother came home from work and I was only 9 at the time. I had two dreams when growing up; one was to be a ballerina and the other a fashion designer.

I learned ballet from the age of 4 and it was a huge part of my life. I continued learning all through my school years and went on to be a ballet teacher and an aerobics instructor. Throughout my ballet years I also made and designed many costumes, spending endless hours late at night hand sewing sequins all over leotards and making crowns and tiaras. But my passion for fabric was always there, even though I did not realise it. 

I loved nothing more than to walk through the department stores in the fabric section and buy yards and yards of fabric to take home to make a new outfit to wear for the weekend.

Over the next 20 years or so I have been in the jewellery industry and have run my own businesses with my husband as well as raised a family of 4 children. During these years I spent many weekends with my children doing art and craft activities and even taught art as a volunteer at my children's school and helped organise the school art shows.  

I had found a new passion for art and creating again. I began to draw and just experiment with different mediums and ways of painting, but the subject matter was always the same.....Flowers and more flowers, especially Australian native botanical flowers. 

I painted them, I did lino prints of them, I made collages from paper and I even made applique wall hangings in fabric featuring flowers. It went on and on until I found glass and mosaics! That then became my chosen medium and focus for my art, inspiration and designs. 

With my children now in high school I decided that I could take time out a bit and go do a course to study something, so I chose web design! I thought yes that would be a way in which I could learn something new and use my artistic skills at the same time. I did two courses over a year full time, but in the end it was not for me because it was alot less creative than I thought it would be.

The next turning point came a couple of years later when my daughter had finished high school and was fortunate enough to be accepted to study fashion design at The Fashion Design Studio. A year into her study she mentioned to me that they also had a course in textile design and fabric printing which I may like to do it. I looked into the course and I applied.

I had to submit a portfolio of original art work as well as design three specific patterns for three different markets as part of the submission process. Nervously I waited for about 6 weeks until the letter came. I had been accepted! 

What followed was an extremely intense full time year of study, design classes, drawing classes, colour theory, marketing and business classes, learning to screen print as well as digital design. There was so much to absorb accompanied by endless assignments and design briefs. However I loved it. I dreamed designs and worked day and night and most weekends whilst studying. 

The working late into the night and on weekends has not stopped and my passion and desire to design has never waned. Over the past three years I have set up my own studio and I have been working on developing my style. I have created numerous pattern collections and also designed and manufactured my own cushion collection. I am finally able to say that I am happy and love being a Surface Pattern Designer!