We chat to Portland Pattern Queen, Amy Little, who just graduated from PSU this past summer! Amy inspires us to follow our dreams, gives a little insight into what the future holds and some great lessons she has learnt on her design journey thus far.
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I can remember wanting to be some type of artist from the time I was a kid. I was always into drawing and anything crafty. As a teenager I spent a lot of time in the art room at my high school. My bedroom walls were covered in murals that I painted. When it came time for me to attend college, graphic design made sense to me because it combined something creative with something practical that would allow me to find a job after graduating.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?
It’s okay to not know what you want to do when you’re young. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Find something you’re really interested in and find out if there’s a way you can turn that into a career.
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?
Initially I planned to graduate within 4 years, but that didn’t happen! Instead, I went to college for a few years and then took several years off. During that time I lived in a number of different places including San Diego, Chicago, Ireland and Australia before eventually moving to Portland. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was younger, but taking the time off helped me to eventually focus on something I love.
What advice would you give students starting out?
If you’re interested in a particular studio’s work, don’t be afraid to approach them to express interest in their work, or to inquire about internships. The worst thing anyone will do is say, ‘no thanks’. I have found that people are generally interested in talking with students, and they should take advantage of any opportunity to learn more. Try to get as much experience as you can while you’re in school with either internships or self initiated projects. Get involved in your local design community in any way you can. Push yourself and never stop learning.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. It’s never too late to go back to school and study something you love.
2. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you.
3. Back up your files!
4. There’s never a perfect time to start anything. You just need to jump in!
5. Don’t give up.
Whats on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?
I just finished up a couple of internships with Pattern People and Laundry Studio, two local surface design studios in Portland, OR where I designed patterns for textiles. Since I am interested in pursuing surface design, I’m currently working on putting together a collection of a few hundred patterns to be shown and sold at Print Source, a textile design trade show in New York. Buyers from major American and international companies attend this trade show, so my goal is to make connections for future freelance work.