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Travel Inspired Collections

Winter is my favorite time of year to spend in the studio working out new ideas. If I’m lucky, it’s also a time to travel and find inspiration beyond the studio walls. This winter, Team Design Pool had the opportunity to travel to two very different places. I spent a snowy weekend bundled up at the ice hotel in Quebec, and Kristin C. spent a week wandering the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende. We both came back refreshed and inspired. It got us thinking about travel and the many ways it can influence our work.

How does travel inspire Design Pool?

In this month’s newsletter, we looked at a few ways our travel experiences have shown up at Design Pool. (Subscribe to our newsletter today if you missed it!) A few times, my trips have inspired whole collections of patterns. Other times, they have impacted the art I make outside of Design Pool. In every scenario, though, they feed my creative spirit. Here’s a peek at a few times our travel has influenced our work.   

Travel Inspired Collections


In 2019, I took a trip to Italy with my mom with the goal of learning more about our family history. Months later, LDI Interiors asked me to design a collection with a “connection to Italy.” My photos and sketches turned into this grouping of modern patterns with a botanical touch.


My 2022 trip to the Netherlands, as part of a group led by herbalist Lauren Pignatello, inspired Design Pool’s Swallowtail Farm collection. This collection went on to be named a HiP Award Honoree at NeoCon 2023.


I visited Lisbon on a trip through Ace Camps, which included a class on block printing. Inspired by the azulejos on seemingly every surface in the city, we carved blocks and created patterns. Once home, I designed a collection of tile patterns inspired by this project.

Expanding Our Skills


Like Portugal, my trip to Scotland was also through Ace Camps and focused on learning a craft. In this case, it was natural dyeing and punch needle. This class launched a deep dive into punch needle and I have been using this technique in my artwork ever since.

Navajo Weaving Class

In Santa Fe, I took a Navajo weaving class. This class was as much an introduction to Navajo culture as weaving. Legendary teachers Lynda Teller Pete and her sister Barbara Tell Ornelas taught the class and opened my eyes to the beauty and history of this art form.

Color and Pattern References

Our popular Friday color palettes started as something I created for Pinterest before I even launched Design Pool. To this day, they are still the most popular pins we post. Since those early days, we have introduced them to a whole new audience on Instagram. Kristin C. and I both contribute colorful photos for these pins after every trip we take.

In addition, Kristin C. always shares her experiences on the blog and often lets us peek inside her travel journals. Over the years, she’s shared her obsession with such things as:

The pattern on Spanish tiles,

her love of all things Hawaii,

and how she captures her inspiration in places such as Mexico.

However we channel our inspiration, or even if that inspiration brings us nothing tangible, travel is always a fulfilling source of inspiration when our creative spirits need refueling.

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Kristen Dettoni

Kristen is a visionary textile designer based in Southern New Hampshire with a track record of industry-defining contributions dating back to 1993. She is the Founder of Design Pool and Domanda Design and is an occasional blogger. Her creative influence is reflected in her work across multiple sectors, including automotive, office, hospitality, healthcare and home furnishings. Kristen is an accomplished designer with over thirty years of experience in design with a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. She maintains an art practice and exhibits her artwork in juried and group shows throughout the United States. Her artwork has received numerous awards and honorable mentions. Whatever her creative pursuit, Dettoni approaches it with a strong belief in the power of good design to transform our environments and ultimately, our lives.


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