pattern hunt

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When hunting for patterns in my surroundings, my eyes were captivated by the geometry of this brick path. A decorative path that goes to nowhere in particular, I pondered on the intricacies of the way its pattern curves around although its structural lines are completely straight. An interesting pattern that I could explore every crack and crevice of – but had I not hunted for a pattern today, it would never occurred to me to step off my walking path and find the curious spaces in between. This was a great exercise to compel me to slow down from my daily tasks and experience simple joy in a simple moment, spurred on by such a simple thing.

“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

 

This is a response to a photographic prompt from Susannah Conways #august break project

Jasmine Watson

I am a lover of the geometric shapes, symmetry and intricacies that New Zealander Jasmine Watson’s work portrays.  She utilises repeating patterns in a graceful and ornamental symmetry that remind me of my grandmother’s intricate and delicate crochet lace work.  Already a trained and experienced jeweller Watson set out to learn the rare and complex technique of enamelling.  The featured works in her 2011 exhibition ‘Subsequence’ are her renowned enamel brooches where she has utilised this ancient technique of hand-made enamel jewellery that has stylised her work and won her many awards.

My work is inspired by ornamental patterns and complex detail based on mathematical principles. I am interested in geometry and tessellations; interlocking shapes that can assemble into elaborate ornamental sequences, repeating to infinity – Watson, J

Many things inspire me about Watson’s work; her use of intricate eastern/western inspired pattern, geometric arrangements and shapes (especially the circle), harmonious colours,  and the great craftsmanship that she displays.  Included in exhibited works, nationally and internationally, Watson also features her drawings as they themselves are works of art, and are an integral part of her creative process of her enamel works.  Using watercolour and pencil she is able to elaborate on the different stages in her design development – a strategy that I would like to experiment with in my own art practice to incorporate colour in the otherwise grey sketches. Maybe this will encourage me to draw more.

Many people know Watson for the elaborate jewellery designs that she created for the motion pictures  ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.  An incredibly talented artisan!

References:

Images and content retrieved on the 11th March 2014 from:

http://www.objectspace.org.nz/Exhibitions/Detail/Jasmine+Watson:+Subsequence

http://www.fingers.co.nz/exhibitors/jasmine_watson.htm

http://www.royaljewellerystudio.com/artists.php?selectedArtist=wat

Exploring Brushstrokes

Nouveau Bird

This painting was inspired by street artist L7m and Gustav Klimt, whom I discovered in the late stages of this recent project as an artist who I feel an affinity towards. This has led me to wanting to explore of Art Nouveau and hopefully the next brief will allow me to delve into it further, as I feel a great interest has risen from it, causing me to see other possibilities in my artistic direction. I became really engaged with working in patterns and shapes, and felt more at home with this painting than any of the previous works.

Does God Play Dice?

‘God does not play dice with the Universe’ – Albert Einstein

I utterly agree with Einstein.  Although, what does create the mysterious and deliberate patterns of the Universe. Being immersed in this project brief titled ‘Pattern Universe’ for nearly four weeks now, I have been learning about the wonders of pattern in everything we are surrounded by, especially in Nature itself. I have come to the understanding that patterns can be observed throughout the entire universe, and are evident of the underlying order, structure and connectedness of all things. It’s a phenomenon that artists, scientists and mathematicians have been exploring for centuries. It is undeniable that nature has been made with in-built rules, and in order to to understand life, we need to find out these rules. Patterns are the insight to them. Now if God was to play dice, there would be no pattern (so to speak) nor any consistency in what we observe and perceive, rather it would be a random, chaotic gamble.  Even the seemingly chaotic structures and forms in the universe, contains rules. Lets consider the Fibonacci Sequence that displays a mathematical regularity in nature, one that is easily seen and is everywhere. The numbers in nature help us to discover order and pattern in the universe.  Then we can consider Fractal Geometry founded in 1975, to gain insight into the patterns of irregular shapes we find in nature, as nature does not display classical uniform shapes.

‘Fractal shapes were being expressed intuitively by artists long before they were recognised by science’ Edney 2000

The Fibonacci numbers and Fractals all provide us with an endless source of inspiration and wonderment. In history fractals have been found in decorative patterns in art, architecture and religious symbols and ancient traditions including Islamic, Celtic, Roman, Egyptian, Aztec, Inca and Mayan civilisations.  I have drawn inspiration from patterns in nature for my Project and these musings have led me to the outcome that I have created.

References:

Edney, R., Lesmoir-Gordon, N., Rood, W. (2000). Introducing Fractal Geometry. Cambridge, England: Icon Books Ltd.

Lecture Notes, Webster, J. (2013) ‘Pattern Universe’.

Sci. (2013). Top Ten Albert Einstein Quotes. Retrieved May 29, 2013, from Famous Scientists and Discoveries: http://science.discovery.com/famous-scientists-discoveries/10-albert-einstein-quotes.htm

 

Stewart, I. (2001). What shape is a snowflake? : Magical Numbers in Nature. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Screen printing: An exploration

Once I had my pattern outcome decided upon, I set to the task of screen printing it. I immersed myself into two solid days of experimenting with colours, textures, surfaces and layering of ink. I wanted to use colours that would compliment my final outcome (which I haven’t revealed yet of course), so I stayed with medium and light tones in aqua green and blue, violet and raspberry. I intended to always layer two tones on top of each other, to give a more interesting and complex design and visual effect – and it resulted in a shadow effect having the appearance of the ink hovering above the surface. I experimented mis-matching the layers which although made for an even more complex design, but I preferred the above stated effect, so I stuck to the original plan to off set the top layer in a different shade of colour. I could have spent days playing with different papers and images to print onto, but I needed to step into the next stage of the creative process, by printing finally onto fabric.  I chose vintage woolen blanket scraps to print onto, because I am a lover of textiles and fibre art. Recently I wrote about The Indie Craft Movement, and expressed how inspired I was by the many contemporary artists and designers who use old school crafting techniques and materials in the modern context to express themselves artistically.  I decided then that I would like to explore this approach in my own practice, and this project brief was the suitable place to do so. These are a few pictures of my samples, that were not so striking in colour. The other prints that were a success have now evolved into the final outcome, which I will post next!

An Artful Life: Kahori Maki

Born in Japan 1961, Kahori Maki is an acclaimed artist/designer, having produced many works in various disciplines including illustration, installation, painting, graphic design, and object design.  Working as an active freelancer since 1994, Maki has collaborated with leading brands and companies such as Designworks, Shiseido, Levi’s and McDonalds.

In addition, Maki has been working on Solo exhibitions and her works have featured in numerous fashion and design magazines.  Her un-mistaking recognisable style is seen extensively in posters, commercial advertising, window displays, interior walls of buildings, fashion shoot back drops, textile prints and even on cars. This month, Maki’s work covered the walls of an entire warehouse for an audio-visual event in Brooklyn.

Maki’s stylised imagery, regardless of where she features it, is striking and tends to provoke mystery with its edgy, dark, fluid and organic forms. Her designs depict nature in its beautiful power and seductiveness, portraying the exotic and the eerie.  Maki’s designs are always nature inspired, but her signature monochromatic illustrations are far from traditional depictions of nature.

(Maki is) one of the first fashion illustrators to identify the dramatic impact of the natural forms through dark monochromes rather than the more traditional soft pastels

Furthermore, Maki juxtaposes her work by placing it in the extreme urban environment or context – factoring in her philosophical concept of how urban life is deficient of nature.  A concept marvellously complimented by the surreal and dark moody nature of her work, portraying her deep connection to the less desired aspects of nature.

I am not afraid of looking into the shadows and shedding light on the beautiful creatures that live in the twilight worlds

Maki talks about connecting the aspects of nature to a part of the human soul, and I interpret her work as an expression of the depth and mystery contained therein. I find myself also connecting this quote above to the human soul, and what may lay within the darkest corners. I too, am not afraid of looking into the shadows of my own soul and shedding light on what may be there. What beauty and treasures are still yet to be discovered?

Finally, I am inspired by Maki’s love of nature and the darkness of it that some may find oppressive or grotesque. Many of her works convey to me the idea of portals into other worlds. She expresses the melancholic with such elegance; one cannot help but be allured into the realms of swirling, meandering lines and forms.

The work of Maki has influenced my current project significantly. I have drawn upon her concept of combining animal and insect life with fauna and flora, and placed the bold outlines of them in a perfectly random occurring pattern.  This research has led me to have confidence in taking an organic and bold approach to pattern, and I have explored and developed numerous possibilities for an outcome in this brief, of which I hope to experiment with further in the future. For the mean time, lets see how my project for ‘Pattern Universe’ has developed.

Watch this space.

References:

IdN. Wayfinding+Signage: Kahori Maki. IdN , v17 (n5), 56-57.

Maki, K. (2010). Works. Retrieved May 28, 2013, from Kahori Maki: http://www.k-maki.com/

Quinn, B. (2009). Textile Designers: At the Cutting Edge. London, UK: Lawrence King Publishing.

An Artful Life: Hanna Werning

Born in Sweden in 1973, Hanna Werning is an inspiring and extremely accomplished artist and designer. This London trained graphic designer, independently designs and manufactures products and art works for her own company Spring Street Studio in Stockholm, and also creates commissioned works for many leading companies such as IKEA, Eastpak, Stussy, Anna Sui and House of Dagmar. Her disciplines include communication design, graphic design, product design, visual arts and illustration.  Werning exhibits in many cities and countries including Berlin, Tokyo, Brooklyn, Italy, London, and her hometown Stockholm. Werning’s designs are seen globally on textiles, greeting cards, wallpapers, logos and company identity graphics, stationary, dinnerware, mugs, home furnishings and décor.

In addition to pattern, the constant source of inspiration for Werning is obviously nature: landscape, fauna and flora, animals and insects alike are depicted on her textile prints and wallpaper designs in unexpected juxtapositions. Having grown up in the forest she believes that motifs featuring nature will always be a design trend.

The work of Werning is incredibly broad and throughout researching her work, I have observed an obvious fascination for pattern, nature inspired images with a bold use of colour.  The result of which tends to a natural flair for designing prints and ornamentation on a wide range of products including fashion and home decor, inspiring me to look towards a possible similar vision in my work in the future.  Werning also features her work in sculpture, installation art and performance, making her a well-rounded and very capable practitioner in many realms of art and design. Such success is admirable and inspiring.

What further resonates with me is Werning’s philosophy behind her designs and how the world that she lives in, reflect them.  She says…

To me, the world is like a big patchwork of different cultures, and sometimes I see my own work as a big visual collage or like the sound of a DJ sampling her own rhythms with others’. (Quinn, 2009).p.92.

I admire artists and designers who have a deep connection to them-selves and the world around them. It touches my needs as a humanitarian and philosopher. When connecting this research to the current project I am developing, I am mindful that a motivating force driving me in my idea is my enquiring mind. Not only to consider the cause of nature’s patterns for myself, but to also provoke those thoughts in others.

References

Dwell. (2004-2013). Dwell: People: Hanna Werning. Retrieved May 27, 2013, from Dwell: At Home in the Modern World: http://www.dwell.com/people/hanna-werning

Quinn, B. (2009). Textile Designers: At the Cutting Edge. London, UK: Lawrence King Publishing.

Werning, H. (2001-2013). Work by Hanna Werning. Retrieved May 19, 2013, from Work by Hanna Werning: http://www.byhanna.com