Meet the Artists: Claudia Soria, Jenica Goertz & Danielle Hartgers, Allison Werberg, Vilmos Varga

NOV 9, 2019 updated Nov 22, 2021
Claudia Soria portrait
Allison Werberg portrait
Jenica Goertz & Danielle Hartgers portrait
Vilmos Varga portrait

If you’re someone who when browsing the Spoonflower Marketplace wishes they could hear the stories of the designers behind the patterns, you’ve come to the right place. Today we’re chatting with five unique artists, some new to the site and some you’ll surely recognize from our tight-knit creative community.

Meet November’s Featured Designers

Claudia Soria from the Netherlands: I would describe my design style as fun and unique.

Left image: A small child is wearing one of Claudia Soria's designs, Black Cactus, on a short-sleeved t-shirt. The shirt is white with black fabric around the bottom edge, neckline and cuff. Black cacti with white dots of varying sizes float through the design. Right image: A headshot of Claudia Soria. There is  a hot pink highlight of light on the right side of Claudia's head.
Featured: Cactus collection by kimsa

Jenica Goertz & Danielle Hartgers from Canada: Our designs have a whimsical, bold, illustrative feel and are perfect for children’s products.

Jenica Goertz & Danielle Hartgers portrait
Danielle (left) and Janica (right) of Fineapple Pair | Photo by Bree Grenier Photography

Allison Werberg from Sweden: Lately I’ve been into more layered, textured designs and block print/linocut inspired prints, but I always like trying out new styles and techniques.

Allison Werberg in the fleabat studio. Allison is sitting at a white desk. A computer monitor is directly behind Allison. A corkboard with a color chart, photograph and bits of paper is to the right of the monitor. A printer is to the right of the corkboard.
Allison of fleabat pictured in the studio

Vilmos Varga from Romania: My style is experimental and eclectic because every day something new seems to excite me and I can’t remain in one particular style for too long.

Left image: Vilmos Varga portrait. Right image: Vilmos's design Monotone Foliage is shown on a tablecloth on a dark brown wooden table. Two chairs are on one side and part of another chair is shown on the other side. There is a a white carafe and dish on the table along with a clear vase with long straight stems of green flowers. The tablecloth's design has a white background and navy, light gray and dark yellow flowers twisting and floating through the background.
Featured design: Monotone Foliage by vilmosvarga

Which color best expresses your personality?

Claudia: Well, I’m a very calm person so I guess minty-blue. It’s also a color I like to use in my work.

Jenica: Yellow would describe me! It’s fun and cheerful.

Danielle: Mine would be pink…sweet and fun-loving.

Allison: Blue or grey. Or bluish-grey! Because it is quiet yet compelling.

Left image: Allison's Seaweed (blues) design on cocktail napkins sitting on a white table. The design has a grayish blue background with white seaweed snaking all over the design. Dark blue seaweed following the same movements is seen under the white. Right image: close up of the design.
Seaweed (blues) by fleabat from the Mix and Match collection

Vilmos: I love almost every color but if I have to name one that fits my personality, that would be orange because it’s so bright and cheerful.

What inspires your work?

Claudia: Nature, animals, books, visiting museums and traveling.

Jenica & Danielle: Children’s books and illustrations are definitely a huge inspiration for our creative work. It lets you get into the minds of young ones—you become open to quirky characters, fun patterns and bold colors.

Left image: Jenica and Danielle's design "Cats in the Garden" as seen on the lower half of a small dress with a yellow band around the waist and a light blue sleeveless top. Small shiny silver shoes are seen under the dress. The "Cats in the Garden" design has small gray cats wearing yellow and orange sweaters repeating on a white background with gray mice with pink ears wearing pink sweaters with dark orange dots and white cats wearing pink dresses with orange neckbands and lower edges are white dots. Pink flowers and gray flowers also float around the design. Right image: Jenica and Danielle's Blue Mini Garden shown on a t-shirt with a green neckline over a white tulle skirt with a green ribbon at the waist. A navy heart on a stick is shown at the right. The design has a light blue background with white flowers and navy flowers in varying sizes repeated throughout on green stems.
Cats in the Garden and Blue Mini Garden by fineapple_pair

Allison: The outdoors, natural history museums, fossils, maps, my imagination, and just observing and noticing things around me. I once created a design inspired by the shadows cast by the faucet handle of my bathroom sink!

Vilmos: As a designer, I am always observing my surroundings; the posters and ads in stores or public spaces, the shapes, colors, patterns, fonts and so on. I love to travel to new places because it gives me a boost of inspiration and I always get new design ideas while on vacation. But traveling is not the only way to get inspired, even an average day when I’m out buying groceries can be a very good source of inspiration if you’re not just looking but also observing. I believe everyone is influenced by their surroundings but not everyone embraces it consciously.

Share a defining moment that shaped your creative path:

Claudia: When I saw the work of Tsumori Chisato around 2006-7 I was really impressed by her designs and I thought, ‘I want to do that for a living.’

Claudia's design Kitties as shown on a dress by a small child wearing orange kneesocks and a black hat with ears and an orange plaid bow tied to one of them. The design is of black cat faces on a white background. The cats eyes are closed, as if they are sleeping.
Kitties by kimsa | See the complete collection

Jenica & Danielle: One day in Starbucks, while discussing work, home life and everything in between, we both had this moment where we were like, ‘DUH! Why aren’t we doing this together?’ This sparked the idea of creating a combined online shop to sell our digital products on Etsy. Fineapple Pair was created and has now expanded into other platforms like Spoonflower, Creative Market and even our own website.

Allison: I come from a scientific academic background (BS in Zoology, MS in Museum & Field Studies), and have always been into art as a hobby—specifically scientific illustration. I had to quit my job when my family moved to Sweden to follow my husband’s job, which freed up more time for me to devote to creative endeavors, and I got hooked on creating repeating seamless patterns. While my inclination is always to try to draw things as realistically as possible, I’ve been using my time on Spoonflower to fight against that impulse and use a freer hand to come up with looser interpretations. It has been therapeutic!

Allison's design Swedish Tomte on dinner napkins. The noses and black bushy beards of gnomes are shown popping out under tall thin knitted red hats on a gray background. White circles are shown over and under their faces and on the parts of the hats just above their noses. Clusters of small white snowflakes are between the tops of the hats.
Swedish Tomte by fleabat | Shop this design on dinner napkins

Vilmos: I started out as a hobby photographer more than a decade ago and when I bought my first DSLR, I thought, ‘this is a great tool that I might be able to capture some great content with.’ I thought it might be a waste to leave the photos on my computer in a directory, so I started to seek ways to sell my photos which is how I discovered vector graphics. This led me in a whole new direction designing graphics and from this point, creating patterns became much more than just a hobby for me.

Vilmos's designs Dino Garden and Pirate Bearrrr as seen on two pillows. The left pillow features the Dino Garden print, on which dinosaurs of varying sizes in mint, pink, blue and yellow play on a cream background with small flowers in those same colors. The right pillow has the print Pirate Bearrr on it, which has a pirate bear looking out to sea with a monocle on a light blue background. A blue octopus and a sea horse wear eyepatches and small black hats with a white skull and crossbones, a yellow pirate ship with a white sail and a small yellow crab with a black and white hat float through the background.
Dino Garden and Pirate Bearrr by vilmosvarga

How do you get out of a design rut?

Claudia: I just stop trying and take a break to find more inspiration.

Jenica: Going for a run or doing yoga clears my mind. My kids also provide new creative ideas through their funny stories and imaginative play.

Danielle: Retail therapy! I love looking at what’s out there in fashion and home goods, as well as wandering the stationery isles at Indigo.

Jenica & Danielle's design Moody Florals shown on the bodice of a top for a small child with puffy black sleeves. The design has large orange and cream and orange flowers on a black background growing on green stems. Small black shorts and a black and white shoe are also in the photo.
Moody Florals by fineapple_pair

Allison: I go for a run. Usually, if I am stuck on something, getting the fresh air and movement somehow triggers solutions in my head.

Vilmos: It happens rarely to me but there are several ways I handle a situation like this. In some cases, I give it some time, and while I tend to relax and not force working, I try to avoid getting burned out. By letting things happen naturally and looking at life from a distance as an observer, I tend to come up with new ideas and a boost of motivation very easily. Some say creativity is like a muscle, but I prefer looking at creativity the way love is—the more you give the more you got back.

What are three surprising facts about yourself?

Claudia: I used to live in Bolivia, triangles are my favourite shape and I love to shop for clothing for my 4-year-old daughter (I sometimes wish I could dress like her!).

Claudia's Cats design is shown on a small one-piece romper of a sleeping child asleep on a bed with a white fitted sheet and white pillows with gray squares. The Cats design is on a white background with black cats with closed eyes as if they are sleeping too. Their ears are pointy and they have three black whiskers on each side of their noses.
Cats by kimsa

Jenica & Danielle: We both illustrated our first children’s books this year, our first jobs were both at printers (ironically M&T and T&M) and there’s exactly a foot between us; Jenica is 5′ and Danielle is 5’10”.

Allison: I’m an American currently living in Sweden, my first and last jobs were a fossil preparator and a cartographer, respectively, and I can mimic a howler monkey’s howl fairly realistically.

Vilmos: I was never considered skillful at drawing, I’ve never even tried to use a sewing machine before in my life and lastly, I’m a manly guy who doesn’t like beer.

What’s on your studio playlist?

Claudia: At the moment I listen to Jamie xx, but I like a lot of different styles of music.

Jenica: Any Top 40 and most of the time I love the silence (especially after my chaotic morning routine with my kids).

Danielle: Podcasts I love are The Honest Designers Show and the Creative Rebellion. If its music, right now I am into The Lumineers, Yukon Blonde and the Arkells.

Jenica & Danielle's hands are in this photo with several of their designs in front of them on a table with two small succulents. The designs have been printed on paper and the pieces of paper are spread over the table. There are blue dots in varying shades on a light blue background, gray stripes, a piece of paper just showing a gray background with part of the face of a gray mouse, a piece of paper with pink and gray flowers on a white background.
Fineapple Pair sampling new designs | Pro Tip: Proof up to 42 designs at a time using our 1-yard cheater quilt Fill-A-Project®!

Allison: Usually podcasts.

Vilmos: The kind of music that I listen to always depends on the mood or situation that I am in. I prefer thematic online radios, where I can easily switch styles without spending too much time searching for the right music.

Vilmos is sitting at a desk on looking at designs on a computer monitor.

What are your favorite design tools?

Claudia: My Wacom tablet to draw.

Jenica & Danielle: Procreate and the Apple pencil are a must! Combined with Photoshop and Illustrator, the possibilities are endless in creating fun patterns and finalizing our design bundles.

Allison: Definitely Illustrator. I learned my way around Illustrator as a cartographer, but have learned soooo much more while exploring repeat pattern making. But I usually start out with ink drawings first, digitize them, and then manipulate them into a final design in Illustrator.

Allison's design Patch in Stitch in progress at the left and the design as finished on the right. The in progress photo shows a handdrawn pumpkin in black with a twisty stem. Next to it is the same pumpkin with orange lines, as if they are stitches, drawn on a few sections of the pumpkin. The image on the right is the repeating design on a black background with all the lines drawn all over the pumpkin, orange for the pumpkin itself and green for the stem and the vine growing from it.
Patch in Stitch by fleabeat | Allison’s design won 2nd place in our Halloween Embroidery Design Challenge

Vilmos: I usually create in vector format that requires only a computer and editing software. I don’t need a lot of tools and after some time I realized that the right idea and creative approach is far more valuable than any fancy tool.

What are your design goals for the year to come?

Claudia: My goals are to just enjoy my work and if I can make people happy with my designs that’s even better!

On the left: Claudia's design Teepee on a white background is shown on an small white dress. The design has a mint green teepee repeating in a desert with a black cactus and moon. 
On the right: Claudia's design Sleepy Bunny on several small one-piece rompers hanging on a wooden rail. The design features a repeating sleeping bunny with closed black eyes, a round black nose and two ears outlined in black.
Featured: Kimsa’s Teepee collection and Sleepy Bunny collection

Jenica & Danielle: We have just started our journey on Spoonflower, we would love to become more prominent in the community and even offer more fabric-based products in our Etsy Shop. We hand draw all of our patterns and see the potential in this market. By improving our themes and following the fabric trends (especially the weekly challenges), we hope this can help us become more successful.

Allison: Maybe dive deeper into Photoshop, and I’d like to try some watercolor designs.

Allison is drawing small geometric designs on a white piece of paper with a black pen in front a computer monitor on a white desk.
Allison Werberg of fleabat in the studio

Vilmos: I work from home and my son is just 7 months old, so my goal is to be able to work enough and yet spend enough quality time with him. Finding the right balance between work and family would be great to achieve not just the coming year but for good.

Lastly, what’s your best advice for new designers on Spoonflower?

Claudia: Be yourself and create your own style.

On the left: close up of Claudia's design Crocodile Ivory, which features sleeping light green crocodiles. Their faces are pointing in different directions in alternating rows, left then right. On the right: Crocodile Ivory as seen on a bed sheet set on sheets and pillowcases on a wooden brown bed with tall plants and a window with a white curtain behind it.
We love kimsa’s Crocodile Ivory design on a Spoonflower sheet set

Jenica & Danielle: Entering the Weekly Design Challenges has been crucial to getting our name out there and it helps in knowing what sells based on what is in demand.

The Spoonflower Fans community on Facebook is also very helpful. Designers (and buyers) are eager to offer advice and constructive criticism helping your design to become the best it could be.

Jenica Goertz & Danielle's Buggin Out collection as seen on fabric. The design on the left has blue caterpillars, green praying mantises, and black-and-green fireflies on a mint background. The middle fabric has an olive green background and repeating rows of half circles that have a yellow half-circle with medium blue leaves, a medium blue half circle, an light olive green half-circle with medium blue leaves and a light turquoise half-circle. The third fabric has the same bugs from the first design, but they are outlined in blue on a white background. The words "fly" and "awl," the latter half of "crawl,' the first half of the word which isn't seen, also show up outlined in blue amongst the bugs.
Buggin Out collection by fineapple_pair

Allison: Keep learning and trying new things, and be persistent. There is always room to improve and grow.

Allison's bicyclechainpattern design on a button-up short sleeved shirt. The model is standing on a balcony with cars and houses below.
A handmade shirt for bicycle lovers? Fleatbat has you covered

Vilmos: Keep working and submitting! Try out the Weekly Design Challenges; besides being a good source of inspiration, they’re a really fun way to come up with new designs.

Vilmos's design Fit Spots as it would appear on a blanket and a curtain. The design has barbells and kettle bells outlined in black with polka dots in yellow, blue and red popping through a cream background.
Fit Spots by vilmosvarga

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