Alumni Success: Pippa Shaw




Today we are delighted to share with you the amazing success of Pippa Shaw a surface pattern designer who loves making designs inspired by nature.


When did your interest in design first start and how did that come about?

Art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. At school I was pressured into studying more “academic” subjects but I refused to give up Art & Design and I was always at my happiest when hidden away in the confines of the art department playing with shapes, lines and colour. Over the years I became more and more interested in design and was particularly drawn to all things Art Nouveau, Art Deco and pretty much anything that incorporated the aesthetic of the Far East.



What steps did you take to get to where you are now as a designer?

I knew something had to change in my life. I started reading lots of textile design and pattern books and did a lot of research online where I came across the Make It In Design Summer School. I couldn’t believe my luck as I had thought the only way to learn to design for textiles and stationery was by going back to university. I took various Adobe Illustrator and Skillshare classes as well as ABSPD Modules 1-3 and decided to devote my time 100% to surface pattern design.


What was the most important lesson you took away from “The Art and business of Surface Pattern” e-course?

That being a successful designer is not just about having talent but about being aware of how the various markets for art and design work and that you need to run a professional business, even though the designing part is a lot of fun!


What difference did it make to have a supportive community of fellow students and how important do you think that will be going forward?

It made a huge difference – everyone was so encouraging and supportive and we shared lots of information. We are still active on our Facebook group asking questions and cheering everyone’s successes.

But the best part for me was launching Four Corners Art Collective with six other talented ABSPD graduates. We will be exhibiting at various industry trade shows: Emma, Jos, Beth and Kevin will be exhibiting at Surtex this May (Booth 229), Jane recently exhibited at Premiere Vision with Collect and Julie and I will have work shown at Blue Print in May in New York. We have already had lots of fun running some Instagram challenges such as our #adventcalendarart countdown to Christmas last December.



How would you describe your style?

My prints and patterns are inspired by nature, rooted in classic design principles and imbued with a fresh, contemporary aesthetic. I strive to retain the hand drawn character of my drawings in my final artwork, whether they are flowing florals or rhythmic geometrics. I spend a lot of time researching and honing my colour palettes and colour is a fundamental component of my style.




What kind of designer do you want to be known as?

My aim is for my designs to transport us from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life to a calmer, quieter, more contemplative place. A place where we have the time and space to relax, smile and lose ourselves in our daydreaming and treasured memories.


What are you working on currently?

I was very fortunate to recently win the prestigious Blue Print Young Designer Competition. The prize is a booth at the next Blue Print Show in New York 12-16 May and I am so excited to be exhibiting alongside some amazingly talented and well-respected designers and design studios.  I am already working hard on lots of new work to bring to the show.  The next months are going be a little crazy but I can’t wait!





What advice would you give emerging designers wanting to build their portfolios?

I would definitely advise trying to work in collections. Whilst at times it can feel frustrating working with a restricted palette or subject matter, it is a really useful skill to have and the limitation of a theme can really push you creatively to produce designs that you hadn’t originally envisaged. It’s also a good idea to create a story for your collection – not only will it feed your imagination, but it will also invite the viewer in to your world.

At the end of the day nothing can replace doing the work. Try and do something, however small, every day towards achieving your goals. Draw lots, play, experiment and have fun! It’s amazing how lots of designs can build up into a body of work in a relatively short amount of time if you show up consistently.



What would be your dream design gig?

My dream would be to design a fabric for Liberty! Over the years I have amassed a collection of Liberty textiles and they are one of my most treasured possessions. The flow, rhythm and complexity of the designs is just awe-inspiring.

And I would absolutely love to have a modern quilting fabric collection with a company such as Cloud9 Fabrics, Art Gallery Fabrics or Dashwood Studio.


Looking ahead what are your major goals for the next couple of years?

My major goal is to sign licensing deals for fabrics, home decor, wallpaper, packaging and stationery. I’m also going to focus on building my brand online and in social media.




If you were a pattern what kind of a pattern would you be and why?

I’d like to be a sophisticated Liberty floral. Liberty’s colour palettes, motifs and aesthetic really stand the test of time, and of course I love flowers!



A childhood growing up in the English countryside and diplomas in horticulture and garden design are sources of inspiration in my work, as is the beautiful setting in France where I now live. I gained a degree in Fine Art (University of Leeds), worked in the creative department of a leading advertising agency and have experience working in giftware and packaging design. I’ve lived and travelled all over the world and am a born adventurer, explorer, flea-market hunter and food & wine aficionado.

Website  | Instagram |Pinterest | Four Corners Art Collective



The Art and Business of Surface Pattern Design is the definitive guide to becoming a surface pattern design professional.If you have ever dreamed of seeing your designs on stationery, homewares, fabric or other products, this series of interactive online courses is for you! Thriving surface pattern designer Rachael Taylor will guide you along this exciting path from developing your signature style, to putting a collection together, and from protecting your work to monetising your designs. With a rich combination of design inspiration, practical advice, demonstrations, creative exercises, resources and interviews with leading industry practitioners, this is the go-to guide for anyone wanting to develop their design skills and break into the industry. Our next class begins March 21, 2016 – we hope to be able to welcome you to class!

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