Patterns are an Artist’s Best Friend: Meet Laura O’Conner!

Patterns! America’s favorite pastime. We don’t think anyone could love patterns as much as our Patterns Design Challenge winner Laura O’Conner. We sat down with Laura to chat about her love for motifs, her creative process, and the things she draws inspiration from. 

What attracted you to enter the Patterns Design Challenge?

The word “patterns” really grabbed my attention, as I had a few pattern designs up my sleeve that I thought could translate well into home decor products. l’m really attracted to bright colors and any bold juxtaposition of shapes and repetition.

I noticed you have a collection of pattern designs in your Artist Shop. Would you say patterns/all-over-prints are your favorite thing to design? If so, why? 

I think I like making a good mix of both traditional doodles and pattern design. I’ve been really getting into textile design this year, so I love seeing my designs used on tactile products people can touch and interact with like a blanket, rug or cushion. The 3D aspect is so exciting and new for me, as I was previously focusing only on wall art and traditional art prints.

Laura O'Conner's design "Calm"
Calm” by Laura O’Conner

How do you approach designing patterns? 

I have to be in the right headspace to start designing, but it will usually begin with a fleeting idea that I’ve scribbled down, or a color palette I think works well and represents a mood.

Is there anything or anyone in particular that you draw your creative inspiration from? 

I love to be inspired by nature and tangible or abstract themes. For example “Calm” is heavily influenced by all the shapes and textures of sea life and the feeling of floating or swimming in an underwater world. “Piña Colada” was designed to evoke memories of sun, sand, and being surrounded by the fruity scent of a tropical cocktail.

What are your favorite products to print your designs on in your Artist Shop? 

I love the wall tapestries, blankets, rugs, pillows, and towels! They have a function but don’t have to stay as the normal beige or grey! They really bring my designs to life, and can easily add bold color to any room.

Calm” by Laura O’Conner on a tote bag, notebook, phone case, and zip pouch.

Do you have a favorite pattern designer?

I love all the traditional prints of William Morris, as they’re so soothing to look at, but I love the modern punchy style of Marimekko too!

What’s your creative process look like?

I always start with sketching in either pencil or ink pen for the more interesting elements of any design. I love the look of little mistakes and imperfections that give it that handmade vibe. Once that’s complete, I move on to digital design on the computer and play with shapes and textures. I layer and layer until I’m satisfied with everything. Sometimes I change the whole color palette until it clicks and all works together.

Are you working on any cool projects right now?

Right now, I am experimenting with 3D textiles and handmade creations. I hope to design a series of patterns that work as both an art print and something you can feel in your hand with corresponding textures.

Anything else you’d like the readers to know?

(Can’t think of anything!)

Meg Reppen

Marketing Communications Coordinator @ Threadless. Collector of notebooks. Talk to me about your favorite Led Zeppelin album.