A six-year-old textile designer

I loved hearing about this design story. During the school summer holidays this year, six-year-old Maria became a designer. Maria has happy memories of seeing real pandas when she was younger and she is very fond of her panda toy, so this dictated the subject for her design work.

panda (2)

Maria was inspired by ‘The Pineapple Gallery’ in Bishop Auckland (link below) to come up with the idea of ‘The Panda Gallery’. She also chose the colours she wanted to use and coined the pun ‘Pantastic’ as a great marketing strap-line!

Maria’s mum Gillian is an artist, whose paintings (and accompanying thoughts) delight me on Instagram. This is her beautiful portrait of her sleeping children.

She also depicted, very movingly, a refugee child sleeping far from home under a patchwork quilt of memories of her homeland. I loved this so much that I bought a print and it hangs in my studio…

Gillian has previous experience of putting designs into repeat, so she helped Maria to bring the panda concept to life: the drawing was put into repeat and printed onto different background colours. First the samples arrived.

Then the rolls of fabric.


The pyjamas were to have a panda face on the white top and the coloured printed cotton was for the pyjama trousers, like this.

‘The Panda Gallery’ page on Facebook (link below) charts Maria’s process and documents everything she learnt about make a design come to life.

The garments will be made up by ‘Self-made Studios’ in Bishop Auckland (link below). You may recognise my friend Hannah in the photo. I wrote about her here.

Maria decided that the profits from this enterprise should go to a local children’s charity, CHUF, the Children’s Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle (link below).

I hope you are inspired by this example of design and business activity at an early age. All strength to your elbow, Maria! Well done.

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Thank you for reading my blog. Quilt patterns are here, Fabrics are here, Classes are here

Link to the Pineapple gallery: https://www.thepineapplegallery.uk/

Link to the Panda gallery: https://www.facebook.com/pandagallery/

Link to Self-made studios: https://www.selfmadestudios.co.uk/

Link to Children’s Heart Unit Fund: https://www.chuf.org.uk/

Published by Amanda Jane Textiles

I am an artist, designer and maker living in Ramsgate, UK

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