Ashley Cooper: 2013 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Craft
You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives and the results are in. Introducing our Big Brain 2013 Finalists.
Leading up to the Big Brain Award awards announcement and celebration on April 27, Chow Bella and Jackalope Ranch will introduce the finalists.
Up today: Ashley Cooper
If Ashley Cooper likes it, then she'll want to put a pattern on it.
photos by Becky Bartkowski, designs by Ashley Cooper
The Mesa-based textile designer creates bold graphics reminiscent of those by Trina Turk, Jonathan Adler, and Diane Von Furstenberg. Clothing, accessories, pillows, wallpaper; she wants her designs all over them.
She weaves her work for Ashley Cooper Design into a maxed-out schedule -- one that includes a husband who's studying pre-med at Arizona State University, two kids, running her style blog design-parlor (www.design-parlor.blogspot.com), and studying fashion merchandising and design at Mesa Community College.
photo by Becky Bartkowski, designs by Ashley Cooper
"In any spare moment, I'm doing design work," says Cooper, 26. "I need that creativity to balance everything else."
Working in the evening doesn't put a damper on Cooper's love of color and prints, which she's appreciated for as long as she can remember. That's thanks to her mom, Sandy Carder, an interior designer whom Cooper credits with teaching her basic design principles.
Cooper's foray into fashion is new. She used to work as an aesthetician specializing in skincare (she still does it sometimes as a side hustle), but Cooper always had a keen interest in fashion. The problem? She wasn't sure whether -- or how -- she'd fit in. Then, she took a few classes through MCC's fashion program and discovered textiles.
"In my first semester, I knew this was something I could pursue," Cooper says. "It really fueled my creativity."