Surtex 2014: Where Patterns Rule

dssurtex2014
Over the past few years there’s been a noticeable change in the pattern trade show world. For years I would go from booth to booth explaining who I was, what I do and handing out business cards in hopes that someone would let me feature their work on Design*Sponge. But as pattern copying, especially with larger brands, became a bigger issue, artists became more and more protective of their work. While I completely understood their stance, it was sad to stroll through rows of beautiful patterns and talented artists and not be able to showcase their work in some way. But at this year’s show there was a palpable change. Rather than 2-3 booths like most years, this year’s show offered up handfuls of great artists that were more than happy to share their work online and had found a way to keep some work private while still getting their work, name and style online to spread the word. That meant that I was able to come home and collect cards and images from some very talented designers and I’m so thrilled to share them here today. From the bright abstract work of Ashley G to the playful pattern designs of Bikini sous la Pluie, this year’s show was an absolute delight. I hope you’ll enjoy my favorites and keep an eye out for them in the coming months and next year- I have a feeling we’ll see these patterns pop up on some beautiful home and fashion designs. xo, grace

Click through for the full post after the jump!

Caroline of Bikini sous la Pluie was the first designer I spoke with at this year’s show and her pattern work, below, was fantastic. I love all the cool blues and purples she uses.

Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie
Pattern by Bikini sous la Pluie

Ashley G is always one of my favorite pattern designers- and all around people- to run into at any show. I’ve so enjoyed watching her pattern work go from the pages of her notebooks to the shelves at some of the biggest stores in the country. I remember when her little bearded men paintings were all the rage at Etsy- and now she’s all the rage at national store. Go, Ashley! [Ashley’s pattern designs are below]

Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G
Pattern by Ashley G

Kelly Ventura’s pattern work was bold, colorful and painterly in the best way possible. I loved all of her watercolor-style patterns. I would happily buy any of these in paper or fabric form. Fingers crossed one of them pops up as a dress somewhere. [Kelly’s pattern designs are below]

Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura
Pattern by Kelly Ventura

Gabriela Contreras of Gaby & Co. had her first year at Surtex this year and her patterns had a hand-drawn feel that I really loved. I especially liked her pink and red bridge pattern. [Gabriela’s patterns are below]

Pattern by Gabriela Contreras
Pattern by Gabriela Contreras
Pattern by Gabriela Contreras
Pattern by Gabriela Contreras
Pattern by Gabriela Contreras

I was crazy for the saturated colors in Debbie Clapper of gneural‘s work. The contrast between colors and bits of geometric line drawing was a nice change of pace from the more curvy/round elements popular with most booths. [Debbie’s patterns are below]

Pattern by Debbie Clapper of gneural
Pattern by Debbie Clapper of gneural
Pattern by Debbie Clapper of gneural
Pattern by Debbie Clapper of gneural
Pattern by Debbie Clapper of gneural

Eva Spitzer

I’m so glad you’re covering the pattern design world! I would definitely like to see more print and pattern on DS.

Libby

I worked in pattern design most of my working career, both designing and licensing. Hand painted pattern was the only way to go; yes, this was before computers! Then, with digital and computers, we almost never saw hand drawn and hand painted surface design. So, I am very happy to see it all come back! Yes, it is “computerized” but there is a hand drawn quality to so many of these that is very refreshing. I couldn’t make it to Surtex this year so thank you for this!!

Kate H.

love this post, Grace, thanks for sharing! You are inspiring me to exhibit @Surtex next year…ty!

- A

Hi Grace! I agree with Libby. The hand-painted/drawn look definitely has an appeal and gives the designs a nice bit of uniqueness and quirk.

You didn’t say – What were they doing differently that allowed them to keep control of their designs, while sharing others?

Grace Bonney

A

I don’t think any technical details changed that allowed them to share their work, I think people are just more comfortable with and aware of how the web can be used to promote their work, not only put it at risk. I think more people were wise enough to watermark things or run them at a resolution that’s low enough to not be replicable. I also saw a lot of people put images behind a password wall so they know exactly WHO is looking at their images.

Grace

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