Exploring Surface Design!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. A very long time–years, in fact. Too many years. To back up, I began my blogs at a time when I had a creative job designing for a magazine. When the magazine folded, I started a small business creating hand-dyed/painted silk scarves. I needed a day job, however, and I decided to completely pivot and seek work in the nonprofit field. My pivot was a success, but my new field in nonprofit administration was such a culture shock (frantic pace and not creative at all) that I was mentally exhausted, all the time. It took me years to adjust. The work, however, is world-changing and important. It is clear to me that I am making a real difference in my community by the work I do.

My experience as an art director translated beautifully to my work as a nonprofit administrator–I am highly skilled at both juggling plates and at deadlines. (Art directors are not only creatives, but they are also air traffic controllers–and gifted at organizing–all necessary skills for a fast-paced nonprofit.) I am also highly skilled at working with a wide variety of people, at all levels of the organization. But no matter how skilled I am in my new field, it is not creative, and in that respect, my muse–and my soul–was in mourning. I even had to quit my art collective, because I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to both work my intensely paced day job and make art/volunteer with the art collective.

Then Covid-19 hit.

Miraculously, I kept my day job, and I am very grateful for that. And miraculously, I work from home. Without a daily commute, and a severely diminished social life, my muse tapped me on the shoulder. “Remember your dream of learning surface/textile design? Now is your chance.”

Take what you have and make what you want.

So I started. Without the proper programs–I can’t currently afford Adobe Creative Suite–I just started. I channeled years of magazine design skills and picked up my iPad and with some carefully vetted apps, I started creating surface designs after work and on weekends. Sure I have a lot to learn, but that’s part of the fun. No one cares if I upload a new design. The world won’t suddenly fall apart if I do or don’t. I’m doing this because it brings me joy. And apparently it brings others joy, as some of my designs are starting to sell! I consider this the silver lining to my Covid-19 experience, and I also consider it a blessing. I know others have had devastating experiences during this pandemic, and my heart breaks for them. I do not take my good fortune for granted.

The wallpaper design in this image was my very first upload to Spoonflower.com (victoriab:design shop). I also uploaded it to Redbubble.com (victoriabdesign shop), and had a dress made of it. I wear that dress when I work my day job. My muse is satisfied–and so am I!

There are several take-aways from this story, but I will just leave you with these: Take what you have and make what you want. Just start, wherever you are, with whatever tools you have. And keep taking baby steps toward your goals. To quote a very good friend of mine, “It’s a marathon.” So just keep moving forward. If I can do it, you absolutely can too. You don’t have to be perfect or the best to be a success–but you do have to show up at the table.

If you have used the extra time at home during Covid-19 to take steps toward a dream, please share your story. And if my story inspires you to pursue a long-cherished goal, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you!

(All text and surface designs in this post © Victoria Beerman of victoriab:design. All Rights Reserved.)

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