Please join us in celebrating this month’s spotlight surface designer, Allison Rasmussen. We know you’ll find her story inspiring!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi! I’m Allison from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I live in a small loft apartment with my 2 kids and husband. City life definitely influences and inspires my work! I have been creative for as long as I can remember, all the way down to only joining girl guides for the crafts! In my professional life, I have spent the last 20 years working in retail design for a global home furnishings company. Being surrounded by beautiful design on a daily basis illuminated my love and passion to pursue surface pattern design.
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.
Thinking back, 15 years ago I remember wanting to be a textile designer but had no idea how to pursue it. After I had my first child I was trying to reconnect with myself and decided a creative outlet was the answer.
Over the next 6 months I took advantage of every nap time learning how to screen print my designs on fabric to make hand sewn cushion covers. I opened my Etsy shop not long after that. I was featured in online blogs, TV morning shows, and Etsy’s own seasonal spotlight in New York! As life got busier, my Etsy shop took a back seat.
When the pandemic hit, it put things back in perspective and I decided to refocus. I discovered the SDR 3×3 Design Challenge and spent time over the next year to practice and learn new skills while developing my portfolio.
Do you have a favorite portfolio design or client collaboration?
Currently, my favorites are the linen tea towels I learned to manufacture. I will be launching these on my Etsy shop this fall. Once I see what designs are the crowd favorites, I hope to branch into wholesale.
What or who are you inspired by?
I find most my inspiration in urban landscapes and nature. My favorite artist is Sanna Annukka.
Do you have resources you’d like to recommend?
Most my work is created with my iPad using Affinity designer or Procreate. I used Skillshare classes by Liz Kohler Brown. I participated in the 3×3 Design Challenge, Pitch Your Portfolio, Leverage Your Art, Creative Powerhouse Society, and took Manufacture Awesome with Rebecca Jane Woolbright.
What do you like to do outside of surface design?
Apart from working full-time in retail design and daily family life with my husband and 5 and 8 year old boys, most of my extra time goes to growing my portfolio, taking classes and building websites (still working on it!) etc. When I get the chance I enjoy sewing and being by the ocean.
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?
I’m proud of taking the leap to invest in myself. Despite my limited time, when I look at what I have done in the past year to work toward my goal I am pretty proud! Making the choice to focus and learn has put me far ahead of where I would have been. I was able to learn 2 drawing apps on the iPad, grow my portfolio, re-brand my Etsy shop (opening soon!), start selling on Spoonflower, manufacture my own tea towels and washi tape, and start building a website.
If you could offer advice to other designers who are struggling, what would that be?
My biggest advice is to set a goal for the week and write it down or tell someone. It’s easy to get distracted with so many aspects of my business to work on, especially when time is very limited. It’s nice to look back on the week and feel accomplished no matter how big or small the weekly goal.