Prints and patterns have a special ability to make us feel something and add a touch of whimsy to a design project. One of our favorite creators of such prints is Susan Connor New York, and we’re so excited to have an exclusive interview with her on our interior design blog today. Keep reading for a peek inside how Susan got started, what inspires her designs, and her sage advice for aspiring creators.
01 / How did you get started in what you do?
It began as a totally personal project. I’d taken time away from graphic design work to tune in to my own ideas. I was visiting lots of museums when a vision involving small details with organic, minimal, and decorative elements started to play in my mind. I decided to try to create it in reality, but it took a full year to get it to appear. Along the way, printing experiments developed into my own method of block-printing to achieve those little details that I was seeking. I really hadn’t dreamed of making fabric yardage at that time, and I had no idea about interior design as an industry. I just wanted to make some beautiful pillows! But, over time, as more interior designers reached out about them, I realized expanding the idea into yardage and wallpaper was a natural fit.
02 / Where do you find inspiration for your prints and fabrics?
For inspiration, I spend a lot of time looking at artifacts from antiquity. I love wandering through museum halls, falling in love with objects, textures, and techniques. I can see the obvious care artisans took in producing them. In particular, I adore antique jewelry from ancient Rome, the Vikings, the Egyptians, and other cultures of long ago. As a New Yorker, I also take in a lot of modern art and design, which expresses itself in the geometry in my patterns. So, it’s really a blend of two worlds. I’m also very inspired by feelings and emotions, and love trying to design prints that feel positive and calming. There should be something lovely doing on in the pattern that you can enjoy getting a bit lost in.
03 / Do you have a favorite design you’ve ever worked on?
Whatever’s on my work table is usually my favorite, but Inlay, Lacuna, and Folio are prints I have in my own space, and Susurra is my favorite wallpaper. I honestly enjoy working on all of them… Each one is like a puzzle to figure out, and each one is its own journey.
04 / How do you know when a pattern is ready for production?
To me, a print is ready when it looks like someone really cared about it. The design needs to be interesting and alive, and technically, it needs to sit on the ground material with depth. The print and color should also be in harmony. I really love to keep the people who order with us in mind when I’m creating. So, often I’m asking myself, “Would our designers love this? Would this make them smile? Would they feel great sharing this with their clients?” It’s always exciting if a print can be at home within a larger vision, or be inspiring for someone else.
05 / What are you working on at the moment?
I’m refining color for four new designs… Always pretty labor intensive! I’m also working on new wallpaper concepts, which are coming along really well. Lastly, I’m also in the very early stages of some new textural explorations which is super exciting!
06 / What is your best piece of advice for aspiring creators?
I once read this unexpected advice on being a working artist: “Be responsible.”
Mistakes and unexpected events will happen, but keeping a proactive and responsible attitude towards your communications and commitments is a way to honor your creativity, while showing deep care and respect for your audience, which is so important. Being a professional creative requires balance between having empathy for your clients, having your own boundaries clear, and making the work you are really proud of and passionate about.
07 / Where can our readers go to see more of your work?
Shop our Susan Connor Picks:
Thanks so much for following along with our interview with Susan Connor New York. Her prints are always so inspiring to us, and you’ll often catch a pillow or two in our MGD projects. If you missed our interview with Jennifer Daily Art, head there to catch up. For more of our favorite pillows, head to our affiliate shop where we’ve linked even more of our Susan Connor New York picks. We hope you enjoyed this creator interview, and appreciate your support of the artists who help make our work even better!