As a teenager, Lesley Mowry Robinson enjoyed decorating her bedroom and experimenting with the arrangement of furniture. Today, she continues her love of creativity as an interior designer for Spin Design in New York and as a knitting pattern designer for her company Knit Graffiti Designs.
“We moved to Texas last summer (2016) when my husband was hired as an assistant professor of philosophy at Texas A&M University in Kingsville,” said Mowry Robinson. “Fortunately, my career is flexible and has allowed me to raise our two sons while working from home… It's nice to be able to still design and bring in money for our family as well as still have an ‘identity’ outside of being a wife, mom and homemaker.”
Since being hired at Spin in 2007, Mowry Robinson has contributed to the design of the Elie Tahari coat showroom, the Audemars Piguet office headquarters, the Audemars Piguet retail space on 57th street and recently a new boutique in Bal Harbour, Florida. She has worked on countless corporate offices, most for the well-known realty company Vornado Realty Trust. Her responsibilities ranged from project management to design that has included office fronts, doors, lighting, coffee bars and furniture. Today, working remotely as an interior design consultant, she does mostly CAD work as well as space planning, construction documents, some design work and maintaining relationships with past clients.
“New York was intimidating to me at first,” admitted Mowry Robinson. “I was only able to move to NYC because of a summer internship. Then, for about a year or so, I jumped from job to job before I landed my position at Spin. It was through my internships that I learned how to give spaces a modern, contemporary look, and through them I became familiar with the names and brands being used in the industry. These experiences instilled a spirit of competitiveness in me. In a city that thrives on competition, that was most helpful.”
While serving as the president of CCS’s student chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), Mowry Robinson studied trends in the profession and practices in the industry. Her instructors, all working professionals, taught her how to cultivate creativity and rise above the competition—essential knowledge for all emerging artists and designers.
“There was a time when I wasn’t sure where to look for inspiration; I wasn’t sure if this career was for me,” admitted Mowry Robinson. “But instructors like Sandra Olave taught me to look inside to find my distinct style, and I realized that I was very much at home in this career.”
About two years ago, Mowry Robinson started designing and self-publishing her own knitting patterns on Ravelry. This grew out of her love (obsession, really) for knitting, which she acquired while minoring in fiber design. Now, she is the owner and pattern designer for Knit Graffiti.
“My designs focus on modern style with a flare for something different, using both interesting and simple methods,” said Mowry Robinson. “I am in love with color and use it to express myself, my inner voice. So far, my most popular knitting pattern has been Sizzle Pop, which uses brioche knitting (another of my obsessions). I have also published patterns in publications and with yarn shops and dyers all over the world. It's very exciting!”
To check out Mowry Robinson’s patterns, visit knitgraffiti.com.
*Photo Credit: Spin Design