I recently became inspired by a Fall/Winter 2015 trend report on StyleSight.com featuring prints that use simple black line-drawn symbols as design motifs. It reminded me of the fun show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from way back in 1997 called Wordrobe that featured garments throughout history whose designs incorporated words and letters. As the exhibit showed, taking common symbols that are normally used for practical communication, and creating a design element with them is not a new idea – as I found out again when I came across a great image from Bauhaus Textiles of patterns created with typewriter keys from 1932.
I thought of all the symbols used in the needle arts and I started poking around my library of embroidery and knitting books. The symbols used in 19th century whitework embroidery caught my eye. Taken alone, they have clean direct lines, but arranged all those symbols together in a floral motif, and they create a very different effect. And, if you take those same symbols and arrange them in a completely different way, the look can be very modern.
I’m still waiting for my sunflowers to bloom, but in anticipation – and as an inevitable follow up to my sunflower seeds design – I created a sunflower design for the home.
I was inspired by my sister’s garden where she has a carpet of zinnias blooming under a profusion of tall sunflowers growing behind them.
I love the combination of the bold yellow sunflowers with the colorful scattering of zinnias among the green leaves.
My garden upstate usually blooms about a week or two after my sister’s on eastern Long Island, so I probably won’t have any zinnia or sunflowers blooming this weekend, but my dahlias are starting to pop open!
It’s been a busy season, Mark and I have been working, flowers have been blooming, vegetables are growing, bugs are buzzing.
I’ve also seemed to have a acquired a fascination with mushrooms. Now that the lazier days of summer are here, I definitely see a mushroom project in my future.
Last summer’s seeds from my sunflowers
A mix of watercolors
A dash of Mad Men
Blend carefully in Photoshop
My favorite farmers’ market opened for the season this past weekend! Because of Eddie Izzard tickets, a belated Mother’s Day celebration and work, we were not upstate for the opening, but I’m really looking forward to another season of the Barryville Farmers’ Market. In honor of my favorite greenmarket, I created a couple of posters for an assignment for my SVA illustration class taught by the wonderful illustrator Melanie Parks.
The illustrations are watercolor and I used Prismacolor pencils for the typography, with some help from Phtotoshop. I wanted to evoke the charm our small market along with the range of delicious fresh food that is available there.
I can’t wait to go up this weekend and stock up with farmers’ market goodies for the long Memorial Day weekend. I definitely see some grilling happening at the cottage… although, maybe not chicken.
This past weekend Mark and I were in Washington DC where the weather was so gorgeous, my friend and host, Emily, packed up her two little boys and the five of us headed out to the National Arboretum. We wandered around the Capital Columns, a rather strange, but beautiful landmark that made me feel like I was in a Star Trek episode where the crew has beamed down to a bucolic classical civilization. After the boys rolled around in the grass for a bit, Emily headed back home to take them to a sleepover and Mark and I went off to explore the rest of the gardens. To get out of the sun for a bit, we ducked into the Bonsai and Penjing Collection, and we suddenly found ourselves in an incredible world of intricate miniature trees. They were amazing, I’d had no idea that this is what Bonsai really are, certainly nothing like their poor step-cousins that you can find in Chinatown or the Flower District.
I’m still in awe.
We had a great time in DC. Lots of great food, relaxing and catching up with friends.
Oh right, I also ran my half marathon.
Introducing Lulu, a very stylish bunny.
She and her wardrobe (and work) have been keeping me busy for the past few weeks. She came from the pattern by Julie Williams, called “Bunny Girl in Dotty Dress” and is headed to a silent auction fundraiser for The Casey Young Foundation on April 5th.
She was a lot of fun to knit and only a deadline stopped me from knitting more dresses from her dress pattern collection, “Seasonal Dresses” .
Every bunny needs a place to store her dresses and a cozy spot to rest between tea parties. Lulu has a custom painted wooden box lined with original printed fabric.
Lulu and her fabulous wardrobe can be yours!
On Saturday, April 5th, she will be up for a silent auction at a wonderful event in Brooklyn, NY to raise money for “The Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program”. You can purchase tickets for the event here.
I hope you can make it to the fun event, and good luck with the bidding!
I couldn’t resist creating a design for Spoonflower’s latest Design of the Week contest, “Bedtime”. I have a rather checkered history with sleep – I’ve watched more than my share of infomercials, long-syndicated tv shows and forgotten movies while the rest of the world is dreaming – so my motif came to me pretty quickly.
As it turns out, I was not the only designer who used sheep in my design entry, there must be a lot of insomniacs out there. Although there are several sheep designs, it’s interesting to see how different each one is and to see what other designers are doing on Spoonflower.
To vote for my design, or any others that you like, go to Spoonflower.com and find my design “Counting Sheep”.
The winner will be announced next Thursday afternoon.
I’m off to take a nap.
Neither snow nor rain nor icy slush kept my hardy mailman from delivering a much anticipated package yesterday – my seeds! During the winteriest weeks of February, I’ve been happily planning out my garden for the spring. Although I had planned to keep things simple this year and concentrate on growing tried and true vegetables and flowers, I ended up getting a little carried away picking out flower seeds.
I got most of my flower seeds from Botanical Interests and my vegetable seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds. I also splurged a little and ordered some fabulous looking dahlia bulbs from Eden Brothers. I’ve been starting my dahlias from seed, but I can only find the more gaudy, showy flowers as bulbs and with a name like “Bora Bora”, how could I resist.
All this planning for Spring and warmth and flowers had me inspired. I went back to a photo I took of my seedlings a couple of years ago that I’ve always loved and have wanted to work into a design.
This design has turned out to be one of my favorites. The touches of green and celadon hint at the promise of spring among the brown tones and blue highlights. It has a fun but sophisticated look.
The groundhog has predicted six more weeks of winter and this would be the perfect print to liven up my tired winter wardrobe. A fresh print on anything but wool would be fabulous right now.