Elizabeth Olwen on Cheeky Design

Inspired by her mother’s patterned orange floral kitchen curtains, matching Formica table, and floral wallpaper as a child, Toronto-based surface designer Elizabeth Olwen, creates “unapologetic patterns” (I love this term!). Refusing to choose a favorite color palette to work in (again, love), Olwen instead bundles her work into themes like “fairytale gardens” and, my favorite, “sun & sand”. I completely identify with this early aesthetic influence when I think back to my own parents house, which refused to go down without a fight. Our brown floral couch was book ended by huge cement block looking grey lamps, with rough linen lampshades and orange yarn details. Our wall-to-wall brown shag carpeting…wow, just wow. I think I am still drawn to this look though, in a more controlled way, with opposing colors, competing patterns and textures. I don’t like having too "same-y same-y" in my house, or my artwork, and instead, cross my fingers and hope all the patterns and colors I am drawn to somehow find a happy marriage living together...perhaps what Olwen meant with "unapologetic patterns."