The answer is 13. THIRTEEN SLEEPS! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post — forgive me — but I’ve been completely absorbed in my Surtex preparations and all of the many facets of it, and I’m so excited for the show. What an adventure! One thing that I’ve noticed about myself as I grow older, is that I’m way more organized than my mind would lead me to believe. Since I registered for the show, my mind has been a constant flurry of new pattern ideas, obsessive worries about not doing enough or working hard enough, daydreams, budget planning concerns, logistics coordination and the seemingly endless list of to-dos that must be done for the show. At points my nerves were just frazzled, and there were points when my mind had trouble entering a state of calm. It really required a lot of juggling, but looking back, with the show within reach, I can’t believe how many to-dos I’ve crossed off my list and I guess I surprised myself. While I often felt like I was in a state of chaos, I was moving forward every day and I think I’ve realized that I just might be good at this business thing after all. I can’t help but feel like planning a wedding would be a piece of cake after this boot camp. With less than two weeks to go till the show, I’m certainly filled with all sorts of emotions but if I had to select a single phrase that would capture how I’m feeling right now it would be this: BRING IT.
I’ve had some amazing support along the way, the help of my amazing friends and tons of you lovely folks cheering me along from the internet sidelines. And I’m thrilled that two of my very best friends are coming to New York with me, so I know I’ll have a good support network when I inevitably have doubts creep into my mind when I see all of the beautiful artwork unveiled by other super talented exhibitors. But everyone has something different to offer, and I’ve been so pleased to find that this community is so supportive, friendly and encouraging.
I shouldn’t have waiting so long to write a post — I feel like I could write a novel — but for now I’ll leave you with some of the patterns I’ve been working on for Surtex. And any help in getting the word out is so very, very welcome and appreciated. Thanks everyone. Cross your fingers for me!
HELLO! I hope that spring is springing wherever you are and that you’re starting to feel yourself coming back to life after a long grey winter. I’ve been busy busy prepping for Surtex, which is only — gasp — 65 days away!! It’s going to be here in no time. Preparing for Surtex has really been one of the most fun projects I’ve ever been able to work on. I’ve been putting in a lot of hours but it just doesn’t feel like work because I love love love what I’m doing and I have big hopes and currently, an abundant amount of optimism, and that’s all very motivating. I feel like I’ve made it to the final of Project Runway and I’m putting together my collection… except that I will be competing for business with hundreds of other folks, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we?
After weeks of obsessing about my booth, I’ve finally put the finishing touches on the design and I’m super happy with it. I toyed with a ton of concepts, designs, themes… but in the end, I settled on something that puts my patterns first and I feel will immediately tell people what I do. And hopefully lure them in to see the rest of my work.
Getting ready for Surtex is a multi-faceted task and there will never ever be enough time to do everything I want to do, but I’m making progress. It’s a balancing act between developing new work (patterns!), planning the presentation (booth design! samples! product mockups! postcard giveaways!) and getting people interested (press kits! researching buyers! marketing! tweets! spending way too much time on linkedin! sending emails! following up! putting yourself out there!) which I think is the hardest part. But what’s the point of planning beautifully if nobody knows about it? Luckily I’ve had some really amazing folks in my corner helping me work through things. If you’re reading this, you know who you are and I’m soooo thankful!
I’ve got some new collections in the works and thought I’d share one of my faces here. I like to post quick pics of some of them on my instagram (elizabetholwenxo) and my new obsession, Vine (elizabeth olwen) — so if we’re not connected yet, add me!
Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend and thanks for reading!
Hello lovelies! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, I’ve been busy preparing for Surtex, and working on fun new things that I’ve never had to do before. So everything is fresh and exciting, and truthfully at times, overwhelming… but in a good way. I feel like I’m climbing a small mountain but when I get to the top I’m going to do a little victory dance — okay, maybe it will be a big over-the-top victory dance. My top priority right now is making connections with buyers who might be attending the show, and while I feel like it requires a certain level of telepathy in trying to figure out who might be going, I’m feeling great about it and I’m making new connections all the time. I’ve also been so very lucky to connect with a few seasoned Surtex veterans who’ve given me some amazing advice. As a result, I’ve had some great interest in my work from some really great companies. Life is good!
And when all the administrative work is done, I do what I love to do, which is the point of this whole thing. I’ve been making more patterns. Thought I would share a few new ones that I’ve been working on, and there so many more in the works!
Hope you’ve all made it through February unscathed… spring is just around the corner, I can feel it!
It’s no secret that I adore wallpaper. Always have, always will. So as a pattern designer, it’s been an absolute dream to eventually have my patterns printed on wallpaper. So, when I started talking to Wallpapered.com this past fall about a partnership, I was absolutely over the moon and it’s been a true challenge trying to keep this on the down low. I’m thrilled to announce that it’s now official — Wallpapered.com is now offering a range of wallpapers with my patterns! Ahhhhhh! The collaboration includes a handful of wallpapers along with a few custom mural designs, as shown below. A million thank yous to Wallpapered, and a special shout out to Kat Truong, for making all of this happen! This is an absolute dream come true!
Happy Monday! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. The weather in Toronto this weekend was UNREAL and felt just like spring at 14 degrees celcius. Spring is still months away but it was a nice break from slush. I’ll take it!
A while back, I saw this great post DesignSponge about an adorable little candy shoppe in San Francisco named Miette (check it out, it’s irresistibly lovely). And ever since I’ve had candy shoppes on my mind, so naturally I thought I’d let this be a driving force behind a new pattern series inspired by old fashioned candy shoppes where you bought candy by the scoop, vintage packaging, lollipops and bon bons. A nice mix of novelty and geometric prints, I think these patterns would look adorable for fabrics for kids clothes.
If you’d taken a look at the pattern work I was doing about a year ago, it would have been largely geometric… But over the past year my style has really started morphing and becoming much more organic in style. Over the past few weeks I’ve been reviewing my collections and trying to determine a plan of attack for rounding out my collections, filling voids and ensuring I have a balanced body of work on offer. What a strange turn of events to find that what I’m lacking are geometrics. Here are some folk-inspired geometrics I’ve been working on! I could see these being lovely for a baby’s room.
As most of us freelancers do, I spend most of my days tied to my laptop. And at the end of that day, when my work is done and it’s time to play and draw and have fun with shapes, the last thing that I want to do is sit back down at my computer to do it. So during my late night doodling time, when I work best, I would step away, grab a pen and my sketchpad, and draw by hand. And this is awesome. Until I see the piles and piles of sketches I’ve accumulated and have to figure out a way to turn them into beautiful, editable, digital artwork — which usually results in way more computer time, redrawing things with my tablet.
So I was absolutely delighted when iDiscovered there is a solution! And it’s called… an iPad. It was a huge splurge but so far, this smart little gadget is changing the way I work on patterns. I bought a stylus pen and an app called Inkpad (which is a lot like Illustrator) and I’ve been doodling away, away from the computer, but my sketches are done digitally and are therefore completely usable and editable and is making me about a million times more productive!
Here are a few patterns that I created using elements I handdrew onto my iPad.
While camping this summer, I heard the sweet sweet songs of many birds frolicking through the forest and calling out to each other, expressing themselves, living like neighbours in the large forest they call home. Although I don’t know them by their proper names, my favourite birds were the Blues Bird, who woke us up in the morning with it’s bluesy jams, and the Synth bird who mimicked the sounds of a synthesizer. It got me thinking about that bird society that lives in those trees, and the lives they live. Saying hello, catching up on the neighbourhood gossip, flirting with their neighbours, maybe even falling in love… This little piece is based on that little community in the sky, and I think would be lovely as a stationery set for a company like Galison, using different birds for different pieces.
I love summer. I love everything about it… the sun, the heat, the feeling that I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to put jeans on again, and the blissful state of mind that almost has me believing that winter may not actually arrive this year (note: I do understand that would be a very sad state of environmental affairs, but in my dream world we could avoid winter AND live on a healthy planet). But it’s become painfully clear the past few weeks that the seasons will indeed change so I’ve been taking advantage of every moment I can to work outside in my backyard, and every Tuesday farmer’s market that happens at Trinity Bellwoods park, as there is really only another precious month to go before they close up for the season. This series of patterns is inspired by all of the gorgeous produce on offer there. It’s one of my most detailed series’ and took a while to complete but I think these beautiful little fruits and vegetables deserve the attention.
I don’t think it’s out of step to state that generally speaking, women are the primary audience when it comes to designing patterns. So it was a refreshing challenge to see the latest competition from Tigerprint UK (and my final project for this semester of the surface design course I’ve been taking) was to design some patterns for Men and to essentially de-throne the mustache as a graphic element that appeals to men — which is tough, because mustaches are just kind of inherently awesome. I put myself in the mindset of a Man and His Study. What would he surround himself with, and what would be on his person, as he sits there in his robe and cravat… I think modern gentlemen would be happy to partake in much of the same stuff.
A note to all about the course I was taking… The Art & Business of Surface Design with Rachael Taylor. If you’ve been wanting to get into Surface Design, my recommendation is to stop thinking about it and just do it. I’ve already learned an absolute ton and it’s been incredibly motivating and inspiring, and really begins to prepare you for both the creative and professional aspects of the industry. I can’t say enough good things about it, and I’m excited to start the next segment of the course next month. A huge thanks to Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholls for offering such an amazing course!