On entering competitions.

A great way to get your work noticed is to enter design competitions, of which there are loads. I recently participated in an Instagram challenge to create a floral a day for 30 days which was posted by Print Fresh a Philadelphia based design studio.  I was only able submit  6 designs  because I started late and  I work full time, so weekends are my painting time. I had loads of fun and thoroughly enjoyed creating the florals and seeing all the work of other participants. I would have loved to have been doing it everyday for the 30 days.

There are many arguments for and against entering these design competitions, this one written by Neil Bennett for DigitalArts for example and its worth finding out what designers think.

I enter because it’s an opportunity for me to take on a design brief – to challenge myself and my ability to meet a brief, to improve design skills and to do something that may not necessarily be about my own design preferences. Posting publicly also gives me some excellent insight into which designs are popular and I must say I am usually very surprised. Designs that I have spent considerable time on and that I quite like are often the least favourite.

So here are some recent posts I made for the Print Fresh Instagram.   Which one is your favourite?    Enjoy!


Lazy Daisy


In the Pink


Daisy Chain




Retro Rose



India- visual feast……

I am so fortunate to have the opportunity travel. My favourite place is textile heaven – India. Apart from the  most extraordinary range of textiles in the world, everything a textile designer  could possibly desire is there –  India is a visual feast.

The colours are mesmerising and full of joy, texture and pattern abound – everything  from the architecture to  fragments of debris scattered on the  street or the remains of posters layers on the walls bordering major roadways, beautifully painted trucks and finely painted henna to celebrate a wedding , huge bundles of flowers at the flower markets ready to be strung together and taken to the temple. I find it so inspiring. The images below were taken in Chennai, Kolkata and Jaipur.

Orange, fuchsia, turquoise, purple joy !      Take me there………………





More June Florals….


I love Friday… it is the day  I have the time to work at home on design ideas. I am currently working on florals for the latest Tigerprint  floral wrapping paper competition.  You have the chance to upload 5 designs and I had already loaded three last weekend. But, I did this one today and think it’s much better than the last one I posted, which reminds me of wrapping paper suitable for my Grandmother rather than the Target market customer at Marks and Spencers.


Black and White


It’s Sunday and I spent the  morning in the garden with the rest of the Community Crew getting ready for the Autumn planting. I’s a gorgeous day – sun shining, breeze blowing, big blue sky. But I couldn’t wait to get home to start another design challenge – this time set by http://designcompetition.tigerprint.uk.com. The challenge is to design wrapping paper or gift cards for the Marks and Spencer Customer and to only use black and white.


To create this collection I used a range of blocks that I have cut out of  waste material that I scrounged from Reverse Art Truck. It’s perfect as it has one side that is adhesive and it sticks well to the various sized blocks that I have picked up about the place. I also use all sort of things I find around the house to create patterns and can spend hours stamping onto paper. Here is one of  blocks I used for the prints above and below. 

Noughtsandcrosses             allover            smallstripeything

Playing with pattern.

It is a long weekend here, holiday time, beautiful weather, sun shining… I was thinking a 

Imagefew days at the beach would be sensational Sun, salt water and sand – bliss… didn’t do that. Stayed at home and spent time doing one of Chelsea’s Challenges. Chelsea is part of the team at Pattern Observer which was started a few years ago by Michelle Fifis. Pattern Observer is one of my favourite sites for textile design and they offer great courses in all aspects of textile design and the business of textile design.

Whist I am involved in teaching textile design and often do the briefs that I set my students it is fun doing a brief set by someone else. It just happens that I set my students a very similar task,  that is  to explore a wide  range of different ways you can develop a motif. We then learn about all the different layout and repeat systems that can be used to create patterns. So take one motif. It can be any shape – draw or paint or stamp or use any method you can think of to recreate the shape in as many differentways that you can.  Here is my example


Once you have experimented with your motifs and your mark making you can then arrange your motifs into a pattern  repeat. You can also start manipulating the design by working through different elements and principles to create a well balanced layout. Change the scale, layer motifs, add colour, vary tonal values, introduce new elements – lines, shapes, textures.