Archive for the ‘floral’ Category


June 14, 2008


June 13, 2008


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 9, 2008

This one was inspired by a 50s or 60s pattern I saw.


May 27, 2008

Snowflowers. Why are they called that? I don’t know. I think because they were on the same page of sketches as some snowflakes. I want to try some different colorways but not tonight.


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of cotton cloth from India, in an effort to prop up the English textile industry (known as the ‘Calico Act’, it was repealed in 1774).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 19, 2008

Another Holiday design….more formal than usual.

formal mistletoe


April 27, 2008


April 26, 2008


April 22, 2008

Pyracantha…my grandmother had huge pyracantha bushes in her backyard, against the fence. In order to see over to the other side (where big orange radio antennas were being fabricated, and were partially built, resting mysteriously on the ground), we had to climb up the fence through those thorny branches.


April 17, 2008


March 18, 2008

More of my feathery little balls and stalks.

fireworks flowers

flower fireworks

fireworks flowers 2 color



March 4, 2008

Here are a few versions of weeds & seeds, inspired by Lucienne Day. She’s a British pattern designer who created patterns in the ’50s that were completely original and unlike anything else being done at the time. I’m especially drawn to Lucienne’s nature-inspired designs and her colors. I love her playfulness and whimsy, plus she’s very articulate about her work and was an early champion of giving designers credit for their work. Several of her patterns have been reissued recently on tea towels, cushions and sneakers, among other things. The header of this blog, plus the name, are a tip of the hat to Lucienne Day.


puffballs one color

puffballs reversed to yellow

puffballs one color


March 2, 2008


zinnias 2 color

dropped out zinnias


February 26, 2008

zinnia mandala

zinnia mandala reversed


February 25, 2008

The Oliver Sacks article got me thinking about historic patterns, and I started drawing more of my circular designs. Then my spouse walked by and said, “Holy mandala,” which got me thinking about consciously drawing modern mandalas. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for mandala:

“Mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective….The psychoanalyst Carl Jung saw the mandala as “a representation of the unconscious self.” …In the West, mandala is also used to refer to the “personal world” in which one lives, the various elements of the mandala or the activities and interests in which one engages, the most important being at the centre of the mandala and the least important at the periphery. Depicting one’s personal mandala in pictorial form can give one a good indication of the state of one’s spiritual life.”

I’ve always drawn circular patterns, ever since I was a little kid. My About page has some examples of circles done for various projects over the years.

Here’s a modern nature-inspired mandala. Is it meaningful that the center is empty, if that’s supposed to be the most important element? I’ll have to try to imbue my next set of mandalas with more conscious meaning.

petal mandala


February 18, 2008

I’ve been working on this one for a long time. I have lots of variations….I’m not sure the pattern is completely worked out yet, though. I may rework it sometime in the future.

forties flora


February 14, 2008

Happy valentine’s day, and happy birthday Uncle Jerry!

mum bouquet


February 7, 2008

Berries, cherries, trees, whatever.