As part of a new series featured on Converge, ‘Meet the Designer’ will provide insight into the lives of Patcraft’s Creative Team members. Our first feature is Hard Surface Designer, Kelly Stewart.

Educational Background:
James Madison University
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing

Savannah College of Art and Design
Master of Arts, Illustration Design

In college, I explored a wide variety of traditional art and design techniques in various areas, including painting, drawing, printmaking, ceramics, fibers and metals. Towards the end of my time at JMU, I developed an interest in graphic design, and that’s when I really started to build up my digital skillset. After receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts from James Madison University, I attended SCAD for graduate school where I earned my Master of Arts in Illustration Design, which was a program that blended both graphic design and Illustration courses.

Professional Work Background:
Prior to working for Patcraft, I worked for International Greetings, USA, where I designed patterns and illustrations for paper items like gift wrap, greeting cards, gift bags, and other holiday items.

Tenure with Patcraft:
9 months

Why did you go into flooring design?
I have always been interested in product and pattern design. When I decided I was ready for a change in my career, I explored the idea of moving into carpet design. When I first interviewed with Patcraft, my eyes were opened to the world of LVT. I was surprised to find out that the printed image layer in LVT flooring is printed using the exact same method that is used for printing wrapping paper. I was able to take what I had learned in the wrapping paper and stationery industry, and translate that over to the products that I’m designing now.

What is your favorite aspect of designing flooring?
What I love about designing flooring is that since the industry is growing and changing so fast, there are no limits. We are seeing more of a desire for designs that don’t necessarily mimic a natural material like wood or stone, so it is fun to push the limits and create unique abstract designs that can really transform a space, and offer something new and exciting to our customers.

What was your favorite project to work on and why?
So far my favorite project to work on has been Set in Concrete. I especially enjoyed working on Dissipate because I got to work with watercolors to create something new and unexpected. I also got to travel overseas to work on the designs with our vendor which was a really cool experience.

How do you differentiate your designs from others in the industry?
Because of my more traditional background in painting and drawing, I try to incorporate those techniques into my work, which doesn’t seem so common in today’s digital age. I want to continue to push the boundaries of flooring design and challenge people’s expectations of what flooring should look like.

What hobbies do you enjoy and/or what do you do for fun?
I like staying creative outside of work, too. I enjoy knitting, sewing, doodling and just about anything crafty. I also play in a basketball league and a bowling league, and I love getting outside to throw the frisbee and football around.

Any tips for young people looking to enter into a design profession?
Be confident in your work. There is a need, and a place for so many different kinds of artists and designers. It took me a while to realize that every product that exists involved a designer at some point. Explore what options are out there. If you have a particular area that you are interested in, research companies and reach out to them. You have nothing to lose by putting yourself, and your work, out there.

What three words would you use to describe yourself:
Eager. I’m always eager to learn and to create new things
Passionate. I love what I do and find fulfillment in creating.
Happy 🙂

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