Starting with Photoshop

A few months ago I mused about whether I should learn how to use Photoshop so that I could get some of my designs digitally printed rather than making everything by hand. This would enable me to make larger pieces at more acceptable prices.

This week I finally got round to doing a two-day class on Photoshop for beginners at Morley College. It was a very popular class, with most of the participants wanting to learn Photoshop to improve their photos or restore old prints. And it turned out that I already knew the tutor, Estelle Vincent, as we had been located next to each other at Lambeth Open at the Portico Gallery a few years ago. Small world! 🙂

We covered a lot in two days, but what was most useful for me was learning about layers, filters and flipping/rotating to produce repeat patterns. Here are some of the patterns I created.

The first was a section of an ecoprint of eucalyptus on silk.

Original ecoprint of eucalyptus on silk

After changing the colour with a filter and flipping and rotating:

Repeat pattern created with filter

A similar process starting with a section of sycamore ecoprint:

photoshop-sycamore-before photoshop-sycamore-blue-repeat

Then I experimented with some indigo shibori. I didn’t bother changing the colours with filters this time.


photoshop-kuno-before photoshop-new-kuno

It’s fascinating to see how different the patterns look when repeated on a larger scale, which is something I could never achieve by hand. And using different filters to create different colourways adds even more potential.

Lots for me to think about here!


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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

16 thoughts on “Starting with Photoshop”

      1. Sorry for that. TAP is transfer artist paper which you print your image on an inkjet printer…. I think you did not use this process! So how did you go from photoshop to your fabric?
        Thank youmagain, mary

      2. Hi Mary,

        I haven’t printed my Photoshop designs on fabric yet. The reason I took the class is because all my designs are created by hand on fabric rather than digitally, through indigo shibori or ecoprinting with real leaves. But because this is quite time consuming and I don’t have the facilities to create pieces much larger than scarves I wanted to find a way of scaling them up, eg to print lengths of fabric, as I often get requests for this on Etsy.

        All the designs I started with in the Photoshop class were photos of patterns I had created by hand. The idea is that once I have created a repeat pattern as a digital file I can send that file to a commercial digital fabric printer to produce fabric by the metre, rather than doing it myself.

        Hope that’s clearer!


  1. Good for you. The hardest thing for me is using Photoshop enough to remember how to do all the things that I learned in a class I took. Love your repeat patterns. I think Mary is talking about a transfer paper. She must think that you printed the designs and then transferred them on to fabric.

      1. I have used photoshop for a long time and have transferred my art work onto silk etc using TAP

    1. I think Photoshop is like many things – if you don’t use them often you are always having to look up how to do things. Luckily many of the features are similar to Fireworks, which I use a lot when building websites, so I hope that will help me remember!

  2. Those are beautiful. I especially like the fact that you’ve kept the lovely handmade quality of the originals when you photoshopped them & didnt “clean” them up too much

    1. Thanks Debs! You’re right – I wanted to keep the “handmade” quality as it’s really important to what I do. Otherwise I might as well give up making and just sit in front of a computer screen all day! 🙂

  3. A photoshop course has been on my list for a long time but the price of the software has always been a bit daunting, perhaps time to just make the investment. Your manipulations of the the photos of your work are lovely.

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