Archive for the ‘nature’ Category


May 31, 2008


May 29, 2008

Some mushroomish shapes, inspired by a painting that hung in our house when I was a kid. My mom has it now.

mushroom caps

mushroom caps 2


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 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.

5.21.08 Manhattan museums

May 21, 2008

Today was our free day in NYC. We started out with bagels (and that puffy roll I had been obsessing about) at Palca’s, then took the train into the city. We decided to go up the west side of the park because I was remembering that the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum was up there, and of course had forgotten to check the address while I still had internet access. We accidentally got onto an A express train and ended up at 125th Street, got immediately back on a C Local going south, and eventually made it to 96th Street, only to find out that the Cooper-Hewitt was on the east side of the park with all the other museums.

Ted had been wanting to walk through the park anyway, and it was a gorgeous day, so we walked through to the east side and ended up right at 91st and literally in the backyard of the Cooper. We went in the back entrance to the museum into the courtyard, where artsy people were sitting at cafe tables in the sun and kids were playing on the wide green lawn. It was quite idyllic, and a nice contrast to our late afternoon experience at the MOMA, which was much more of what I expected of a NYC museum experience.

The Cooper-Hewitt had a few exhibitions: Rococo: The Continuing Curve, Campana Brothers Select, a selection of pieces from the permanent collection by Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana, and Multiple Choice: From Sample to Product, which showed sample books from various industries and countries. Each of the exhibits gave me design and pattern ideas, especially the Campana brothers’ choices. I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that humans have always made art, even in the most impossible circumstances, and with the most unlikely materials. There were incredible examples of jewelry created from dyed horsehair and human hair (ca. 1830), incredible prints, and beautiful intricate wallpapers made from hand-cut paper.

I love the insect prints in particular, done in 1927 by a French etymologist named Emile-Alain Séguy. They were so beautifully designed…and the guy was trained as a scientist, not an artist! I’ve wanted to do an insect pattern for years, so maybe this will motivate me to try one. I saw some other wonderful insect illustrations in a Dwell magazine years ago, and have been trying to find that issue ever since. I can’t remember the illustrator’s name, but the drawings were abstract and lovely.

The rococo exhibit was interesting…rococo is not really my favorite style, but the discussion of how it influenced various design aesthetics was instructive. I most liked the modern pieces that were inspired by the rococo style, and there was one quote from the show that stuck with me. Here it is:

William Hogarth’s 1753 work Analysis of Beauty codified twenty years of rococo design by espousing the S-curve as the “line of beauty.”

I’ve had curves on the mind lately, as I’ve been using rounded-edge boxes for my VF materials, including the Surtex booth. There is a certain gentle beauty to a curve that a hard edge can’t convey. Curves are sometimes described as feminine, although I feel like they are more organic than specifically feminine.


May 19, 2008

Another Holiday design….more formal than usual.

formal mistletoe


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 17, 2008

Some nice leaves.

5.16.08 – Brooklyn

May 16, 2008


Day two in Brooklyn has been rainy and dreary. We had an unfortunate surprise when we discovered that our Manhattan lodging (which we had arranged through Craigslist months ago and paid a $400 deposit) was apparently a scam. We called and emailed the guy to set up a time for him to give us the key to his place, but he never returned our messages. Turns out there’s a guy in the UK who also pre-paid for this particular apartment, and he was also scammed out of the deposit. So, live and learn….that’s our first truly negative Craigslist transaction. Hopefully we will be able to track down “Lucas Bailey” and at least put an end to his good Paypal standing. So we spent about half the day trying to find new lodging in Manhattan, where we would be close to the Javits Center, but to no avail. The only places available were way out of our price range, and there were precious few places even available. Fortunately, Frances, our B & B proprietress, had a cancellation and was able to give us a room for the rest of our trip. It’s not close to Javits, but it’s affordable, comfortable and now we know the neighborhood.

For dinner we went to a little place called Sam’s. I’ll post some pics if I can figure out how to do it. It was a stereotypical family Italian restaurant, with Louie the owner taking our order (a large pie, as he wrote on our ticket before we even ordered anything) and the brother-in-law bringing out the pizza. It was a throwback to another time, and delicious.


May 11, 2008

burning bush


May 10, 2008

leaves outlined

leaves green outline

leaves transparent


May 9, 2008

eat your veggies


May 4, 2008

This pattern is for one of my design clients, Free World Foods, which is an up-and-coming allergen-free/gluten-free food manufacturer. Like how I convinced them to use a pattern for their packaging and identity materials?

free world pattern


May 3, 2008

The eyes have it today.

blue eyes brown

sea of eyeballs


5.2.08 Mouths and mudcloth

May 2, 2008

I’ve been thinking about body parts as patterns, don’t ask me why. Maybe because of all the family health issues I’ve been confronted with lately. Here are some mouths and teeth. The last one, Vertical Teeth, reminded me a bit of African mudcloth, which prompted me to research mudcloth, and I found this nice link to a Smithsonian Institution website which allows you to virtually paint your own piece of cloth. It’s cleverly done. After looking it up, I realized that the Vertical Teeth pattern actually looks nothing like mudcloth, but it was enough of a connection to get me thinking about it. I will try to do a contemporary mudcloth-inspired pattern in the next few days.

mostly happy

horizontal teeth

4.30.08 Cabbages and Kings

April 30, 2008

“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

This stanza of the very long Lewis Carroll poem “The Walrus and the Carpenter” was recited pretty frequently in my household when I was growing up. Every time someone would say “the time has come,” someone else, usually my mother, would launch into the rest of the lines. To this day I can’t hear that phrase without automatically thinking of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings. I do know now that it’s “sealing wax,” rather than “ceiling wax.”

Something else I’ve retained from childhood is my fascination with the amazing patterns found in nature: the subdivided segments of a lime, the organized seeds of a pomegranate, the undulating layers of a cabbage. Hence today’s pattern, inspired by a cabbage recently halved and turned into fish tacos by my husband, who is the chef of the household.

Unfortunately, I drew the sketch for my cabbage from memory, and now that I see the photo, I realize that I could have done a much better sketch. Oh well, maybe another day. Or maybe I’ll make my peace with the fact that this is an interpretive endeavor. Without further ado….

A few interpretations of yes, cabbages.

falling cabbage

falling cabbage reversed

red cabbage


April 27, 2008


April 26, 2008


April 25, 2008


April 24, 2008