Thursday, 5 January 2012

Welcome 2012: A new adventure – Surface Pattern e-Course with Rachael Taylor and Beth Nicholls.

Hello all and welcome 2012. Spring will be here before we know it :o)

2011 was a great year for me but I do love a new start and this year will certainly bring some changes.

I’d like to start with owning up to being rubbish at writing this blog. I have so much I want to say and then when it comes to writing it I can’t think of a thing. So in the spirit of New Year Resolutions, I’ll make keeping this blog up to date my first one. Hopefully telling you all about it will make me stick to it. I’m also going to treat myself to a lovely little notebook or jotter to jeep my thoughts in and then remembering what I want to write on here will no longer be an issue. As much as I adore my iPhone typing notes is just not the same.

Anyway what I’d really like to tell you about is the “Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design” e-course that I enrolled on at the end of last year. I’ve just completed the first module and can’t wait to get started on the next one. My parents bought me modules 2 & 3 for Christmas. They always encourage my work and provide continued support when I doubt myself.

The course started in November and it is already shaping up to be one of the best decisions I have made yet!

I decided to take part on in this course for a number of reasons. For a long time I have been looking for a course to further my knowledge of art/ design and also because 6 years after uni having never worked in the field full-time I feel I have started to stagnate somewhat. I felt that it would be great to be part a community of like-minded people again as I have really missed the support of my peers. The great thing about an on-line course means I can do it in my own time and continue to pay the mortgage! I couldn’t possibly justify the cost of a Masters when I feel that I haven’t used my degree to its full potential and at 29 I am now itching to carve out that illusive career for myself as soon as possible.

So the course … I was particularly impressed with Rachael’s portfolio and it is just the kind of work that I love- really vibrant and detailed but loose line work. I’ll admit that I didn’t know of Rachael before the course was advertised on twitter. I haven’t been following surface pattern at all. In fact since graduating as an Illustrator I have ignored that nagging suspicion that surface pattern might actually be my “thing” because I felt I needed to choose a career and stick to it. The way Rachael works and her and Beth’s positive attitudes towards life have genuinely inspired me.

One of things about this course that really stood out to me was the level of motivational support offered. I have struggled with confidence my whole life and hidden it fairly well but when I comes to my work I am my own best critic and I am constantly so afraid to fail that I don’t even start! (3rd Resolution – stop doing this!) Our group shared images of our work on Flickr and we held discussions on there too. I have been overwhelmed with the lovely comments people have added about my work. I have also been trying to comment on other people’s work as much as possible and to suggest inspirations/links. I’m really feeling the love within this group. I can’t share the group’s photos but you can see my images here:

In just the first week of Module 1 I felt my confidence come rushing back. I was doing homework for the course every night and at weekends and I loved every minute of it. Designing patterns feels completely natural and the exercises we were given were just so much fun. Mind I did get some funny looks when photographing things with my phone at lunch around the industrial estate where I work. But who cares!

Starting this course made me realise that my passion for design has come full circle. My very first design and colour inspiration came from hanging around the design studio of a wallpaper and fabrics company that my Mum used to work for when I was a child. I got to help out in the studio as a teenager and try screen-printing which was so cool.

I have shared a love of sewing all of my life courtesy of my Mum and I she helped create some of the soft furnishings in our house.

The biggest change for me this year will be to go part-time which I’m really hoping my manager can accommodate. We’ve not agreed it yet but it looks likely to be a positive outcome. This is a huge scary step for me as I love my independence and to pay my half of the bills. I realized however that in order to kick-start this career I need a lot more time and going part-time will allow me the time I need whilst still contributing to the household. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my amazingly supportive fiancé. I am so grateful to him. However I’m happy in the knowledge that if he thinks I’m slacking he’ll be sure to kick my ass! Plus he also turned my designs into an amazing website last year. Together we will be updating it this year to include my pattern work and we will be working on a friends website together.

So a big thank you to Mum and Dad and Simon. I am really lucky to have such a great family. My lovely Dad is actually 60 today! I just can’t believe it as he neither looks or acts like a 60 year old. It also means that I have been privileged to know him for almost 30 years :o)

Ps … things of interest

As you might have noticed I love twitter! I found the course through twitter. I’ve also made new friends, found endless inspirational blogs and websites and a global art community. Follow me @lozbritchford

Pinterest – wow! Warning because as Rachael said this site is highly addictive. Essentially a digital mood board and place to share images of everything you love. Also a great place for your nearest and dearest to navigate to when stuck for present ideas. To join, you will need to request an invite though.

Etsy is full of beautiful hand-made things. *I’d like to make my 2nd New Year’s Resolution to make a real effort to buy hand-made wherever possible to support makers and to buy unique products. To buy British as a priority in order to support our economy and for environmental reasons. I will also open my own Etsy shop this year.


  1. Gorgeous work. The class is so great. Can't wait to see what you create in the next modules.

  2. YAY! for going part-time!!! :) When you put your heart and soul into something you get heart and soul in return. I'm a huge believer of "leap and the net will appear". I'm a single mother not receiving support and I left my full time job as an inhouse designer last August with little preparation other than a huge amount of trust in the Universe that I can do this! And I am doing it! I've never worked more in my life {slacking is not an option} but I've never loved my life more than I do now. You can do this! Good luck Laura! See you next module!

  3. You go girl! These designs are fantastic (I especially love the robin). See you next module :)

  4. Wow, thanks for all your lovely comments. Can't wait to "see" you all in module 2!

    Brooke, you're story is inspirational- well done for taking the plunge x