Saturday, 22 January 2011

And repeat...

I've had a fascination with repeat patterns for as long as I can remember. I know that sounds like a really pretentious, designery thing to say, but it's true.

As a child I used to spend hours 'helping' my Nan with her quilting, and it gave me an early appreciation for tessellation, as well as the gorgeous repeat pattern designs seen in the fabrics she was using, often remnants from old skirts and dresses.

Later in life I discovered Hannah Werning's gorgeous repeat pattern fabric/wallpaper designs, and fell in love with the concept all over again.

I toyed with the idea during a couple of uni projects, most notably during my attempt at rebranding the Royal Mail, and my entry for London Transport's competition to design new fabric for tube train seats. (Oh yeah, just in case you were wondering about that... I didn't win)

But truth be told... I never really knew how to do it. Repeating patterns are actually remarkably difficult to get right, especially if you have no idea about the correct technique. So it was with great delight that I stumbled across this tutorial yesterday, by the wonderful Julia Rothman. (I got there via this excellent interview with her, featured on Grain Edit)

I'm actually quite reluctant to share it, because it's so incredibly simple, and I know that there are far more talented souls than I who read this blog and will take that idea and run with it - run far further than I ever could!

But nonetheless, I settled down this evening with some fresh white paper and my favourite black marker pen and proceeded to aimlessly doodle. I'm not even sure I like it that much, but once I'd got the desired image, I scanned it in and set to work on it.

So here is my original drawing...

And here it is repeating. Ok, so it's not perfect, but this was my first go, alright!

Here's a simple colour scheme...

And a variation on that.

And you know what? I actually think it's better on a 45 degree angle, but I'm not sure if that renders it no longer a repeating pattern. (Click the image to make it big... it looks better that way!)

Anyway, after all that, I'm not actually even sure I like the pattern very much, but for a first attempt it's not bad. I'm not expecting Habitat to come beating down my door asking me to design a range of Charleston cushion covers though.*

*Habitat... if you would like me to design a range of Charleston cushion covers, I'd be totally up for it.

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