Nice to Meet You – Ellen McKenna

Applying a signature look to your designs is both a powerful and identifiable element. We have seen this done with great success by the likes of renowned designers such as William Morris, Jenny Kee and ¬†Emilio Pucci. It is without doubt, Ellen has successfully honed in on a modernist aesthetic featuring textured line works, abstract spots, and bold shapes layered upon each other. Ellen’s colour palettes are sophisticated and well planned so multiple prints can pair back with each other. Dusty pinks, mint greens, cobalt blues and cool greys bring to life prints inspired by multidisciplinary design elements from the early to mid 20th Century. Ellen comments “For me, pattern design is a passion and an obsession and I particularly love designing for fabric because there are endless possibilities of where my pattern will end up – and isn’t that exciting?”

“Stones at Dawn” and “Double Act” Printed on Cotton Como

What initially drew you to textile design?

I love to sew and I’ve always had a passion for textiles, with beautiful patterns and textures but it wasn’t until my mother asked me to create some basic designs using vintage photographs that I discovered Photoshop and its possibilities. I watched countless episodes of Adobe TV to learn the basics of Photoshop and from there the world of digital design opened up before me. As time went by I was encouraged to learn the art of seamless pattern repeats by several influential people in my life and that was the beginning of my love affair with pattern design.

Minor Melody

Do you plan a print or does it organically evolve?

I don’t plan every aspect of a print before I began the designing process. I start with drawing a shape or a line in pencil on paper. I then transfer that motif to Photoshop and create the whole repeat pattern in black and white. From there I colour it using a palette that I have put together for either specifically that one design or for a whole collection. Sometimes they turn out as I imagined – sometimes they evolve into something totally different than I could ever have planned from the start of the process.

Major Melody

What is your dream creative project?

I don’t think I have just ‘one’ dream project. The joy of working in patterns is the versatility of the designs means they can be applied to so many mediums. I think a ‘dream’ project for me would be to work with passionate people in many fields who love design and colour as much as I do.

River at Dawn

I’ve Forgotten Something Pink

Tree Line Green