Lizzie is an artist you absolutely should get to know. Now I may be a bit biased as she’s been my accountability partner for 5+ years, but she’s truly one of the best people I know. Not only that, but her home decor-focused artwork is stunning and she’s got lots of great advice for staying in this industry long-term. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her.
Please Introduce Yourself
First I want to say thank you for the spotlight! It’s an honor.
For the moment, I’m loving urban living and walkability in Old Town Alexandria, VA. And I’m SO looking forward to moving in August to State College, PA. One of the perks of my surface pattern design career, of over 5 years, is that it’s portable!
Tell us a little bit about your design journey.
While I’ve always considered myself creative, my a-ha moment came, over 20 years ago, when my husband fired me (in a loving and supportive way), from the company where we both worked. He told me to buy a printer, take classes if I needed them, and be the artist he knew I was. That turned into 15 years as a solopreneur graphic designer. Then I had a stroke. After that experience (from which I fully recovered) I lost my drive to do that kind of work.
Our son was going to be starting college and my husband looked at me (again, lovingly) and said that I needed to find something to do, or I would drive us both loony. I started making collage art on business card size canvases with beautiful art paper. After I started doing shows, it seemed the next step was to have my own designs on the paper I was using.
That sent me scouring the internet for instruction on how to make a repeating pattern. I quickly found Jessica Swift and Bonnie Christine. Both lovely humans and excellent teachers.
When I made my first repeating pattern, the JOY light was turned on inside of me. And when I realized I could put patterns on more than just paper, that was it! I haven’t stopped since.
I describe my style as contemporary relying on mostly floral and organic themes, with hints of Scandinavian and Japanese influences. My color palette is sophisticated, calming, and relies on a lot of grey. Bringing “art to life” and beauty to the function of every day is where I find joy and why I design.
What advice about the surface design industry has been most helpful to you in your career so far?
Hmmmm… I think, hands down, it’s been the message that this is a LONG game. Everyone I’ve met in the past 5 years has been super supportive, encouraging, and generous, AND those that have been around longer than I have, all say something like — “Be patient, be consistent, “NO’s” aren’t personal or even forever, and keep showing up.”
What has been your favorite client collaboration to date and how did you find them?
Stepping outside the lines here… I think my two favorites, so far, are The Collection Designs — Kim Walton is a delight to work with on my needlepoint canvases; and a dress company (that I can’t reveal just yet). My patterns are due out later this Spring and I love that the styles are for EVERYbody, they’re sewn in the U.S., many of them have pockets (!), they’re machine washable, and the company cares about their carbon footprint, which is important to my brand.
I found The Collection Designs by having a punch needle pillow (punched by my husband; did I mention he’s great?) on display in my Surtex 2020 booth. A woman from Planet Earth Fiber stopped by and said she would pass my name on to Kim Walton. She did and Kim reached out!
The dress company found me from my website, and then met with me during a virtual Printsource show in April 2021.
When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?
At this moment, I’m most proud of exhibiting at Surtex for the first time in 2017. It was a BIG deal and loads of planning went into the experience. Prepping for that Surtex show is how I met Shannon!
I was suffering from major imposter syndrome. On the first day of the show, several lovely humans came by and asked me how many years I’d been coming to Surtex, and said that they’d love to have rooms with wallpaper with my designs! So grateful for that experience and the wonderful people I met. It was a risk worth taking for sure.
What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?
Great question. The same thing I tell myself when I’m struggling…
Keep showing up!
Don’t get bogged down comparison shopping on IG. Share your work. Seek out people to connect with who are a bit ahead of where you are. Learn something new about this business every day. Create even when you feel like it’s not working. Trust yourself!
Where can we find you?
P.S. If you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog, you can always submit your story right here!
Love Lizzie’s advice about showing up. I keep repeating it everyday to myself. Gorgeous art, Lizzie!