What is your background as an artist? What led you to surface pattern design?
SY: I always have loved pattern, fashion, art, drawing, textiles, and crafty, creative pursuits. After trying to figure out what to do with my degree in art history, I was working in the interior design field and my favorite part of the job was working with the fabrics. I stumbled upon surface pattern design and knew it was what I wanted to do. It combines so many of my favorite things!
How would you define your style?
SY: I would say my style is vintage, with a painterly modern twist. I love working with color and experimenting with different color palettes. I enjoy many different styles and mediums, so developing my unique style is still an ongoing and evolving process!
What was your first job doing surface pattern design and how did you get it?
SY: I really got lucky in getting my job in the home textile field where I work now. I found it on Craigslist! While it isn't officially a design job, it's a small company and I get to design as the need arises, which I love. I look forward to working for myself someday and going freelance!
Where do you look for inspiration? What are your favorite design blogs, websites, or magazines?
SY: I look everywhere for inspiration. Some things that are especially inspiring to me are traveling, art, textiles, fashion, nature, books, magazines, photographs, other designers, etc. I read a ton of blogs, magazines and websites!
Blogs: SPDG blog, Pinterest, Design Sponge, Think Designer Prints, Color Collective, Pattern&Co, PatternPeople, Vogue.com, Design Files.
Magazines: World of Interiors, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Vogue, National Geographic.
What are you currently working on?
SY: Currently I'm working on a few collections- I'm pregnant at the moment, so I find that I am coming up with children's patterns more and more! I'm currently planning my next steps. I would love to go to Surtex or Printsource someday!
Please describe your dream surface pattern design project.
SY: My dream project would be to work for a top interior textile or fashion company on a collection or as a freelance designer. I would go to an amazing destination for inspiration, then come back and develop a collection based on my travels and experiences. With no budget. That would be heaven!
Who are some of your favorite artists and designers, past and present?
SY: From the past, Vulliard, Matisse, Dutch still life painters, Celia Birtwell, Vera Neumann. From the present, Luli Sanchez, Lulie Wallace, Jenny Andrews Anderson, Rachel Castle, Helen Dealtry, Anna Bond, Leah Duncan.
What do you like to do in your free time?
SY: I love to travel, read, look at blogs, hang out with my husband, re-arrange my house, go to museums, watch movies, go for walks, eat ice cream, sleep.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a surface pattern designer?
SY: Start drawing! The program I graduated from was great at teaching all the technical painting and computer skills and different styles but did not emphasize drawing enough. I feel like I learned to run before I could walk, and now I'm learning and practicing walking (drawing) as much as possible! Also, look at everything. You never know where inspiration will come from!
See more of Sarah's work at:
Meet our newest featured member, Sarah York. Sarah has always loved art and textiles and when she found the world of surface pattern design, she knew it was the perfect career match. She has a BA in art history and professional certification in surface pattern design. After working in the home textile field for the past few years, Sarah says she has a whole new perspective on the industry and absolutely loves what she does. We love her work!
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