Archive for the ‘abstract’ Category


June 20, 2008

Final Obama pattern (I think). You may have noticed that I’ve used this same pattern for three days now, which technically goes against my rules, but I’ve spent so much time on it that I am justifying the rule-bending. And really, since it’s actually a big pattern made up of many, many small patterns, I’m feeling pretty good about my digression. 

Henry preferred the b/w version, so I’m back to that one. I like the color version too, but agree that this makes a stronger image.



June 18, 2008

Here’s the pattern for tonight: Obama #1. It’s inspired by Stig Lindberg, an incredible Swedish designer. Here are a few examples of his patterns. You’ll see which one provided the concept for this one.


June 11, 2008

I’m still experimenting with the variable weight line and abstracted botanical shapes. I think I like the last one best—the result of subtracting almost all the elements. These look a little more Arts & Crafts than 50s. I’m trying to put my finger on what makes a shape evoke a particular period in time. Iconic decorative arts pieces?


June 10, 2008

I’m enamored of these 50s-ish shapes. Here’s another pattern using abstract florals, shown on both a dark and a light background.



June 7, 2008

I’ve always liked concrete blocks, especially the ones from the 50s that were poured with the different patterns left hollow. I took a pic of a big wall of them in NYC:

And here is my interpretation of the concrete blocks. It’s interesting how changing the foreground/background colors and moving the shapes around can create such different looking patterns.


June 4, 2008



June 1, 2008

Thinking about snow again.


May 31, 2008


May 30, 2008

Two variations of circles spreading.


May 28, 2008

Here’s how Gus’ Easy Mac came out of the microwave:

So I did a little macaroni-from-the-top pattern today.



May 27, 2008

Today was one of the rare rainy, dreary days in Denver, so instead of baking chocolate chip cookies (which I really wanted to do) I made some bright happy patterns. I’m still wishing I had the cookies.

diamond suns

diamond rounds reversed


May 24, 2008

Back in the office, for the first time since getting home from NYC, and now I’m trying to get caught up. I have quite a few patterns to finish and post today. The shows, the city, the museums–all gave me plenty of fodder for new ideas. I was offline for a couple of days, which was kind of nice–I took notes, gathered ideas and made sketches, and now I’m organizing and expanding my sketches into post-able patterns.

These funny little shapes were loosely inspired by a Japanese stencil I saw at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.


swirlies reversed

swirlies 2

Here’s a picture of the Japanese stencil, plus a little info about it:

In use since the eighth century, kata-gami, or Japanese printing stencils, are laminated sheets of paper pasted together with a sticky resin made from persimmon juice. As the intricate designs are cut, the patterns are held in place with thin silk threads or even human hair. The stencil is then placed on a length of silk or fine cotton, and the color is pressed through onto the fabric. Many of the designs derive from nature, including water and wind currents, plant forms, animals, and birds.

Did you get that? These intricate little designs were cut into paper glued with persimmon juice, and they held the patterns in place with silk thread and human hair. THEN they printed on fabric by pressing the color through the stencil. Imagine showing today’s automated fabric printing techniques to the artist who made this stencil….

I drew my little swirly designs from what I remembered so maybe now that I’ve found the actual stencil reference I’ll try a design using more straight lines. The kata-gami was done in about 1780, but it looks modern.


May 22, 2008

We got back late late last night…the plane was delayed, so it was about 2 am Denver time before we got home, meaning it felt like 4 am to us. It was nice to be home even though I was exhausted. I peeked at the sleeping boys, who had all made us “welcome home” cards, and petted the cats. We saw precious few creatures while we were in NY–some birds, one black squirrel, a few dogs. Lots of babies, though.

This pattern was inspired by some of the tiny calico prints that were featured in the Cooper’s sample exhibit. There were beautiful little Japanese prints done for kimono fabric. I believe they were produced using indigo dye and a rice paste resist. The actual prints were much smaller than what I’ve done here, but if they get too small on the computer screen they disappear.

diamond calico

diamond calico light

Another thing I learned from the sample show is that calico fabric originated in India. The informational blurb at the museum said the fabric was from Calcutta, but I’ve since discovered that it’s from the city of Calicut. (Oops, Cooper-Hewitt). Indian pattern designers typically used motifs from nature, of trees, flowers, birds, etc. Then the Europeans started making calico fabric with motifs based on the traditional Indian motifs. I’ve always associated calico fabric with Little House on the Prairie, so I did a little research to find out how it got to America. Here’s a brief synopsis:

In 1700, England banned import (and the use and wear) of cotton cloth from India, in an effort to prop up the English textile industry (known as the ‘Calico Act’, it was repealed in 1774). Printed calicos were especially popular among women who were termed the ‘Calico Madams’. The ban almost destroyed the Indian textile industry, and India was forced to buy from the British textiles. (thanks Wikipedia)

A fellow named John Hewson, the son of a London woolen draper, came to America in 1774 with Benjamin Franklin to escape King George’s rule. Hewson was trained as a printer of calico fabrics and had worked for Talwin & Foster, a leading London textile printworks. He opened a calico printing factory in 1774 in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Historical Society website,

Not only was Hewson the first calico fabric printer in the colonies, his work was also of the highest quality. According to scholars of textile history, Hewson’s textiles were unmatched in America at that time, and rivaled those of Europe. His chintz fabrics made him famous and were printed with wood blocks; a different one was used for each of the seven colors in his palette; pink, red, blue, yellow, black and brown. Green colors were added by “pencilling” in blue and yellow dyes. Hewson’s textiles were expensive and highly sought after for dresses, furnishing fabrics and handkerchiefs. He is most known for his realistic and finely detailed classical urns of flowers, which were printed as medallion panels for bedcovers, it is believed.

There you have it…the history of calico, in a nutshell.


May 20, 2008

This is my last abstract Holidayesque pattern. After today I won’t have to think about Holiday for awhile.



May 18, 2008

Day one of Surtex. I have to say, the show was not what I was expecting. The vast majority of artists/illustrators were very traditional in their styles and imagery. There was LOTS of Holiday stuff. And lots of stuff geared directly toward each consumer holiday: Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s, etc etc–plus “Everyday” and “Occasional.” But mostly Holiday with a capital H. And less patterns and more paintings.

Ted started bugging me after the show set-up day to do a snowflake design, but I did the bagels and rain instead. So here’s my Holiday snowflake design.



May 14, 2008

Today we’re leaving for Surtex. We’ve been in a bit of a froth trying to get all our work finished up before the trip. We’ll be getting in to Brooklyn at about 9 pm, staying in a little bed and breakfast in Cobble Hill. I’ll do my best to post while I’m in NYC.

right angles brown

right angles


May 13, 2008

split squares


May 8, 2008


more pods


April 28, 2008

Some variations on a scaly theme.


April 27, 2008