Surface design : Brie Harrison

Brie Harrison is obsessed with her garden. So it’s no wonder that her patterns are filled with bright, happy, colourful flowers. Oodles of them, in clear, scandi and folk-inspired shapes.

 

brie harrison - autumn garden

brie harrison – autumn garden

 

She is also obsessed with pattern. She received a degree in Printed Textile design for Fashion and worked in this industry for a number of years. Feeling the need to break out a bit, she took the plunge and started on her own work with a style that was a bit more illustrative. Shortly after, her friend, the indomitable illustrator Mike Perry asked her to put some work forward for his book about hand drawn patterns, called ‘Over & Over’. The book was beautiful, and Brie says it was a big boost for her confidence and encouraged her to do more.

Another serious boost came when she saw her Art Angels wrapping paper for sale in  Liberty London. “It made me feel very happy.” Now, she also produces work for BlueQ, Radley London, Galison stationers, and Rugs USA.

 

brie harrison - daffodil field

brie harrison – daffodil field

 

Brie spends hours working from nature – taking photos, drawing in her sketchbooks. Flowers, berries and seedpods are especially important to her.

When she does get into her workspace, it’s a happy, orderly clutter, with a turquoise chest of drawers,  piles of postcards, photos, books and papers. She says she always has the radio playing, and many cups of tea help to fuel her day.

 

brie harrison - spring buds

brie harrison – spring buds

 

Even as a child, Brie told me she was always busy creating. “I was always at my miniature wooden table that my Dad made, drawing and colouring and from a very young age.  There are a few special projects that come to mind: there was a giant drawing of Rupert the bear I did for my Dad’s 39th birthday; there were lots of fimo cat magnets, and one time I painted a life size sunflower in my bedroom on the wall when I was about 12 (gold sponging included. Hmmm).”

 

brie harrison - vintage rose

brie harrison – vintage rose

 

I asked her what she would do if I gave her a cardboard box, a marker pen and a sharp knife.  “I would make a play-oven for my friend’s little 3 year-old, Iris, so she could bake me a pretend carrot cake. She’s so cool!”

Her best piece of advice?

“Accept that we are all different.”

 

brie harrison - wallflowers

brie harrison – wallflowers

 

You can find more of Brie’s delectable flowers on her website, briedee.com.

 

Surface design : Marina Molares

Born of a Spanish father and American mother, Marina Molares spent her childhood travelling the globe with her parents. Absorbing a world of customs and cultures, she grew and grew until she became too big for the earth so she built her own cosmos, and filled it with drawings and collages and sheltering cubby houses.

Marina Molares is a practising artist in many disciplines; sculpture, collage, photography, painting, graphic design and surface design. She studied Fine Arts at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and went on to receive her Master of Arts Degree from the University of Leeds in 2005.

 

marina molares - 2

 

Part of her practice is to create something every day. It’s a strategy that has resulted in prolific output, and excellent work.

 

marina molares - 4

One of her many languages is drawing. It is the basis of all her surface designs; textural lines that are equal parts strong and delicate. I asked her how she started in patterns. “I became very interested when I went to Leeds with my Erasmus Scholarship while studying Fine Arts. I had never seen the process of repeating before and I liked it a lot. Back in Madrid, a friend who’s a fashion designer told me I should print my patterns in fabric and sell them to fashion brands for their collections. I tried and they liked them!”

marina molares - 3

Like many designers, in the past she has been the victim of plagiarism. But she hasn’t let it get her down; she focuses strongly on the good instead, because there have been many excellent moments – like when when she was walking down the street and she saw a beautiful woman wearing one of her patterns that she’d made for Spanish fashion label Hoss Intropia. She was thrilled.

“Another great moment was when the Hoss Intropia team asked me if I’d be interested in giving away some of my patterns for a good cause: a collaboration with Oxfam Intermon and the fair trade project Veraluna. I’ve collaborated in three collections already and though I was already helping NGOs a bit economically, I had never thought that I could also help creatively just by making some surface designs for free. It’s very satisfying to be part of this project.”

marina molares - 5

 

marina molares - 8

Being an artist working in many different disciplines, Marina has a huge list of influences. “For collage,  classics like Hannah Hoch, Duchamp, Man Ray and contemporaries like Beth Hoeckel, Xochi Solis, Brian Cheeck, Jordan Clark, Tom Moglu, Rafafans, Ruth Van Beek, Jessica Bell, Shaun Kardinal, Matthew Craven, Nicholas Lockyer, Tracey Jager, Julien Pacaud…

marina molares - 9

 

“I love photographers like William Eggleston, land artists like Christo and Jean Claude or Andy Goldsworthy, painters like Shiele, Munch, Jenny Saville, sculptors like Calder, Ernesto Neto or Aaron Moran, illustrators like Escher, Julia Pott, Ashley Goldberg, Lizzie Stewart, Sara Falli…”

At that point she stopped listing people, and suggested we check out her Pinterest boards instead…

 

marina molares - 1

 

I’m rather intrigued by her collages as well. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes incredibly gutsy and very definitely food for thought.

 

marina molares - collage

marina molares – collage

 

marina molares - collage

marina molares – collage

 

Her work straddles many mediums and some very different ideas. I asked her what her favourite piece was. “I have to say that my favourite pieces are from long ago: my hugging softies.”

“I made a Hugging Dress that looks like a strange white bug or sloth, and the Hugging Box where you can get in and feel safe and cozy. The Claustrophilia series began with a homage to my mother and her wonderful “bear hugs” and how they made me feel safe when I was a little girl. Also, after reading Gaston Bachelard’s book Poetics of Space, I understood someone else had written about this “back to the womb” feeling. The dwellings, kids forts with blankets, drawers and secret places inspired this period.”

 

marina molares - hugging softie

marina molares – hugging softie

 

Her best piece of advice? “Be nice.”
You can find more of Marina’s vast collection of work on her website, marinamolares.com, and you can find more of her surface designs in her Spoonflower shop, marinamolares.

Surface design : Carolina Abarca

Carolina Abarca once had a career as a research scientist. After shifting countries several times in a few years with her husband and young family, she decided that being involved in research was problematic. “Every time we moved it was more difficult to advance my career and look after my family at the same time.” It was time to move on to something else.

But what?

 

carolina abarca - flowers and curves aubergine

carolina abarca – flowers and curves aubergine

 

Originally from Chile, but moving through various countries including Germany and Belgium over the past 15 years, and now finally making their home in Barcelona, Carolina first became interested in patterns when a friend asked her to join a local quilting group. “I fell in love with the technique and even more with the fabrics! I started to paint some of the fabric designs using stencils and stamps and I found myself wanting to create more and more complicated designs. So I think it was around October 2013 that I decided to teach myself how to use software to create patterns, and a month later I opened an account in Spoonflower and so it started. I am not sure exactly where this is going to go but one thing I know for sure is that I love what I am doing.” (If that 8 month time frame is anything to go by, then I’d reckon she’s definitely heading somewhere big!)

Despite the cultural and geographical shifts, I can’t help but think of Spanish tiles when I look at many of Carolina’s designs – perhaps there’s some kind of subliminal influence from her current surroundings. For me, it’s the kaleidoscopic and grid-based damasks – they’re classic and fresh in subdued tones of coral, grey and blue.

 

carolina abarca - green and natural

carolina abarca – green and natural

 

“As a child I was often exposed to crafts and my mum is a great knitter, sewer and crocheter. In fact I wore cardigans knitted by her until I went to university and still have a few in my wardrobe! Although she never succeeded in teaching me how to knit or sew when I was young I have been surprised how creative skills have come naturally to me. Years later when I bought a sewing machine I was using it as if my mum had shown me yesterday.

 

It was as if my creative side had been asleep all those years and suddenly woke up.

 

I also remember how much I enjoyed arts and crafts at the school as a child and remember some projects like wood carving, or string nail art and sisal plants hangers.”

 

carolina abarca - groovy leaves

carolina abarca – groovy leaves

 

Although she admires several designers, such as Orla Kiely, Stig Lindberg and Sanna Annukka, she admits that “My inspiration comes from a variety of places, from anything and everywhere. But I have to say that a great source of ideas is playing with my children as they often look at the world in unexpected ways.”

 

carolina abarca - hummingbird

carolina abarca – hummingbird

 

Her technique usually starts with a hand drawn sketch of her idea. “I scan it into the computer and start developing it. Sometimes I dive straight into the computer and use a digital drawing tablet (which I love!). When creating a design I spend time searching for the right colours and build up palettes of my favourites. I strongly believe that the right colour palette can turn a good design into a great design.”

 

carolina abarca - retro ocean waves

carolina abarca – retro ocean waves

 

carolina abarca - new

carolina abarca – new

 

 

Her best advice? “I like to keep in mind what Ken Robinson says in his TED talk about education: “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” “

 

Surface design : Tim Colmant

When I asked graphic designer and pattern maker Tim Colmant where his inspiration came from, he replied “The Memphis movement, past, present and future.” And so it is.  Flat colours in brights and pastels, meandering lines, dots and chunky shapes cover his surfaces – a whimsical hybrid of tiger tails, worms, eyes and fold-out books, floating on backgrounds of rivers, sky and stars. And sometimes taken one step further with pleasure-inducing animated gifs.

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

The Memphis Group was an Italian collective in the 1980s, best know for their rebellious approach to furniture design and the decorative arts. Led by respected architect Ettore Sottsass, their work was deliberately kitsch, often using stripped-down historical forms, reinventing them in gaudy colours and new materials such as plexiglass, neon lights and glitter finishes, and Nathalie du Pasquier was responsible for many of the patterns decorating surfaces; a mix of jagged geometrics, leopardskin and tortoiseshell.

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

Tim is a long-time lover of pattern, but only started experimenting with it himself recently. Based in Gent, Belgium, he has always worked as a graphic designer and only started in illustration and pattern design about a year and a half ago after he discovered du Pasquier’s work.  “Now I really enjoy doing pattern, it’s a blend of abstraction, chaos, composition and repetition.”

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

Pattern and drawing have been a thing for him ever since he was small. “I know that I was drawing a lot like most of the children from my generation, and my mother still has some of them (Big Ups Mum!). I also made and decorated a totem when I was a little child in school.”

Now, armed with nothing fancier than a computer, a digital tablet and a mug of tea Tim has managed to get his work out in to world and has an impressive list of clients, including  Bloomberg and Wrap Magazine. He feels very lucky to be doing something he loves as work. “Every time I receive mail of people telling me they like my work, my work makes them happy or people want to work with me I’m happy.”

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

tim colmant

tim colmant

 

His best piece of advice “I know it will sounds really cheesy but HAVE FUN & WORK HARD. And never forget about that, if you have fun, people will see this, feel it.”

You can find more of Tim’s work on his tumblr and his Facebook page.

tim's totem

tim’s totem

 

Surface design : Julia Grifol

“Since I was a child I knew I wanted to be a designer. All my textbooks were filled with doodles, and I continuously imagined myself being a designer travelling all around the world. That passion and need to draw have been a constant throughout my life.”

 

julia grifol -welcome birds to my garden

julia grifol -welcome birds to my garden

 

Julia Grifol works from her small and chaotic studio at home in Valencia on the eastern coast of  Spain, with her computer and a big drawing table filled with papers. It has a big window with a view over the park and blue sky and she loves being there. Sometimes she dreams of a tidier studio, but she never quite gets there. “I try not to be messy and absent minded, but it is very difficult for me. Anyway, I think it is quite usual among artists.”

It was while undertaking her Diploma in Artistic Illustration that she received a grant to promote young designers in Valencia, and she first started designing prints. She went on to graduate in Illustration and then undertook a further Diploma in Fashion Design.

 

julia grifol - my happy flowers

julia grifol – my happy flowers

 

Her work combines bright, cheerful colour and a sweet naivety, with lots of flowers and a big emphasis on line and drawing. She’s a big fan of Gustav Klimt, William Morris and the Art Nouveau of Alphonse Mucha.

“I enjoy most designing floral patterns. All my patterns are vector ones. First, I sketch some ideas on pencil on a tracing paper and trace them in hand by ink. I scan the drawing and clean it in photoshop, then I trace it with my mouse or my wacom tablet in Illustrator. But on my last works, I wanted to be faster so I have used Illustrator Live Trace. Once the motifs have been vectored, I colour them and distribute them around to make a repeat.” She has developed prints for a wide range of industries for both Spanish and international brands, including children’s print and fashion industry as well as graphic projects for fashion and stationery. Currently freelancing, she works with the home and fashion industries, and also accepts commissions and collaborative projects.

 

julia grifol - my dreams

julia grifol – my dreams

 

Being a freelancer certainly has its advantages, but it’s never all smooth sailing. Some clients are painful, with unrealistic requirements and deadlines. “You must also be versatile as they think you can design anything.” And then there’s the disappointment of seeing what some of them do with your hard work. “The worst is when you see your design on products with poor quality or which are distributed badly.” She has learnt from that experience, and now chooses  her clients more carefully.

 

julia grifol - my flowers and butterflies

julia grifol – my flowers and butterflies

 

Her best advice? “I have told several times to good designer friends and myself that it is very important to believe firmly in our work, and to believe we are good enough to reach our dreams and that we deserve it.

 

“It is also very important to be persistent.”

 

“Very easy to say in words.”

 

julia grifol at work

julia grifol at work

 

You can find more of Julia’s work on her own site, www.juliagrifoldesigns.com, as well as Spoonflower and Society6.

Surface design : Katherine Scarritt

Katherine Scarritt loves materials: wood, wool, acrylic paint. She loves how they feel in her hands, and is fascinated with how each material responds differently to various processes. More importantly, she is fascinated with how this affects the final product. “For me, working on any type of art almost always means process is foremost.  That is, while I may have a general sense of the final product that I wish to make (shapes, colors, pattern elements, mood…), I allow the piece to evolve organically. ”

 

katherine scarritt - lost again

katherine scarritt – lost again

 

“Materials can speak to me.  Natural materials have wonderful qualities:  wool stretches, wood can splinter or be smoothed down… but even manufactured products can have surprising qualities.  A permanent marker can create a line that seems luminous.  A ball-point pen can work acrylic paint into a unique texture.  And learning the capabilities of digital media excites me. So, in art, mistakes can be a new point of departure. Or a perfect imperfection.  That being said, I also have quite a few pieces that never make it to the public eye.  That’s part of the process, too.”

 

katherine scarritt - squares squares

katherine scarritt – squares squares

 

katherine scarritt - modern love

katherine scarritt – modern love

 

Her recent foray into surface design has her exploring materials of the 2D and virtual kind. Often starting with just a marker pen on paper, Katherine brings together her favourite inspirations of African fabric, Navajo rugs, Mayan reliefs, and Aboriginal dream art to create striking abstract patterns.

katherine scarritt - light

katherine scarritt – light

She has a long-time interest in art and design.  She received a degree in art, specializing in fibre arts early on. She also studied education for students with disabilities and spent most of my adult life in education. (During this time, she also ran a small farm with dairy goats, chickens, an orchard, and a greenhouse.)  “Towards the end of my teaching career, I was very stressed. I took up art supplies once again, and found therapeutic comfort in creating designs.  I was watching Project Runway on TV when they had an episode in which the designers got to create their own fabric on Spoonflower.  I thought, I want to do that!  And so it started.  I am continuously building my design business.”
katherine scarritt - ya ya

katherine scarritt – ya ya

 

She feels awed and humbled by the possibilities of connecting in the internet age. “I have met so very many wonderful people; artists and designers.  It may seem odd to say ‘met,’ as I have yet to meet many in person, but I find that regular correspondence in one form or another can create bonds.  Certainly, there are the bonds of shared experience: most of us are at various stages of our design business and are striving for whatever we may feel is success.  But, also, I see people’s art on a regular basis, and it can really give you a sense of their interests, their journey.”

 

 

katherine scarritt - la la lined up

katherine scarritt – la la lined up

 

Katherine laughs when she describes her workspace. “It’s chaos.  And not controlled.  I would like a more organized space, but I excel at bringing chaos wherever I go. Oh sure, there are bins, baskets, jars, etc. to sort things out…but most everything ends up on my table in a big pile.  I tend to work, therefore, in my lap.  Or on the floor for big pieces.  Let’s hope that one’s space really does not reflect the workings of one’s mind.” So when I asked her if there was anything quirky or curious about her that she would be willing to share, her response was “See above.  There is very little about me that isn’t quirky;  I was once described as a ‘walking Dr. Suess character.’  Natural klutz.”

 

 

katherine scarritt - blue x for la la

katherine scarritt – blue x for la la

Her best piece of advice? “Listen to your heart.  My mother told me this as a teen.  This takes some strength, as the brain always wants to take over.  But your heart knows.”
You can find more of Katherine’s work on her Spoonflower shop, KCS, and on Society6.