Just spent a couple of hours sitting in the sunshine painting these blown eggs. It's quite therapeutic just making patterns up as I go along, using a fresh spring palette inspired by the plants in my garden.
Welcome to the very first blog post to launch my new website! As some of you might know, I've eased off my frantic life as a busy art editor in publishing in favour of a calmer life creating patterns and illustrations, and this website portfolio represents my first offerings.
One of my biggest inspirations is the mid century modern style, I love the bold graphics and loud colours. My favourite colour is orange, a colour that features prominently in many vintage textiles of the 60s. It was with great excitement that I visited the mid century modern show at Dulwich college in London last month. It featured stall holders selling furniture, home wares, art and textiles from the era and I was particularly excited when I came across this lovely spread of fabrics from www.lucybatesvintagefabric.co.uk. So much orange! "Is it OK to touch the fabrics? " I asked, breathless with anticipation. My hands were trembling with joy as I fondled the Jyoti Bhomiks and the Peter Halls. Textile porn at its finest! I think this reminded me just how much of a buzz I get from beautiful pattern and colour combinations. Lucy sells a lot of textiles from 60s and 70s Heals collections. Incidentally, Heals have just launched their first fabric collection since the 70s, named simply 1810 after the year the store first opened. With fabrics from Zandra Rhodes (a vintage 1963 design) and Cressida Bell to emerging designers such as Malika Fabre and Hvass & Hannibal, the designs have a retro feel, although nothing like as loud and colourful as Heals' original groovy 70s collections! Check out the new collection here www.heals.co.uk/h/heals-1810/icat/brand_heals_1810
I am inspired as much by patterns and shapes of ceramics as I am by textiles and loved these little cats on the www.roomservicebrighton.com stall at the mid century modern expo. They're similar in style to the William Newland bulls, but I can't find any cats by Newland on the internet. With the help of one of my own cats, Winston, who offered to model for the price of a fish supper, I designed my own 2d version, which I incorporated into my submission for Pattern Observer's call for entries for a collection to be reviewed by Petri Juslin, studio manager for iconic Finnish textile company Marimekko. I have been a big fan of Marimekko's bold graphic prints for ages and just couldn't resist the challenge. This year they are celebrating 50 years of their most iconic print, Unikko, the poppy design. Check out the evolution in colour palettes each decade of this print and the design celebrations at www.unikko.marimekko.com/50-years-of-unikko#unikko-fron
Petri had very kindly done a tutorial on the wet printing process for Pattern Observer, of which I have been a student and membership subscriber for some time. He wrote about the limitations and opportunities of screen printing - the colour overlays creating new colours and the resist colour blocking methods, which reminded me of my batik days - I have a batik that was exhibited all over Europe in my teens. (unfortunately, I didn't get to accompany it!) Anyway, Petri's wet printing tutorial inspired the techniques employed in my collection, Love, Land Life, which was chosen to be critiqued by him for Pattern Observer. I was overjoyed at his response - very positive and so much advice to improve the designs and make them more suitable for the Marimekko brand and the wet printing process. One of the things he said was to try hand painting and loosen up the process a little, and maybe try experimenting with papercuts. I found this very refreshing advice as I struggle to sit at a computer for hours on end and like the idea of getting more hands-on with the paint again. Referring to my Lucky Cats in Trees design, he remarks, "The gist in this is visually very powerful. I could see this having quite a commercial potential in many markets, and for a very wide segment of customers when produced in different colorways." Thank you so much Petri Juslin for your most generous comments and advice!
I can't wait to get down to taking in all the feedback and revamping it, but in the meantime you can see the collection as critiqued by Petri Juslin in my Modern Love art section. You can also find out more about critiques from industry professionals in The Textile Design Lab membership area at www.patternobserver.com
Living a quiet life
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