In the studio... Cultivate Art Collective

Want to know what Cultivate Art Collective has been up to?

Rachelle Panagarry and her assistant Charlotte have been busy preparing to take the Big Apple by storm. Cultivate Art Collective is making its Printsource debut this month, January 13th and 14th. Here are some behind the scenes shots of the hustle & bustle going on.

                                                   Claudia Owen

                                                   Claudia Owen

                                                    Willow Berry Studio aka me

                                                    Willow Berry Studio aka me

Above, a few sneak peaks of Presentation Portfolios and below Rachelle & Charlotte all the way from Lancashire, UK, in their NYC hotel room getting down to business preparing for the show.

If you are in search of a variety of unique textile & surface pattern designs come by Booth A17 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC on January 13 & 14th and meet the lovely ladies of Cultivate Art Collective. To see a list of artists whose work will be represented just click here.

Fun Find... What is Worth While? Part 1

I found this small but profound book at a library book sale a couple of years back. The book is by Anna Robertson Brown, Ph. D. It was a paper read in Philadelphia to the Association of Collegiate Alumnae. Though the copyright date is 1893, this little gem is still invaluable 122 years later! Thinking that most of the copies of this book are long gone I wanted to share the parts that spoke the most to me with you. Time seems to go by so quickly these days so in this first month of January 2015, let’s concentrate on what is truly worthwhile.


Only one life to live! We all want to do our best with it. We all want to make the most of it. How can we best get hold of it? How can we accomplish the most with the energies and powers at our command? What is worthwhile?

...To begin with, What may we let go? Who shall say? By what standard shall we measure? By what authority decide? Each of us must answer that question for herself. In looking about for an answer, I find only one that satisfies me. It is this: We may let go all things which we cannot carry into the eternal life.

...We may drop pretense. Eternity is not good for shams...Whatever we really are, that let us be, in all fearlessness. Whatever we are not, that let us cease striving to seem to be.

...We may drop worry...For only the serene soul is strong. Every moment of worry weakens the soul for its daily combat. Worry is an infirmity; there is no virtue in it. Worry is spiritual near sightedness: a fumbling way of looking at little things, and of magnifying their value. True spiritual vision sweeps the universe and sees things in their right proportion... Seen in their true relations, there is no experience of life over which one has a right to worry. Ruskin says, “God gives us always strength enough, and sense enough for every thing he wants us to do.”

...We may let go discontent...In life I find two things that make for discontent. One is lack of harmony with one’s environment. The other is dissatisfaction with one’s present opportunities. Of these, the first may be overcome; the second may be put out of one’s life... To take life  “as God gives it, not as we want it,” and then make the best of it, is the hard lesson that life puts before the human soul to learn. One’s environment may be very disagreeable. It may bring constant hurts of heart, mortification, tears, angry rebellion, and wounded pride, but there is a reason for that environment. To become strong, the soul must needs fight something, overcome something. It cannot gain muscle on a bed of eider-down...So long as we are at war with our town, our relatives, our family, our station, and our surroundings, so long will much of the force of our lives be spent uselessly, aimlessly...We can never work well while there is friction in our lives, nor gain in our work that “beauty which is born of power, and the sympathy which is born of love” of which Ruskin speaks. Let us say, God put me among these scenes, these people, these opportunities, these duties...This is exactly the place He means me to be in, the place I am capable of filling: there is no mistake. My life is in its proper setting. But with this thought in mind, we need not sit down in idleness. There are things in the circumstances of our lives that we can change; there are opportunities that our own efforts may enlarge. We can conquer many of the difficulties that beset our career, and, so conquering, be strong! I believe more and more that there is no impediment that cannot be overcome, no hindrance to usefulness that cannot be removed. If we go through life timidly, weakly, ineffectively, the fault is neither with our endowment nor our environment. It is with ourselves.

...As for our opportunities, we can make a heroic life out of whatever is set before us to work with or upon. Dr. Miller tells of a poor artist who was regally entertained in a castle. He had nothing with which to repay his friends. But he shut himself up in his room for some days before he left them, locking the door, and refusing to come out, or to let any one in. When he went away the servant found the sheets of his bed missing, and thought that he must have stolen them. But in searching further they were found in one corner of the room, and when unrolled were discovered to have a glorious picture of Alexander in the tent of Darius painted upon them.

Carlyle says, “the thing thou seekest is already within thee, ‘here or nowhere, couldst thou only see!”

If an artist can paint a great picture on a bedsheet, can we not find opportunity and material in our present environment for the thing we wish to do?

We may let go of self-seeking. In the eternal life there is no greed. One hears of neither “mine” nor “thine." All things are for all. The richest experiences of life never come to those who try to win them selfishly. If they do gain their desires, they find them as ashes to the taste. But all blessings are in the way of him who, forgetful of self tries to be helpful to the world, and who spends his life in loving deeds.

Pretense, worry, discontent, and self-seeking, -- these are the things that we may let go. Now what are the things in life that are worth while? -- that we should lay hold of, keep guard, use?

Fun Find... Developing Your Signature Style

Can’t wait to share this little goody, it’s a free video series by surface designer Rachael Taylor about developing your signature style.

In it she talks about what the key ingredients are & how important it is. The series starts January 3rd, 2015 and runs for 5 days.  I'm really excited about this topic! I’ve taken several of the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design classes that Rachelle teaches and here is a little something that sums up my thoughts, this design showed up on the Make It in Design blog on one of their typography Thursdays.

In the studio... Printsource

Can't believe it's almost  time for Printsource! I've been trying my hardest to balance doing a 60 page catalog for my husband's golf accessory business at the same time as getting all of my designs together for the January show of Printsource, not to mention all of the Thanksgiving festivities, whew! Speaking of that I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Here is a sneak peak of a few of my latest designs on some promo pieces I created...

Fun Find... Toby

The weekend before last I took a long walk through the woods and found all kinds of interesting textures and colors. I came back with spider webs in my hair, my hands overflowing with little treasures and a new palette to explore.


Last weekend I went for a long walk in the woods and came back with spiderwebs in my hair just like before but this time my hands were full with a four legged creature! I heard some strange yelping sounds in the woods, in my mind I pictured a dog trying to get help for its owner so I went to investigate. I couldn't find anything and almost headed back home when I saw a puppy behind a tree wagging its tail and looking at me. He was clearly in distress so I took him home and got him some food and water. Asking around I found out that 2 female puppies that looked just like him had been found 3 weeks before. Someone had dropped them off and left them. After trying to find a home for the little guy for a day we decided his home was with us. So now we have a half german shepherd, quarter beagle and judging by his tail a quarter racoon named Toby.

Fun Find... MOYO Magazine

If you love the world of surface pattern design like I do you will love MOYO magazine. Beth Kempton & Rachael Taylor have packed each issue with advice, design tips, and interviews with industry insiders like Amy Butler, Khristian Howell & Lilla Rogers. You name it, they've got it!

Travel Journal... Weekend in New York City

Well, I just couldn't stand it, I had to see what Surtex was all about and go to some of the fun meet ups I had been hearing about. I got my son to go with me and we went off on our own little adventure. We flew into LaGuardia and took a taxi to our hotel near the convention center. Since my son didn't really have any plans, he let me do what I wanted, he might just have knocked my husband out of the running for my travel partner, plus, his knickname is the "Navigator" for getting us around in our car through Italy, France and Germany so he is pretty handy to have around. 

We checked in, threw our baggage in the room and headed right back out. I'm a huge Project Runway fan so our first stop was Mood. It was a lot bigger than I had imagined and all I could do was stand there with my mouth wide open, I could spend days in there! Next we were off to Greenwich Village, we ate at a yummy Italian restaurant and then went to the site where they filmed outside shots of the tv series Friends. We then made a quick trip to the hotel to change so we could go to the Broadway show Les Miserable. We had had plans to see it my son's senior year of high school when we were in New York, but there was some kind of strike going on so it was on our "to do" list.

The next day we went to a thrift store on our way to Central Park. We couldn't help but chuckle at the park, it seems as if every dad that had his kids at the park was having to chase a stray ball or get a frisbee out of the trees. After that little bit of amusement we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Again, I just stood there with my mouth open, I could spend days there!  Upon leaving the museum we made a quick fly by a outdoor flea market and then onto our last stop of the day, a Yankee's baseball game. The weather was perfect and we really enjoyed the game.

MATS meet up


Monday was a full day too! It began with an early morning meet up at Surtex with Cherish and the Art of Licensing group, I got to meet some of my internet friends there and then a quick stop at the Cultivate Art Collective booth. This was my first time to ever walk Surtex and I was on visual overload, I once again stood there gaping with my mouth wide open, I could spend days in there! After walking around all day and going to a few of the seminars they offered I went back to my hotel for an hour before heading out for the Make Art That Sells meet up in West Village. My cab driver dropped me off 3 or 4 blocks from the restaurant and told me to walk the rest of the way, hmmm...anyway it was such a treat to meet everyone in person. The perfect ending to the perfect trip!

Cultivate Art Collective & Surtex...

I am thrilled to be a part of a fabulous group called Cultivate Art Collective. Ten of our artists are going to Surtex this May! While I hope to be on that list next year, I get to share in their excitement this year. Here is the group flyer...

And some of the individual flyers...

Margaret Applin is a mixed media artist who has been published in several magazines and has dvds available through Cloth Paper Scissor magazine.

Rachelle Panagarry is a UK based mixed media artist who offers workshops and has a colorful and fun Etsy shop here.

In the studio... Front Row Society

Last March I was fortunate enough to win a Front Row Society design challenge. When I opened the email saying I had won it literally felt like I had been struck by lightning. I immediately fell to the floor and it took me a while to catch my breath. Now the items are for sale and I couldn't be more excited! To see the whole collection click here.

And just in case you couldn't guess...this quick video shows the inspiration for the design I call Zahara...

Travel Journal... Giverny

It’s almost spring! I love it when those seed catalogs start coming in the mail. A while back I got to spend some time at Giverny. That is where the impressionist Claude Monet lived and painted, it's just outside of Paris. His home and gardens were so beautiful, full of daily inspiration for him I am sure. The day we went there was a brief shower, I thought all of the umbrellas added to the dreamy scene.

It took me time to understand my waterlilies. I had planted them for the pleasure of it; I grew them without ever thinking of painting them.
— Claude Monet

Fun Find... Aunt Vivian's Singer & Uppercase


I love Uppercase magazine and was so excited to find out that a picture of my Great Aunt Vivian's 1946 sewing machine will be in issue #20! If you haven't heard about it you have got to check it out, oh, and be sure to watch the video, very inspiring. And in honor of my Great Aunt Vivian, here is some Singer memorabilia that I have collected...


I have several Singer antique trading cards. Apparently you could order the cabinet-table in any kind of wood that you desired and "finished to match the most ornate furnishings." Not sure about the copyright date on the trading card above but the two below are dated 1899. The Singer paint card above, which someone wrote 1903 on, says "Take a wooden toothpick, match, feather, or, best of all, a brush: wet slightly in water and rub it on the block of color required." I guess these were fun little giveaways.


Travel Journal... St Gilgen, Austria

Have you ever been to a place that is so beautiful you can't believe it's real? A place where the water is so clean that you can drink right from the lake, and every view that you see looks like it should be on a postcard?


If you are a nature lover you have to put St. Gilgen on your list of places to explore. It is where the opening scenes from the Sound of Music were filmed. They have lake Wolfgangsee for boating and water sports. There are walking trails around the lake and a cable car to take you up Zwolferhorn Mountain where you can hike or paraglide. And if you like steak, you can't leave without stopping by a restaurant called Angusta. 


Our trip here was full of such fun family memories I just had to share this picturesque place!

In the direction of my dreams...

Hi! My name is Angela and I am a freelance surface pattern designer. I received my degree in Graphic Design from the University of Memphis and other than working at a print shop for 3 years and a short time at an advertising agency have spent most of my time since graduating following my dream of being a stay at home/homeschool mom. As my children have become more self sufficient I began to think about what I would like to do and at the end of 2012 I fell in love with the exciting world of surface pattern design. In March of 2013 I kicked off my design career by winning a Front Row Society design challenge. The rest of this year I have spent immersed in classes. I'm thankful to have taken the Art & Business of Surface Pattern Design by the fabulous Rachael Taylor and the MATS classes by fairy art mother Lilla Rogers. I'm looking forward to starting 2014 with my new found knowledge and having fun experimenting and developing my style. One of my favorite qoutes (hence the name of this blog post) is by Henry David Thoreau. "If one advances in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, (with God's help*), he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." In this blog, as I head in the direction of a new dream, I would like to share some places I have been and am yet to go, some fun finds from the past, along with I'm sure a few rabbit trails on the way. Hope you will join me on this journey....


*my thoughts