Monday, December 26, 2011

spectacular surface pattern design

I have been taking this amazing Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design course online ~ created by the dynamic duo of Beth Nicholls and Rachael Taylor ~ and wanted to share a bit about what's it been like. From a student standpoint, it's been amazing on every single level. From the impeccable organization to the thoughtful exercises to the amazing interviews with prominent people in the pattern design industry, from the jam-packed information that has been so beautifully designed into each week to the supportive, inspiring community, I just can't say enough! I realized that since starting the Makerie, I haven't made much time for any making myself, which is a little bit funny because it was the making I loved so much that was the whole reason I started the Makerie and remains at the heart of what it's all about. I still struggle with finding balance and giving all the things I love in my life the right amount of time and energy ~ raising children, making time to spend with my husband, working on the Makerie, making meaningful, healthy homemade meals and goodies for my family, exercising, spending quality time with friends, being creative with my two kiddos, getting proper rest, and finding time for a little of my own creativity too. It's this last piece that always seems to fall to the bottom of my priorities at this time in my life, yet it's one of the things that brings me so much happiness!

A big part of Module 1 of the pattern design class is drawing. What I have adored so very much has been rediscovering how much I truly love to draw and it has brought back many memories of my love for this as a child. I have been thinking about how I won a drawing contest at Zoo School camp way back when. I drew a giraffe and being the shy person I am, was so embarrassed to walk up to the front of the auditorium to accept my prize. (I wish I could find that drawing!) No wonder I find myself happily lost in illustrating lunch notes for my little ones! I often regret never applying to art or design school. Oh why didn't I listen to those little voices that have been nagging me all along? I could have spent weeks just working on the drawing prompts in the course, and plan to do the wonderfully creative exercises presented many times over. Just this short spurt of creative instruction has helped to see the world already in new ways. I'm creating patterns in my mind out of everything I see! The class assignments were broken down into wonderfully simple exercises, which made it easy for an untrained artist like me to follow and feel inspired by. I even did some of them with my 5 year old, which was one of my favorite afternoons we've spent together. There is nothing like witnessing the uninhibited artistic nature of children!

As much as I have loved making a little time again for my own creativity, it was not nearly as much as I would have liked to dedicate to the course. Due to various circumstances, I was not able to put the amount of time and energy I had wanted and hoped to. I like to give everything my all so this was hard for me! Oh how I would have loved to duck away to a cozy cabin for an uninterrupted week to play with drawing and patterns and color ~ and while we're at it, let's add in a wood burning fireplace, my favorite warm tea and anything from the bread group right out of the oven. My time is often not my own with two young children, work responsibilities, a husband that travels a lot, and just the general busyness of family life. We all try to do it all, don't we?

The pattern design class has been awesome in many ways and made me realize once again, not only how important creativity is in all our lives, but also how hard it can be to make it a priority. The beauty of this e-course allowed me to wiggle in the time at my own pace and yes, sometimes even in my pj's! It also made me think about the reason I started the Makerie ~ an uninterupted weekend dedicated to giving the gift of time and space to play and create ~ away from the demands of everyday life.

I am so grateful to Beth and Rachael for pouring their hearts into this e-course and for all I've learned so far. I can't wait to explore my own style of pattern design over time and I'm super inspired by the amazingly talented community ~ hence the over 2600 photos in our class flickr pool and a super fun contest we launched to design our 2012 Makerie goodie bag (more on that later!). My goal is to repeat Module 1 when it's offered again this spring, and then carry through to Modules 2 & 3. There is so much more I'm craving to learn! So if you have the chance and you are interested in any type of pattern design ~ fabric, stationery, greeting cards, home decor, etc... ~ I highly recommend giving this a go. And the beauty of it? You really don't even have to be an 'artist' at all. Just ask me!



  1. What a great wrap up of the course!! I did it too and like you didn't have as much time to devote to it as I would like but I'm looking forward to making some me time so I can get stuck into it! Looking forward to Module 2. See you in class :)

  2. Oh thanks Michelle! I will be taking Module 2 on the next round, as I want to thoroughly soak up more of Module 1 first. Happy designing!

  3. Thanks for your post, I soooo wanted to do the course too but it was a tad too expensive for me (I have been ill this year & had to take 3 months off of work, unpaid as I am self employed!). Maybe next year...

    Happy new year! x

  4. Hey there! What a amazingly looking blog you have! Did you make your domain with our own help?