My mother was a lover of fashion and sewed many of her dresses (and mine) when I was growing up. Often I would tag along on a trip to the fabric store and get lost amongst the tables of fabric and ric-rac as she combed through pattern books. McCall, Simplicity and Vogue were often her favorites.
As I got older I learned to sew myself, taking classes at the local YWCA. I loved fabric, the feel of it, and of course the patterns themselves. Full of color and shapes and stories. So when I came upon Pattern Camp over a year ago, it was a natural response for me to want to dive into pattern making myself. Here’s my first ever pattern, blemishes and all!
The inspiration behind Pattern Camp is artist Jessica Swift. Besides being a very talented creator, she is also a teacher and mentor to many artists who love pattern making as well. Each week she sends out a pattern challenge to get our creative juices going. Often it is a theme, such as ‘farm’ or ‘portrait’ or ‘ikat’. Most recently the prompt was just Peach, Ochre and Bright Red. That’s it. Hmmm.
My first thought was to create something around an actual peach. Such soft peachy colors that have a dash of red on their fuzzy skins. And that pit is full of texture and different hues of ochre would work with it nicely. I started drawing peaches and pits in my sketchbook with the intent to start painting them the next day.
I awoke around 5am the next morning and was hit with a totally new concept: make a tile instead. I’d been seeing paintings of tiles show up on my Instagram feed and they were beautiful in their design. Flowing lines and bright colors in a single square, when fit together became a whole ‘picture’. I started doing some research on Mexican, Moroccan, Italian, and Brazilian tiles and created a new Pinterest board, Tile Design inspiration.
Then I went to work. Knowing I had to break the larger ‘picture’ into a repeatable part, I did a very rough sketch that started with a diagonal bar and a quarter circle. That left a lot of space to fill! I had a circle and scallop theme going on, so continued that with the drawn leaf and flower. The last element added was the curved peach-colored line.
Okay, now the test. How will it look multiplied by 4?
Whoa! That is interesting. You may have something here. Okay, now start multiplying it - will it hold up as a repeat.
How about as a floor tile or a wall?
It was very exciting to me to see this all come together. Very magical from the single initial tile to one multiplied over and over. It got me excited about creating more and learning more about their history and uses. This pattern reminds me of the painted desert, so I'm calling it Desert Rose. I’m sure there will be more to come!