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HELLO 2017!

Filtering by Tag: home decor


diane sullivan

Gone Fishin'

Gone Fishin' 

I love storytelling.  I love thinking about people's stories and how they influence who they are, how they work, what unique and wonderful things they bring to the world, especially in the creative realm.  

 It's that time of year when I do a re-assessment of where I am with my personal and professional goals, where I want to be going, what else I'd like to examine, and where I would like to grow in my journey as a creative.  And this year, I am asking myself, that very question.  "Who am I", "what's my story?" and how does it influence my work as a creative?  

I am one of 6 children, born to a carpenter and a seamstress, both with very strong work ethic and the craft of creating objects of beauty for others.  My mother sewed most of our clothing, wedding gowns for friends and family, and was a huge influence in my desire to learn to sew for myself.    It was 4H that gave me the confidence to show some of my first pieces, and I won my first blue ribbon for a plaid apron and matching potholders at the State Fair.   That was the beginning of my love affair with sewing and cloth.  I began making most of my own clothing and wore it proudly. 

My grandmother hand sewed quilts for from old clothing scraps.  Her quilts were embellishments in our home,  cherished for the history they held,  but not to be used.  At age 20, I took my first quilting class with Eugenia (Genie) Barnes, who lived a few towns away, before she became well known in quilting industry.  Again, another love affair began and grew into a full blown relationship.  My own quilt collection and my fabric stash grew quickly.  Sewing and creating with fabric have been a constant.  Clothing, home decor projects, and quilting, all part of my story. 

Fast forward to more recent years.  I have been working as a clinical social worker and spending my days hearing other's stories and the influences they have in people's  personal and professional lives.  It is fascinating work.  But the desire to create has become a bigger voice and I have been making more time and space for this and reducing my time working as a social worker. 

My entry into surface pattern design felt, at the time, like a simple curiosity.  How to take a simple photograph and get it on a piece of fabric to make a pattern and then create a piece of clothing, or some home decor product that I could own and admire in my own home. 

 You see, I am a very curious creature.  I grew up in a rural area, and spent most of my free time in the outdoors, exploring, making adventures out of simple tasks, creating my own fun with anything and everything I had available.  Daisy headbands, tree forts, bark boats, skipping stones in the pond, catching fireflies, and pondering the wonders of nature and how things worked.  Curious questions.  And the search for answers.  I had this desire to put a photograph on fabric as a repeat pattern, but I had no idea that it truly could be done.   I had no idea clue about the world of surface pattern design. 

When I created my first repeat pattern, I immediately knew I had found something that felt like home.  It suddenly felt a little bit like getting back to my roots.  Designing and creating a piece of  artwork that would embellish many types of surfaces made my heart sing. 

Most of my surface designs have a story.  I am deeply influenced by nature and the changing seasons.  I am still very much a curious creature, enjoy a challenge and love an adventure,  and weave all of that into everything I do. 

This pattern is called "Gone Fishin'.  It was designed for a Father's Day tie contest, and was influenced by my father's love of fishing and his strong desire to share that with me as a child.  It was one of my early patterns and I still love it. 

Looking ahead, I will be working on some new fabric collections, and continuing to build my home decor portfolio.  Hoping to have a web site overhaul soon!!  

You can still find me running barefoot in tall grasses and getting my hands dirty in the garden, wearing daisy headbands and asking curious questions.  


diane sullivan






Spring has definitely sprung.  The light is changing, weather patterns are a little bonkers in Upstate New York, and the days are longer.  And soon, we will be blessed with all things color.  My patterns are becoming more Spring like in their colors.  I am ready to embrace warmer weather and things coming alive!  

 In the meantime, I've been busy with my 100 day pattern challenge .  We are 16 days away from 100!!!!  It went so fast!!!  And even busier completing collections, making tear sheets, business cards, and my look book for Surtex 2017, which is right around the corner!  I'm super excited to be meeting fellow designers, and being surrounded by color and creative energy!!! 

Be on the look out here, as I will be setting a new challenge for myself upon completion of my 100 days of patterns, and I'm super excited to be adding an inspiration page to my web site where you will get to see more of my creative process.  Did I mention anywhere that Spring is also when I have my most creative energy?  I'm bursting at the seams with ideas and will be sharing them as they unfold. 


diane sullivan

When I began this 100 day challenge, I had no idea what to expect. Open to possibilities, with a wish to explore and no desired outcome other than to have fun, has been such a blast!  I'm working with colors I am not normally drawn to, doing more hand sketches of motifs that in the beginning I can't imagine turning into something useful in a pattern, and as always, am pleasantly surprised in the end with what comes forth.  

Hard to believe I am into day 42 already!!! Time flies. That's almost halfway there.  And I can already say I think I'll be sad when it's over.  This has been a great way to challenge myself, so of course I'm already thinking of the next great challenge.  

And SURTEX!!  Surtex is just around the corner!! Busy working on tear sheets, business cards, banners, and all things Surtex is making this all so real. As a newbie to this venue, I'm anxious and excited all at once!  

 Oh, and as if all of this isn't enough, I'm still taking classes. I just finished the Make it In Design Winter School, which was so fun and pushed me to think of new ways to work. I'm on a mission to tackle Photoshop this year. Yes, Photoshop, you are going down with me. I'm on a mission to figure out the depths of your soul and how to create beauty with my photography and turn it into surface designs that will knock people's socks off! I'm currently taking the portfolio building class with Rise Design & Shine, which is packed with goodness and so much talent!! I'm working on my first round of Valentine's Day cards, which is a stretch for me, but one that I'm enjoying.

So life is busy as usual, but there is always something new going on, and ways I am bending and stretching that make me grow as a surface designer. I am among some amazing artists in this work and feel at home for the first time in many years!