I am Helene van der Laag, owner and creative force behind Art Studio Helene.

As a surface pattern designer I combine all the skills I naturally have with what I’ve learned over the years (Design & Styling for fashion, Interior design).

I just love the fact that I am able to be creative, it makes my heart sing. The whole journey from getting inspired to the actual design is……the best!

My route towards working as a surface pattern designer

I am a sensitive woman. With yoga, Qineng Qicong, meditation I keep myself balanced.

A while ago I had lost myself completely. Due to a job that wasn’t right for me I totally lost the connection with who I was. Now I know that it is super important to do the things you love in life.

One of the changes I made was to quit my job. After 28 years of working in the insurance industry it was time to follow my heart. It took me a while to figure out what my heart was trying to tell me.

And then I saw an ad of Textilice on Twitter. It talked about starting your own business as a surface pattern designer. It was like all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.


After the initial course of Textilice I had a monthly subscription to Pattern Observer, It was there that I really to learned to design collections, to work with briefs and that I got the feedback I really needed. The monthly competitions by Chelsea were (and still are) awesome. Inspirational moodboards, designing according to trends, seeing the results of other designers. I loved it.

Of course it took a while to grow as a designer, and I still am. But my perseverance, hard work and learning from my mistakes has ensured that I am proud of what I have achieved so far. 

Online courses like Bootcamps of Make Art That Sells by Lilla Rogers, Foliofocus by Rise Design & Shine, Creating Christmas by Victoria Johnson all contributed to the standard I am working now. The quality of work of my fellow classmates was outstanding and pushed me to grow big time.

Also Skillshare has proven to be very valuable. 

My very first surface pattern
Make Art That Sells assignment 2017 editorial map of my town
Collection I designed for Chelseas Challenge of Pattern Observer
Foliofocus assignment 2017

Beauty and nature

From an early age I’ve known that I love beauty, I can be moved by it. It is one of the things that make my life on this earth worth while. And it’s everywhere if you have an eye for it, but nature is the best source. 

Nature inspires my in a big way. I never seize to be amazed by it. The colors and shapes, the way everything is connected and interacts, the coming and going of seasons…..Need I say more?

Nowadays I rent my own vegetable garden close to home. It’s 100m2 and I can do with it as I please. It is a great source of joy and I love to spend time there. And it is necessary to do so otherwise the weeds take over and all the insects eat your plants.


Another great way to get inspired is art. Museums are often visited by me. In my area there is Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and they have lots of interesting exihibitions around the year. On holidays I try to include at least one museum.If there is none then simply walking arond neighbourhoods, paying attention to small details is a fun way for me to spend my time.