A prolific contributor to Patternmash since joining in April 2015; this month we are getting to know JeliRAD, a Glastonbury born>Byron Bay dwelling pattern designer, colour lover and free spirit.
To view JeliRAD’s Designer Profile and complete Patternmash portfolio, click here.
Talk us through a standard day of designing prints for you.
I like to design when its quiet, which is mostly at night, but sometimes in the day if the house is empty. I have lots of ideas & I soak up inspiration from all sorts of places. I love collecting things from nature like shells, seeds, rocks, leaves & flowers. I also like collecting pretty things like ornate brass, coloured glass, vases, cute dishes & unique ornaments. I like to think I have a healthy obsession with op shops.
You have to make an effort to be inspired sometimes. I have an A3 sketchbook that I stick all my gathered magazine tear-outs & random bits of paper in. I try to keep it all in themes for visual impact. e.g single colours or colour combos, aztec, animals, floral. I can then look back on it for an injection of inspiration or motivation. You never know what’s going to spark the path to creating. Sometimes it’s as simple as a shape or a colour that grabs your imagination & off you go… I like Pinterest but don’t spend that much time on it. I love the internet, but I am really a hands on person. I need things to be physically in front of me.
JeliRAD collections and primary research
Mostly ideas just take a hold in my mind & I can’t stop thinking about it. If it’s something I can get my hands on, I’ll go op shopping to try & find it. If its something from nature, I’ll go pick some flowers, collect shells, or take photos. I’ll sit down at my analogue desk & study it all. I’ll draw as accurately as possible to the subject & then I’ll remember I don’t like things looking realistic & perfect, so I’ll go off on tangents doing abstract interpretations of them, focusing on the shapes & the details, using different techniques & tools to create new & intriguing outcomes.
Designing collections had me confused for a while. I explored how other people presented their collections & soon realised there is no absolute way. The word collection can mean many different things. It really depends on what your end use is, what niche your designs suit, & whether or not you care about fitting in. I’m not a great planner of collections. I tend to go where my mind & hands take me… always adapting & changing designs as I go. Right up until a collection is complete, I’m tweaking the colours & scale within the patterns, so the whole collection is unified, but each design also stays strong, in its own right.
JeliRAD sketchbook extracts
You often share on your blog your favourite shoots and editorials from magazines, it’s obvious that the whole mood and styling of a collection is important to you. Stripping it back down to print design, what kind of a look are you always drawn to?
The spectrum of what inspires me is vast. Nature is my favourite, as it’s effortlessly beautiful, aesthetically perfect, always on trend & full of colour. I love bright colour. I love colour full stop. I like monochrome & neutrals, but colour is my thing. Rainbow palettes, subtle or blatant, are a feast for the eyes. They make me happy.
I love Art Deco. There’s something about curved lines & circles that I love; think Rex Ray. Sacred geometry is a big influence and tropical designs containing fruit & leaves always grab me. I absolutely love vintage fantasy Fairytale illustrations by artists such as Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen and Gustav Tenggren to name a few. If I had to pick one pattern designer who always inspires me with their all round magic, I’d have to say Ellie Whittaker with her Aussie inspired, nostalgic & fun designs. She is so driven, I really admire her vision & outlook! I also follow a whole array of inspiring people on Instagram, you can find some of them here.
I like to create full patterns but I’m very careful with spacial awareness. I like to use brick repeats most of the time, to make the repeat less obvious to the observer, but it depends on the subject matter. My designs always contain my own hand made art in the form of drawings, mark makings and photos. I love how, by combining my analogue creations with digital programmes, I can turn a simple motif into a full blown incredible pattern. Magic happens on the screen & it’s one of my favourite places to pass the time. I aim for my work to be colourful, fun, organic, & super pleasing to the eye.
JeliRAD designs and sketchbook extracts
You have a wonderful tendency to become really absorbed by your latest creative project, the Adorned shoot that accompanied your Vuvalini collection being a fantastic example of this. What sort of lifestyle brand would be your ideal employer?
I love art, interiors, & designs that encompass a feeling of familiarity & nostalgia with lots of depth, colour & raw creativity. I like anything with lots of variety, texture, vintage material, big wall art, macrame, metallics, ethnic, tropical, conversational ornaments, glass vases, colour, big windows, high ceilings, space, big couches, curvy lines, and plants, plants, & more plants in hangers & on stands. My ideal couch is the Mah Jong, designed by Hans Hopfer for Roche Bobois.
If I was going to work for a brand, they’d definitely have to be eco minded. I want to be part of something that is conscious about it’s impact on the world, on every level, from the local community, to the international, from the message its conveying, to the quality it brings to peoples lives: Is it necessary? Is it practical? Is it empowering? Is it low impact?
These are things I think about when I’m planning how I want to use my designs & what products I’d like to make.
I really admire Mara Hoffman! Her brand is on point! She’s so successful but still real & grounded. Being in fashion doesn’t fully align with her values, as far as the environment, material greed & people’s innate self worth are concerned. We need less stuff. “We don’t own material things, they own us” – as she once said in a snapchat where she donated a massive bulk of her walk in wardrobe contents, to charity! I would work for her in a heartbeat. And while I’m dreaming, if Mara & Erykah Badu created a range together it would be beyond incredible & I’d be there designing the prints for them!
JeliRAD greetings cards | Mara Hoffman collage feat. Erykah Badu | JeliRAD Instagram
How far do you feel your environment influences your design outcomes? Do you think your work would have had an intrinsically different vibe had you remained in England?
My physical surroundings have a strong effect on me. I am constantly rearranging our house & always find ways to shake things up. I believe the energy in a space can become stagnant & depressing. I don’t practice Feng Shui, but I can appreciate when things feel more “in their place” instead of blocking the energy flow.
I am a procrastinator. You can tell if I have projects that need finishing because the rest of the house will be clean & tidy & Feng Shui’d right up, but my studio will be neglected, entirely!
To get really creative in your life, the key is variety. It doesn’t matter where you live, you need to get out there. Walk in nature, visit the library, read new magazines, go to art shows & creative social events, swim, practice yoga, just create without reason, eat healthy food, care for yourself consciously, connect with friends, help people in any way you can. All these things lead to creating great work. I forget this, a lot!!! It’s so easy to get absorbed in home life. It’s only when you push yourself to go out & do those things that you realise how fun AND essential they are. By staying true to what you love & what inspires YOU, no matter where you are, you will create authentic art.
Living so close to Byron Bay with it’s pristine beaches, rugged wilderness & alternative community definitely has a positive effect on me & the work I produce. If I had stayed in Glastonbury I’d probably be getting involved in lots of creative adventures & projects with my friends who still live there. I don’t think anything could stop me from designing. Except maybe living in Antartica! I’m a sunshine girl!
Life as a freelance designer working independently can be lonely at times. How do you stay motivated and connected with other designers? Is being part of a wider design community something you feel you need?
I feel that for sure. I’m a quiet person, quite introvert & shy, but full of colour! Finding the time & having the confidence to socialise has been a challenge for me since having children.
Migrating to Australia with a 1.5yr old & leaving my friends behind was pretty big, but staying in England just wasn’t an option for me.
The first step I took into surface pattern design was in April 2013 when I discovered a short course with The Patternbase on Skillshare. I loved how it helped me connect with like minded people. I then found Moyo magazine by the Make it in Design team. I desperately wanted to do the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design (ABSPD) modules & began manifesting what I needed into my life. Desks, drawing tools, & a design space. I sold loads of clothes to help fund buying an iMac. It felt wonderful to put my energy into creating something for myself. During this period, my creativity was reignited & I finally had a passion to pursue, dreams to build. Most of all it brought new people into my life. It was great to be able to talk openly with people that just got it.
Around this time I developed my brand, designed my logo, built my website, & started sharing my work through social media – it was clear right away that Instagram was my favourite platform. Instagram is a really amazing tool that has been the catalyst for some major brand success stories. I’ve made some great connections with industry people here, as it is a very relaxed space to communicate.
Love them or not, hashtags are REALLY important! One way to utilise hashtags & create your own sector, is to use brand hashtags. I break my posts down into topics e.g. work in progress, studio, patterns, inspiration, & create hashtags for them so you can see them all in one place. e.g. #jeliradwip, #jeliradstudio, #jeliradpattern, #jeliradinspiration.
If you’re not doing this, you should totally start!
It’s taken a lot of time to refine how I share my design life online. It can be daunting at first, & still is some days. You want to set the right tone, be relevant, interesting, inspiring & authentic.
All my online platforms, including my website, have changed so much over the past 3 years. I think it’s important not to get too hung up about things being perfect or putting too many restrictions on what you express. Be open to making lots of changes. People don’t remember when your homepage looked “a bit crap”. People are really busy & they see what you’re doing now… so just keep moving forward, evolving with authenticity.
Clockwise from left: Stately Garden, Poolside, East Meets West, Overview, Vuvalini, Found or Pound
All JeliRAD X Patternmash
When I was starting out I didn’t have that much work to share, so my Facebook page mainly consisted of links to designers who inspired me, products I loved, people I had discovered in magazines etc, which is important anyway, for people to see your vision & the direction your designs are going in.
Be open about what you’re working on. Share a balance of engaging content including your finished designs, what inspires you, work in progress, your highs & your lows. You don’t need to feel alone when you’re going through hard times. I think in this social media world, the audience want to see & read about it all, it makes them feel closer to you & what you’re doing. They can relate to it & show their support. It’s real. I don’t force what or when I share. Sometimes I have a week of nothing because I’m not inspired, & that’s ok.
I’m really proud to share that I won the recent Digital Fabrics design competition.
My design came top 10, thanks to all the support it got from my online community. The Digital Fabrics team then picked it as the overall winner. I still can’t believe it!
I’m really grateful for all the love I get from beautiful people.
What has been your favourite Patternmash project and why?
I joined Patternmash in April 2015, it was one of my best decisions! It was so refreshing to have a fountain of inspiration, direction, & resources, shared with such sophistication & generosity. Hannah is one of the loveliest people I’ve met online! She’s always so grounded, helpful & supportive. The skills she brings to the table with Patternmash are truly amazing! I was moving house when I joined. It was chaotic but all I could think about was setting up my desk & finishing my “Azulejo” designs. I had so much fun with it but looking back at it now, I would probably approach the finished designs a bit differently.
Before I joined Patternmash, I made a few collections that I felt were moving in the direction of what I wanted to be making. I was really proud of them but still didn’t feel like I’d got there.
I’m not actually that bothered about finding a “style”. I think art & being creative is about authentic raw expression. Having the freedom to do whatever comes to the surface. Always evolving & being ok with change. I don’t want to put boundaries on my creativity & the tools I use, just so people can recognise my work. In saying that, with the help of Patternmash, I think I am refining the overall standard & quality of my designs.
It was with “Poolside”, my third project, that I really just went for it. Suddenly I had this packed collection that absolutely communicated a complexity of abstract colour & shape. It was a feast for the eyes & I was really excited by it. Since then, pretty much every collection has incorporated this kind of depth & variety that is really enticing.
JeliRAD designs and WIP for Patternmash Azulejo | Patternmash promo for Azulejo
My hands down favourite project has to be “East meets West”, which is kind of weird because I created it either side of having a creative existential crisis where I completely recoiled from all design work for about 6 weeks. I was full of self doubt, burn out, & feelings of inadequacy. It’s happened before but never for that long, & this time I was so close to abandoning my dreams! It’s totally normal, apparently. You just have to go with the highs & lows of having a colourful brain.
It was going to see Gabi Mulder give a mentor talk at the new Byron Bay girls club, Future Dreamers, that really shook me out of my schlump. A few days later, I gathered all my neglected drawings from before, scanned them in & set to work. It really felt like magic creating all the designs. I finished them in one evening!
They are dominated by the Asanoha pattern which I am now even more in love with than I already was! The way this collection sits together is super satisfying for me, especially because each design is so strong, it’s my favourite for sure. I cannot wait to see these designs printed on fabric & made into amazing things!
JeliRAD designs for Patternmash East Meets West | Adorned shoot | Instagram
Where do you see the JeliRAD brand going from here? Do you have any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you can share with us?
I have so many ideas. Some take hold & I day dream about how to implement them. The logistics can become a bit crazy & they get rejected. Some are too good to reject. I stick a pin in them so I can return to it at the perfect time.
My current goal is to make enough money from my greeting cards range to invest in making some studio pouches, which I have wanted to do from the start. I had some made via Redbubble (as I won a $100 voucher through a hashtag competition on Instagram). I love them & use them as a pencil case, hand bag, & make up bag. I have lots of things to get in place to get them made, like sourcing good zips, labels, swing tags, fabric & lining. Fortunately my prize for winning the Digital Fabrics competition is $500 worth of printed fabric. So I may get some meters of canvas printed to help get the ball rolling.
I’d like to do some in-house design work for a fashion, homewares or stationery label. There are many businesses in this area that use pattern design but there aren’t as many job openings as there are in the cities. I have pondered on the idea of relocating to bring more opportunity, but we love it here way too much. So I’m going to continue working on my own range of products, whilst also seeking representation with an agent.
JeliRAD greetings cards | Drawing with Future Dreamers
I’ll continue taking part in the amazing Patternmash projects because I love them so much & feel my portfolio is really benefitting from what I am producing. I have some personal collections on the go that involve fruit, amongst other things. I work on them sporadically, as it’s a juggling act trying to find the balance between everything I want to do & the things I need to do. I just like living in creative, colourful chaos! After Gabi Mulder’s Mentor talk, the group paired off, gave each other mini interviews & took polaroids. One of the questions I got asked was, who would you like to collaborate with? It forced me to really think about it & I decided on Misterzimi. I love how big, bright & bold their garment fabric designs are. To see one of my designs on their clothes, at that scale, would be awesome.
I am really excited by what the Future Dreamers are doing. They have an amazing club house where teenage girls can take part in all kinds of creative & nurturing events.
I would love to do a mentor talk or a hands on design workshop with them. I’m hoping it can happen later this year. I’ve also volunteered my design skills at my sons Preschool. I’d love to help them do some cool drawings that I’d edit into patterns, that can then be printed & made into something fun & inspiring for the kids to take home & keep forever.