Friday, April 4, 2014

Artist Spotlight - Elizabeth Olwen

Elizabeth is Pretty Passionate about Pretty Patterns!

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
I have always been obsessed with patterns, some of my earliest memories involve the patterns in our home growing up. I was always a little artist as a kid, always drawing, painting, sewing and doing anything and everything creative. Luckily, I went to art school and discovered graphic design, which I worked in for many years. But when it comes to patterns I taught myself. I just used to goof around and make patterns for fun, and then bought a few books on textile design and learned how to create proper repeats. Once I learned that, the world opened up and I started creating patterns like crazy. When it came to how to make it a lucrative career option though, I was lost. So I took a online course called The Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design, where I learned a ton about developing my personal style, putting together effective collections and how to make it as a surface designer. Things really changed after that and I’ve had a really incredible couple of years since.

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I get a ton of inspiration from nature and all of its strange and beautiful forms. I find it endlessly inspiring. Following that, I get tons of inspiration from the world around me in my wanderings. Just keeping my eyes open and trying to really SEE things that are around me. I also love old vintage fabrics and would spend every weekend at a flea market if I could.

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I really focus on drawing with pen and paper and then I turn those drawings into digital form using my tablet. My work has a really graphic look so this suits me best!

What are you working on now?
I just finished designing my second collection of fabrics with Cloud9 Fabrics! My first collection with them, Grey Abbey ( just launched and it’s been a really wonderful experience seeing people interact with my patterns, to see what people create with them is just so exciting! So I can’t wait for the next one to come out next Fall. I’ve been working on new products with Madison Park Greetings too. We just launched a ton of new products in January ( — gift wraps, greeting cards, gift bags, washi tapes, iPhone covers, all sorts of stuff, which turned out beautifully — and I can’t wait for the next batch to launch too. And some other fun things in the works that I’ll share when the time is right! I’m also planning for Surtex this coming May (booth 741). I exhibited there last year for the first time, and just can’t wait to get back and do it all over again. So, busy times in my little studio!

Are you an early riser? or night owl?

Right now, I’m trying to be both! Generally speaking, I’m a night owl… I love working when I can fully relax, when there aren’t emails to attend to and I can fully unwind and just be freely creative. My boyfriend gets up early to go to work and lately I’ve been getting up early with him. He brings me a cup of tea, and I draw in bed for a few hours before I even sit down at my desk, which is just the nicest way to start the day. Basically, I feel best working when the rest of the world is asleep.

What is your favorite food?
Savoury: homemade pasta with homemade sauce. Sweet: home baked vanilla cake.

You can find Elizabeth: / twitter: @elizabetholwen / instagram: @elizabetholwenxo

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