On Friday last week I returned home from a joyful trip to Colorado. My time was split between my hometown of Boulder (above, on a glorious morning out walking with my mom!), Denver (where my youngest sister, Bizzy, lives and where I was teaching a painting workshop), and Ft. Collins (where my middle sister, Britt, and her family live).

I didn't spend much time at all in Denver when I was growing up, so it's fun to be there now as an adult. It's such a cool city! I snapped this pic of the capitol building during the lunch break of my workshop:


Stunning, right? I know. I love Colorado. Union Station, which was not used for quite some time, has reopened as a train station now and is also home to a whole bunch of new restaurants and bars and such. My sister and I took a spin around to check it out, and of course I had to snap a pic of this gorgeous building:


The workshop I taught was at the inaugural Art Makers Denver event, and oh my goodness it was so much fun! I got to meet several people who've been in my online sphere for quite some time (Hi Lexis! Hi Catherine! Hi Erin!), and everyone who was there was so lovely. 

We carved stamps (here are some of mine that I brought as examples):


And then we painted and stamped on canvases and boards (there are by one of the students):


Here are some gorgeous stamps made by someone in class:


And Sarah Fitzgerald, one of my new favorite artists who works in this incredible Clayboard technique, started out her paintings like this:


Amazing colors, right? So Autumn-y. Love. I think I'll have to devote another post to her work. Seriously, it's so amazing. Check out her site.

This is what our tables looked like, and they just got messier (read: better) throughout the day:



After the workshop I headed up to Ft. Collins to hang out with my sister Britt, her husband, and my niece and nephew. They are the CUTEST! We went on a hike on a beautiful morning:


I got to carry my sweet little niece, who alternated between being happy and cranky:


She is a little diva, that one! Those 2 kids….. my heart melts every time I see them.

Then it was back to Boulder (I spent a lot of time driving back and forth from town to town!). Thankfully Caroline's and my schedules matched up the last day I was there, so we spent some time walking and chatting in the sun around Wonderland Lake. I love this dear friend of mine so much:


Oh Boulder, you slay me:


Sometimes I wonder why I ever moved away. (But I love Portland!)


In other news, I worked all weekend on my birdhouse for the Put A Bird In It auction here in Portland that's happening on Saturday night, October 11th:


I was honored to be asked to create a birdhouse for the 2nd year in a row! That's how I got started, above, and here is how it turned out:


I'm sort-of in love with it. I'm calling it the 'Hanging Tribal Bird Box'. It's for hip birds, obviously.

Also, check out this gorgeous backdrop:


I ran my third half-marathon last weekend in the Columbia River Gorge here in Oregon, and oh MAN it was stunning. I got to the 10-mile mark and hardly realized how far I'd gone because I was just taking in the views…. the trees, the river, the big sky, the birds. It was so beautiful. These are some of my running buddies (Suzanne is missing, but she'll be at the next race!) and I after the race -- aren't they gorgeous? I'm so lucky to have such fit, strong, fun women to run with. They inspire me so much.

Now, it's back to work. I've got to finish up everything for Pattern Camp, which is starting in just a few short weeks. Are you signed up yet? Over 200 people are, and I can feel the excitement building…. the classroom opens a week from today! Get more details here if you're interested.

Have a super Monday!

In between e-course hoopla the lately (there are almost 200 of you signed up for Pattern Camp already, omg!), I've been painting in small bursts, and this new piece just emerged in the last 2 days.

The background was already painted and ready for layers, so this was Step Two.

I like that it's a bit looser than how I usually paint. Sometimes I get so rigid in my painting that it's nice to loosen up and try something a bit different.

I'm thinking I'm going to find a spot in my house to hang this one for a while…. the original might be a keeper for me, not to sell. It's got some personal meaning to it that I might not want to part with. Sometimes that happens.

Happy weekend! I won't be posting here much next week as I'll be in Colorado teaching a painting workshop at the fantastic Art Makers Denver retreat as well as spending a bit of time visiting my family. Follow me on Instragram, though, if you want to see follow along on my adventures!


Today is the day!

Pattern Camp registration is officially open! There's a special discount price, too, through this Sunday September 14. Read on!

WHAT: Pattern Camp is a 2-day, intensive, weekend-long virtual, online pattern design workshop created + taught by me, Jessica Swift. It’s pattern design boot camp! (Except fun, and no one will yell at you, promise.)

WHEN: Saturday + Sunday OCTOBER 11-12, 2014 from 8am - 4pm PST. Online in a private classroom at patterncamp.com

PRICE: $159 USD. This discounted price to invest in the course is available for the next 4 days only, through Sunday September 14. On Monday September 15, the price goes up to the full $189 USD.

If you dream of learning how to make repeat patterns but are unsure of where and how to begin, this course is for you. Throughout the 2-day online workshop you will learn to design repeat patterns in both Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Videos, tutorials, written posts, and live Q+A’s will guide you through the tools, techniques, and tricks to get you quickly on your way to proficiency in the programs + creating your own beautiful patterns.

If a YES resonates within you for any or all of the following:

:: You dream of creating your own patterned products. (Hello, fabric and gift wrap printed through Spoonflower! Hello, greeting cards, gift wrap, or stationery to sell in your Etsy shop!)

:: You like the idea of a jam-packed, intensive, weekend-long workshop, at the end of which you’ll know several different techniques for creating your own repeat patterns

:: You stare (confusedly) at patterns and try to figure out how in the world it repeats seamlessly

:: You feel like pattern design is your calling, but you don’t know where or how to begin

:: You feel a pang in your stomach when you see beautiful patterned products in the world and wish you could figure out how to take the first step toward creating art like that

:: You want to start learning how to use Illustrator or Photoshop (or just how to use it better!)

:: You want to develop your own unique pattern design style

:: You wish someone would down with you and walk you through the pattern design process step by step

:: You already know how to design patterns, but you want to pick up some fresh tips and tricks from a professional designer

:: You want to connect with other like-minded creative souls in a supportive and private setting

Then it's time to sign up!

Pattern Camp is designed as a 2-day intensive online workshop. Throughout the 2 days, lessons will be released at specific times, leading course participants to work on the same lessons at the same time. We'll share our work in private Facebook and Flickr groups, meet up in live Spreecast check-ins to get questions answered, and I will be on hand and available for email support for the entire weekend as well as in the Facebook group.

We'll be an active community of people learning how to create gorgeous pattern designs all at the same time and sharing our work as we go!

It's going to be a jam-packed course!

:: You'll learn how to create straight repeats, half-drop repeats, and brick repeats in Illustrator and Photoshop.

:: You'll learn how to create a color palette and how to edit the colors in your patterns.

:: You'll learn what makes up a pattern collection.

:: You'll learn tips and tricks for making your designing efficient and precise in Illustrator and Photoshop.

Investing in Pattern Camp, completing all the lessons in the course, and then practicing consistently will lead you to mastering all the skills you need to begin creating your own unique portfolio of pattern designs.

I know a 2-day intensive course just isn't realistic for everyone. Time zones are tricky. Kids, family commitments, and work need our attention. Sitting at a computer for 2 full days just might not be doable in your current circumstances. So what if this is your scenario?

If 2 full days of lessons just doesn't jive with your schedule but you still wish you could take the course, you can absolutely sign up anyway. You’ll have access to the website and all the lessons for one full month and can work through the lessons at your own pace without missing a thing.

Whether you work through the lessons in 2 days or in 30 days, you'll be part of the community of creatives in the Facebook and Flickr groups, so you'll be able to interact with the other Pattern Campers and share your own patterned creations when it's convenient for you.

The live check-ins will be recorded, so you can participate live or watch them at your convenience. There will not be any un-recorded live content during the course. You truly won't miss a thing by working through the lessons at your own pace.

So, if Pattern Camp is tugging at your creative soul but you live outside the USA, you just know that you won’t be able to steal away 2 full days for yourself, or the dates simply don’t jive with your calendar, don't let that stop you from discovering the thrill of creating your own gorgeous patterns.

You won’t be at any disadvantage whatsoever if you choose to work through the material at your own pace, over a longer period of time.

Listen to the urging of your creative soul and sign up anyway!

Check out the Pattern Camp website for more info + answers to FAQs, and send me an email if you have any other questions.

I'm so excited to share my love for pattern design with you + teach you the ways during Pattern Camp.

Here are the details again:

WHEN: Saturday + Sunday OCTOBER 11-12, 2014 from 8am - 4pm PST. (Remember, you can always choose to work through the course at your own pace instead of just during the 2 days.)

PRICE: $159 USD. This discounted price to invest in the course is available for the next 3 days only, through Sunday September 14. On Monday September 15, the price goes up to the full $189 USD.

Hope to see you in class. It's going to be SUCH a good time.


ps - here's a video I made about the course!

(if you can't see the video, click here to watch.)


{'time machine' is a series where I share some old work from over the years as a working artist... it's a fun reminder for me about how far I've come in my little business, and I hope you enjoy the images!}

Way back when (in 2008), I created a little zine that I sold in my Etsy shop, called 'I've Never Met You'. I used to draw a lot of people -- I'm not sure why I don't really anymore. because I really enjoy it. Hmmmm….

Anyway, I came across the zine images in a folder on my computer this morning and thought I'd share it here. I still love its sweet little message. (It's also so fun to look back and see what a novice I was in working digitally! My work has evolved a lot since 2008….)

Here it is. Enjoy!












I spent the weekend in the high desert in central Oregon with a loving group of women/sisters/friends, brought together and led by my friend, the magical Pixie Campbell, with whom I've been gathering and sitting in a sacred circle since the beginning of this year. 

Yesterday we gathered on some sacred land, on which a profound, spunky, hilarious, moving Native American healer/elder lives, teaches, and holds sacred ceremonies for all who'd like to join her.

We were invited to join her for a sweat lodge ceremony. My first.

We arrived early to help carry wood, carry, water, dress the lodge. The sweat lodge ceremony is all about purification. Releasing. Gratitude. It was a beautiful (and hot!) event to be a part of.

photo above by Pixie Campbell

That's the lodge below, and the altar being assembled outside:

photo above by daughter of the sun

That sweet girl sat through all 4 rounds of the sweat -- amazing. It was her first lodge, too. What a precious gift to give to such a young person, to show them a sacred path and way to walk through life. I'd like to be able to share this with my future child(ren).

A few other photos from the weekend:


Writing. Gathering and bundling plants to represent what we're ready to lay down, to let go. Burning all that in a fire ceremony under the almost-full moon. (Go look at the moon tonight!) Letting the fire transform us. To carry our prayers and wishes for ourselves and others.


Sitting. Watching nature. Listening for messages. Coyotes howling in the night. Deer grazing. Lizards scurrying. Quiet, so so quiet.


Food! Oh my goodness, who knew yellow watermelon existed? I didn't, and let me tell you: it is delicious. Soup, guacamole, chocolate, kombucha, cashews, tomatoes….. it was a feast.



And the sweet sweet mountains. Dormant volcanoes. Watching over it all with majestic healing.


What I let go, burned in the fire, purified in the lodge: my unwillingness to be vulnerable with others. My discomfort in sharing my feelings and emotions. The hard time I have with letting others get close. It's hard for me. And I am ready to move into something new.

What would you like to let go, to release, to burn in the fire in the light of this full harvest moon?

I'm in the throes of e-course prep at the moment, getting ready to launch Pattern Camp next week on Thursday 9/11/14. (Are you on the wait list? If so, you'll get a chance to register 2 days early, at a special discounted price! There's still time to get on the list, here.)

While filming some video clips, I thought I'd snap some pics as well, because everything looked so pretty! I seriously can't help myself when it comes to patterns. The more color, the better. The more patterns all mixed together, the better. I have no restraint. ;)


If you decide to join me for Pattern Camp, you'll learn how to create your very own unique repeat patterns using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. It's going to be a seriously fun time.

If you've dreamt of having your own pattern designs printed on fabric, or iPhone cases, or of making patterned stationery, gift wrap, or greeting cards to sell in your Etsy shop, Pattern Camp is a great place to start. You'll walk away from the course with all the skills you need to start developing your own portfolio of pattern designs. 


I mean, there are so many things to do with patterns! It never ceases to amaze me. Journals, fabric, rugs, shoes, wall art, bedding, pillows, clothing…… it's practically infinite.


And I couldn't leave you without a photo of my sweet little helper, Juneau:


I had a bunch of stuff spread out all over the floor, so obviously she had to get in the middle of it. That face!! I die.

If you have any questions about Pattern Camp, send me an email!

Registration opens next Thursday, 9/11. Unless you're on the wait list -- for those lucky folks, registration will open 2 days earlier, at a discounted price. (You can be one of those folks! Sign up here.)


Some days I feel like I want to give it all up and just run away and go somewhere really quiet and beautiful in nature. I don't feel that way today. But sometimes I do. You know what I mean?

I think the place above would do nicely on those sorts of days. Pinterest claims it's the Isle of Skye in Scotland, but after some googling I discovered it's actually a Photoshopped image of a river in New Zealand. But no matter -- I like imagining there's a place that exists in the world where purple trees are real!


Hello, obsessed! How gorgeous are these? I found this image on pinterest, too, and am not sure who made these little beauties, but I totally want one. I thought they were necklaces at first, but I think they're actually Christmas ornaments. Illume posted the photo. (PS - I *love* Illume!) Anyone know who made them and where they're available?

Also: how did I not know about this website called Crazy Cat Lady Clothing? Seriously. This stuff was made for me. I might need some cat leggings.

Also, I'm pretty well in love with these:

How do I learn how to macrame? There must be tutorials out there online -- anyone know of a good one?

The beauties above are by SoulMakes. Aren't they so pretty? I love stones and crystals and gems. A few days ago while in California I went to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, and they had the most stunning collection of stones, crystals, minerals, and gems. I'm newly inspired to learn more about them all! My favorite was called Dioptase (which I'd never heard of). Oh my god, it was stunning! Also: wulfenite. SO cool.

There are so many reasons to stop. So many reasons to give up, to not even start, to fizzle out, to let fear get the best of you, to make excuses…..

I'm reading a book right now called Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (she wrote Wild). It's so, so good, you guys. Cheryl anonymously wrote the Dear Sugar advice column over on The Rumpus, to a huge cult following. Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of questions and responses from that column. Did I mention how so, so good it is?

Anyway, I was reading last night before falling asleep, and in answering someone's question Sugar (Cheryl) wrote something about sourcing your life from your future self. Like, would my future self regret if I didn't do this thing I want to do but am afraid (marry the guy, leave the guy, have the kid, buy the house, travel alone, etc etc)? What would my future self want me to do in this situation?

It automatically sort-of pulls you outside of yourself to see your situation from a new, elevated perspective.

And it got me thinking how this is really a magical question, and a way to get out of your own excuses and keep yourself going when things feel hard/scary/too much/unknown/out of control/confusing/overwhelming/unclear. When you're ready to quit or to not even start in the first place, ask yourself:

:: Would my future self want me to give up right now?

:: Will I regret having not done this in the future?

:: What will my life be like in the future if I don't do this thing? 

I can think of about 1 million times during my typical days when this question could be useful to me.

:: Would my future self want me to eat this second helping of dinner, even though I know now that it'll make me feel too full / bad about myself / like I have no self-control?

:: Would my future self want me to keep checking Facebook right now instead of just doing the work that needs to be done?

:: Would my future self want me to not send this email I'm scared to send to a potential client?

:: Would my future self want me to say no to this opportunity just because it's a little outside my comfort zone?

All this is to say: don't stop now. What may be stopping you from whatever it is you dream of doing is simply YOU, getting in your own way. (I say this with love and from deep experience, friends!)

Keep going! Your future self would want you to.


2015 calendars are here and ready for pre-order!

Which means, fun stuff for you:

For every 2015 calendar pre-ordered between now and the end of September, you will get a FREE PRINT of your choice.



My calendars are a bit different this year from previous years' calendars. Gotta keep things fresh, right?!

This year these are 2 different calendars, and 2 versions of each of those calendars -- LARGE (11x14"), and DESKTOP(4.75 x 5.5", in a sturdy plastic display case).




Above: Large Inspiration Calendar, 11 x 14", $32 

Below: Desktop Inspiration Calendar, 4.75 x 5.5", comes in a sturdy plastic display case, $20


And there's the PATTERN CALENDAR:


Above: Large Pattern Calendar, 11 x 14", $32 

Below: Desktop Pattern Calendar, 4.75 x 5.5", comes in a sturdy plastic display case, $20


I hope you like them! I'm particularly excited about the inspirational calendars. I think it'll just be awesome to have inspiring phrases hanging on your wall or sitting on your desk, reminding you to look on the bright side and keep your chin up all year long. Who doesn't need that?!

When you pre-order your calendar(s), just let me know which FREE print(s) you'd like in the 'shipping details/instructions' section when you're checking out. Simple!

All pre-ordered calendars will ship in early October.

Also! There are some brand new sea elves today. This group is one of my absolute faves: the Metals Group! Each sea elf is one-of-a-kind and holds a special energy just for you. (You can read more about the sea elves and what makes then so awesome right here.)

They're all shimmery and metallic and tribal-icious. I can't decide which is my favorite (I think it's the black one).

I saw the image below on pinterest earlier this morning and couldn't get over how much I loved it. So I clicked over to visit Ekaterina Korlova's website to look at more of her work and decided I had to share it with you here.

Turns out, the same thing happened to me almost 3 years ago -- I've already written a post about Ekaterina's work, which I guess I forgot about! I don't know how that's possible, given how gorgeous her it is, but my brain seems to be getting a bit looser in what it chooses to remember and not remember as I get older and as it gets filled up with new information and imagery.

Anyway, since her work has struck me so powerfully twice now, I share it here with you again. I find it just simply stunning. I've been somewhat unmotivated in my own work lately, due to some not-so-fun personal stuff that's been going on (don't worry, I'm ok and everything is ok!), and I feel like I could just stare at her beautiful art all day long and just get all lost and dreamy in it.

I'm intimidated by watercolor. It seems like there's no room for making mistakes. You can't paint over anything like you can with acrylic or oil…

But you sure can get some amazingly gorgeous effects, can't you? Maybe my sketchbook would enjoy some secret watercolor experimentation. (Sketchbooks are so great for messing around and making ugly experimental work!)

Ekaterina seems like one busy lady -- her website is full of lovely drawings and paintings and photos. If you need some eye candy today, I highly recommend a visit.

Also, I'm headed out of town for a week tomorrow (Ryan's brother is getting married!), so posts will be lighter this week. I painted a wedding painting for them, but I've been given strict instructions not to share it here yet, because my sister-in-law-to-be wants it to be a surprise, and she said "don't post it on your blog, because I stalk it". Ha! So, I'll post a pic of it next week, once she's seen it. It's a fun one!

Hope you have the best Monday. 

© 2014 jessica swift, LLC / website coded by emily thompson