For the Love of Pattern

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Meet the Artist: Abby Zweifel

Meet the ArtistAbby Leigh EckerComment

Today I'd like to introduce Abby Zweifel of Pomelo & Pomelo, a creative company ready to deliver patterns made to color your world awesome. Abby is an illustrator and print designer and resides in Sarasota, FL. She has her BFA in illustration from Ringling College of Art and Design. In the past she's worked for Carter's and Bealls Inc., before starting her own company. She enjoys knitting, baking, watching for ibises in her yard and evening walks with her hubby. 

Pomelo & Pomelo Drawing - Photo of Ibises

Pomelo & Pomelo Drawing - Photo of Ibises

What is your earliest influence that you can recall that inspired you to go into a creative field?

AZ: Thinking back, I think of when you had to fill out that question, what do you want to be when you grow up, I always said artist. I don’t actually know why I wrote that or where that even came from. I knew a few of my mom’s friends who were artists, but they were very much traditional. For a long time I gave up on art, but got back into it in high school. I had a wonderful teacher for all four years and I really wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without him! At Ringling, all the illustration majors are taught in a traditional way. We all can paint and draw in traditional media, it was only in the last year of school that we got into making digital art. I didn’t realize there was this whole world of pattern design until I had an internship my junior year of college. That’s probably when I was like, “ hey this is awesome, I love to shop and make things so let’s do that!”. 

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Do you find you have a common theme you return to or is it different for every collection?

AZ: Making different marks and repeating that seems to be in my work recently. Also lots of doodly lines and bits for texture. Inspiration comes from everywhere. That sounds totally corny but its true. We live in a tropical area so florals and bright colors are my favorite. 

What type of pattern do you enjoy the most?

AZ: Lot’s of florally doodly bits. I’m pretty sure that’s the technical term for it. The more layers and depth the more I love it! Also anything that has a clever layout. One that makes you stop and go “Wow, look how they did that!”. 

What is your favorite product to have your prints on?

AZ: I love seeing my work on drink ware. Like travel mugs or on Tervis tumblers. Ultimately, I’d like to see it on fabric in a quilt shop! Stationery would be pretty cool too. 

Do you have anything that helps motivate you while working?

AZ: My go-to, "I need to get to FOCUS nowww", would be the 80-90’s station on Pandora. Such a guilty pleasure, but you can’t go wrong with the 80’s. Every Tuesday one of my favorite podcasts comes out, Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. It’s wonderful, I love that sort of stuff. 

Who do you look up to, someone you most admire or are influenced by?

AZ: I have lots of people who influence me in different ways. I look up to those who have sort of blazed a trail in the pattern world and also to those who are doing their own thing really well. The ability to OWN it in everything you do is quite something. 

What do you think makes a strong print design?

AZ: Color! Man, if there’s some not so great color combos going on, it doesn't matter how well you draw or how great your concept is!

Tell us about Meebs. :)

AZ: Ha! Meebs! I love the Meebs. Meebs started as a doodle between my husband, Ben (then new boyfriend), and I during a class in college. I think we’ve told stories about Meebs for over six years and they are just a part of life. Meebs are sweet little friends who average about three inches tall and will eat all your snacks. They LOVE getting into trouble but their sweetness makes up for it!

Where can we find the book "Meet the Meebs?"

AZ: At the moment, you can email me. I have hard cover and soft cover books available and I’m working on getting it into an ebook to sell online! There’s also a cute little plush toy I make as well!

What's your favorite thing to make when not designing?

AZ: Things. I like to make stuff in general. I love to knit, crochet, sew and just create things. Oh and bake! Loooove to cook and bake tasty snacks. Pinterest gives me all sorts of fun projects to work on.

Explain your vision behind Pomelo and Pomelo, what things are most important to you as a designer?

AZ: Pomelo & Pomelo’s purpose is to bring bright and colorful patterns to everyday products. I’ve worked for two major companies as an in-house artist and in the end I knew that If I wanted to keep growing I needed to start my own business. Sometimes you’re just done drawing palm fronds and need to branch out a bit!

How did you come up with the name Pomelo and Pomelo? It's very unique so I'm wondering if there is a story behind the name.

AZ: Yes, yes there is. Ben and I dream of living in a really cool area of Sarasota someday. There’s lots of tropical growth all throughout these neighborhoods and we just love it. Pomelo & Pomelo is an intersection down one of those streets. We just love the name and it’s also a LARGE citrus fruit. We’re big fans of citrus, so this seemed appropriate. It represents a “someday” goal!

Do you have any advice for other print designers?

AZ: Draw all day everyday! There’s something really wonderful about opening a sketchbook and drawing like nobody is going to see it. I think the ability to draw well, with confident lines, is super important when creating elements for your patterns. 

Is there anything new and exciting that you would like to share?

AZ: At the moment, not really! I have been thoroughly enjoying sewing with Sarah Watson’s Arcadia fabrics from Cloud 9. She’s a super fun person and I love being able to have a bit of her hanging around. 

Finish this sentence - When you're not in your studio we can find you...

AZ: In the kitchen! Either cooking, baking or digging around for a snack...

be kind to yourself - pomelo and pomelo

All Photos were provided by Abby Zweifel.

I love Abby's fun vibrant designs. She has a real eye for color and brings her designs to life through her use of color. I also really enjoyed hearing about how she came up with the name Pomelo & Pomelo, it's such a sweet story. Please check out Abby's website  to learn more, shop her etsy store or find her on twitter and instagram. Feel free to contact her at: pomeloandpomelo {at} gmail {dot} com

Enjoy and Happy Monday! 

Interview with Sarah Watson

Meet the ArtistAbby Leigh Ecker1 Comment

Sarah Watson is an American illustrator living in Brazil, trained in textile design and repeat pattern. She studied Fibers at SCAD and is currently designing for Cloud 9 Fabrics, an all organic company. In the past she's worked with Art Gallery Fabrics and she's even illustrated two books. Pretty cool stuff! She just exhibited at Surtex for the first time this year, which I think is a pretty amazing accomplishment. 

Sarah Watson Illustration

Today I'd like to share a little more about Sarah, her design inspirations and a short interview that she kindly made time for in her busy schedule.

What is your earliest influence that you can recall, which inspired you to go into a creative field?

SW: The story that I'm usually told is that my grandmother (my Mom's mother that is), who passed away before I got to know her very well, noticed some sort of creative talent in me and pushed my parents to enroll me in art lessons. It all sort of started from there and I've been having fun in the field ever since.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs? Do you find you have a common theme you return to or is it different for every collection?

SW: My inspiration really comes from pen and paper. Everything I do starts with a drawing and that style even varies quite a bit depending on whether I'm using pen and ink, watercolor or pencil. Mostly the themes stick to nature, but there's a lot of imagination involved.

What type of pattern do you enjoy the most?

SW: Because I was trained in textile design, I really love intricate, complex patterns. The actual repeat layout of the pattern is just as important to me as the illustration style, color or subject matter. There are a lot of things that go into making a pattern, lots of decisions, and they all have to work well together.

Do you have anything that helps motivate you while working?

SW: Well, because my work isn't always just being creative and there's a lot of business work too, I tend to have a broad variety of external distractions. Because I live overseas, I try to listen to international or stateside news once a week or so, to keep in touch. If I'm doing something tedious, I love to get a good pile of work, sit down with a cup of coffee and watch TV while I work. We live in an apartment with a pool, though, too, so if I can gather enough work to sit quietly for a large span of time, I love to sit at the pool and work. And of course, no music or anything then, because there are waves crashing in the background. It's all the music I need.

Who do you look up to, someone you most admire or are influenced by?

SW: Historically speaking, there are a few people I'm drawn to, William Morris is great. He was such a jack of all trades. As far as modern designers go, right now I'm really loving everything that Carolyn Friedlander is doing. She's slowing things down quite a bit, and with the pace that design happens these days, with products hitting shelves, and then moving to the sale rack within a month, I think that's really important. I think we could all use a little more handmade.

What do you think makes a strong textile design?

SW: Well, this kind of goes back to my answer of what pattern I enjoy most. To me, a strong textile design has a few important elements: color, subject, repeat layout and style.  Those design elements get moved around, depending on what the desired outcome is. For retail, I think color drives nearly everything. 

Besides textile design, are you working on anything else?

SW: I am! But I can't tell you about it yet! How's that for suspense? 

What's your favorite thing to make when not designing?

SW: I do like to cook. Living overseas, I get homesick for certain things every now and then, so I'm getting better and better at cooking. As far as hobbies, I love gardening, anything outdoors and exercise. 

Explain your vision behind Sarah Watson Illustration, what things are most important you you as a designer?

SW: When I quit my day job, I was leaving it because I felt like all my time was spent at work. I love to work, but there are other important things out there, life, family, giving back. I needed to figure out how I could make my schedule work so that all of those things could be incorporated into my day-to-day. A big part of my business plan is giving back. Because I've been very lucky to have supportive parents, and was born into a loving family, I feel like everyone should have the same opportunities. I allot 12 days a year to volunteering, and 5% of my profits go to social or environmental organizations. Design is very important to me, but when I sit back and look at the grand spectrum, what I'd really love to be known for is being a good person.

Do you have any advice for new designers out there?

SW: Hmm, I still consider myself a pretty new designer! But I think the best advice I have would to be work hard. It takes quite a while to make a profitable business, in any realm, and there is a lot of work involved. Don't take shortcuts or the easy way out, you're going to have to work very, very hard in the beginning. But if you really love what you're doing, it'll start to click, and it'll get easier and easier. 

Is there anything new and exciting that you would like to share?

SW: Well, with the way this industry works, I don't have too much fun to share right now, it's all top secret. I have a new fabric line coming out this month, which is very exciting. And I'm also pregnant, so I guess that's pretty important too!  

Finish this sentence - When you're not in your studio we can find you...

SW: Trying to convince my husband to take the day off work, and go to the beach! 

Make sure you check out Sarah's latest collection, Arcadia! My personal favorites from this collection are Herb Garden & Sun Spot and Bee. I love the line quality in these designs and the tiny little details. I can't wait to see what's next from Sarah and to find out all of the top secret projects that she is working on. I think it's safe to say that we will be seeing a lot of exciting things from Sarah in the near future. 

All photos were provided by Sarah Watson.

Enjoy your week and happy Monday! As always I welcome comments and feedback.