2017 - A Year in Review

I launched Courtney Beyer Design in January of 2017, so the new year also marks the anniversary of starting my own business! I felt like I was always on a growth curve this year and I tried so many new things - lots of success and failures, but mostly a lot of hard work. In late December of 2017 I was feeling stressed about the year, primarily realizing how uncomfortable I felt most of the time. Not a healthy mindset at all. This post is for me to look back and see what I learned and did this year - take it all in a feel some pride. I also have reflected on how much my family and friends have supported me this year - big hugs and kisses and thank yous! Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey this past year!

 My Instagram post for best nine!

My Instagram post for best nine!

January

I launched Courtney Beyer Design and created my website!  It was not pretty, and I used my IG feed as the homepage of images. Kind of wish I had a screenshot but glad on the other hand?! 

I also launched my Etsy store. My first products were hand block printed Valentine’s Day Cards. This was the first time selling my art. 

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February

I created a large wall art piece. The white wall behind the TV had been staring at me for years, and the art I had found just did not work. This was a personal project to practice making crazy ideas a reality. I love the results, and it is still up today. It is a reminder that I one day want to do large-scale installation or mural.

 Painting recycled cardboard

Painting recycled cardboard

 so many shape and colors!

so many shape and colors!

 I used a box cutter to carve out the shapes 

I used a box cutter to carve out the shapes 

 The final installation. So much color - movement and blends perfectly with the other colors of the house. 

The final installation. So much color - movement and blends perfectly with the other colors of the house. 

I also added spring themed block print cards and tea towels to my Etsy shop. This doubled the number of products in my store. The tea towels were wildly popular. 

During these months I was hand drawing a lot of designs but still had not figured out how to make digital patterns. Many tears, skillshare videos,  and hours later I finally figured it out!

March

The last day of March I finally created my 1st repeat pattern based on my hand drawings. This was a turning point in creating digital repeating patterns from my hand drawings.

 
 You can see my illustrator art board with the tile and then the full seamless repeat next to it! 

You can see my illustrator art board with the tile and then the full seamless repeat next to it! 

 

April

After I made my first pattern, my second pattern was used by Body Zone Swim for one of their swimsuits. It was so exciting to see my pattern on a suit! I still wear my suit today. You can read more about the design process here.

 

 Suit on the left and pattern on the right! 

Suit on the left and pattern on the right! 

I had my 1st pop-up shop at West Elm the first week of April. Making the call to ask to have a pop-up so so scary and I did not feel ready at all! Now I feel so comfortable doing pop-ups, but I also learned that I do not like doing pop-up shops. There is a lot of waiting which is hard for me. I also realized that selling my block printed products is not going to be a sustainable business. I am so happy that I did go through the process of figuring out how to sell products in person. 

I lead my 1st corporate block printing workshop to a team of engineers. I loved enabling and encouraging people to feel creative. More about my workshops here.

 
 Teaching block printing techniques 

Teaching block printing techniques 

 
 

I started the 100-day project pledging to post 100 patterns hand drawn or digital. This project got me into a habit of creating and digitalizing on a daily basis. So much practice!

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May

My sister, Caitlin Beyer, took professional photos of my block prints and myself. She is a beyond fantastic photographer, and it was awesome to work together on a project.

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 So professional and focused

So professional and focused

 The dining room table studio

The dining room table studio

 The finished product!

The finished product!

 I love this one!

I love this one!

June

In June we went on a mom and sisters trip to Santa Fe, NM. It was a special trip to bond with my girls as well as be inspired by Georgia O’Keefe - her work and life as an artist. The colors of Santa Fe were unreal!

 
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One of the reasons my sister took photos was for my Brika shop page. I was accepted as a seller for the online store which was so exciting to expand my product reach. I also realized that it was a lot of work and for the sales I received. I have since closed the shop. Another lesson learned.

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July and August

I started selling my block print cards and tea towels at my first brick and mortar store, University Art in Redwood City. It is a gem of a local art store where I have bought my art supplies my whole life. It felt full circle! 

I also finished my 100-day project! This project pushed me to start to develop my style and then push it further. I also had enough patterns to update my website and created an online portfolio. The 100-day project also pushed me to explore the pattern design industry and what "it takes" to make money in the industry. 

 
 My tea towels on display at University Art. Something I would not have believed back in Feb. 

My tea towels on display at University Art. Something I would not have believed back in Feb. 

 

September and October

In September I turned 31, a year since my career shifting trip to Spain and Morocco. I was honored that Uppercase Magazine posted about my trip and experience on their blog! 

I was able to do illustration work for one of my UX design clients. I created over 90 illustrations for the project. Illustrations were not part of the original scope of the project and I this was a surprise add-on. I doubted myself in the beginning, but I was so happy with the results and being challenged by the project! Doing more illustration work is one of my goals for 2018!  Read more here

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November and Dececmber

I launched my bi-monthly newsletter - the repeat! You can sign up at the bottom of this page! It has been an excellent way for me to connect with my followers and industry professional with my most recent work. Sending out the newsletter was a huge hurdle for me, and it took me about three months to get enough courage to start sending it out. I am now fully committed and have sent out three newsletters so far!

I joined an online community called the Textile Design Lab which offers classes and has groups for aspiring pattern designers. I took a mini-course in November that pushed me to apply to Design Studios to hopefully take me on as an artist. I have not be accepted yet but getting over the fear of reaching out was a more significant hurdle. I am not giving up yet!

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I designed a few holiday cards using my patterns and sold on Etsy and at one holiday fair. It was the first time that sold products with my pattern designs. Until this point, it was just block printed products. I loved how they turned out and am looking forward to making more products in 2018. What products do you want to see my patterns on?

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2017 by the numbers:

  • 5 pop up shops
  • 79 sales on Etsy
  • 125 Digital repeat designs
  • 4 corporate block printing workshops

Thank you so much for following along on my first year of Courtney Beyer Design. I am so excited for year two. I am really going to focus on just creating patterns and my goal is to start selling and licensing. I also have realized it is going to take awhile to make money from selling my patterns. I am also excited to work as a UX design consultant, and illustration commissions to add to my income. It will be a balancing act for sure. The one thing I have learned from this year is that anything that makes me feel uncomfortable will eventually feel comfortable if I do not give up.

 

Re-post from Uppercase Magazine

I was beyond honored and thrilled when Uppercase Magazine accepted my submission and posted about my trip to Spain last Oct. Over a year later, I often reflect back on the trip- not for how it changed the course of my career or the beauty of the Alhambra but how the people I met expanded my world view. For one of the first times in my life I was a minority - being a white, christian, non-headscarf wearing woman, in a group of mostly muslim women. We all became fast friends - and plainly put - I learned more in those 5 days - then any podcast, article, class, book combined. As horrible and hateful things continue to be said and done around the world  - I am just a quick What's App message away from making sure we are all OK and that we are on track for our next art class adventure. 

Originally posted in Uppercase Magazine Blog  - Posted Oct. 12, 2017

For Courtney Beyer, a trip overseas led to a whole new career path

Here's an inspiring story from an UPPERCASE reader. It would have been a good fit to the content of the summer issue #34's Explore issue, but I had already finished that issue when I heard from Courtney. She writes, "I went to Granada, Spain for an Islamic Art workshop that I signed up for on a whim. It changed my life and now I am a pattern designer."

 Details of plaster carving in the Alhambra, Granada Spain 

Details of plaster carving in the Alhambra, Granada Spain 

"Last September traveled to southern Spain and Morocco to celebrate my 30th birthday and take in as much Islamic pattern tile as possible. At the time I was a web designer in Silicon Valley and feeling like I was going to more meetings then designing. Before the trip I came across a workshop in Granada, Spain called the Art of Islamic Pattern, a 5-day workshop to learn to draw Islamic patterns and visit the Alhambra." The dates of the workshop lined up with her itinerary and she signed up. "I am usually not this spontaneous," she admits. 

 The Alhambra at Sunset

The Alhambra at Sunset

But this leap of faith turned out to be life-changing. "I reconnected and re-valued the craft of drawing and pattern making," she says. "I also connected with other artist on the trip who were mostly Arab in background either from England or the Middle East. I learned so much from them, about history—and about how much is actually not taught in school."

 Carving Islamic patterns into leather

Carving Islamic patterns into leather

 carved plaster and tiles details from the Alhabmra 

carved plaster and tiles details from the Alhabmra 

 Tile details from the Alhambra 

Tile details from the Alhambra 

 My sketch of the motif pictured above

My sketch of the motif pictured above

"The trip set me on a path to quitting my job." Inspired to start creating with her hands again, she decided to specialize in block prints and surface pattern designs through her company Courtney Beyer Design that she founded in January of this year. "I sell hand-printed cards, journals and tea towels on my Etsy shop and I am working on a pattern line."

Courtney says that one of her instructors taught the class a prayer that she now recites to herself before taking on a creative assignment or project:

May we all be guided by truth


May we have beauty revealed to us


and may it result in the good 

There's more to Courtney's story and art over on her website.