Berry, Foliage and Flower Patterns

I moved on today to some berry patterns, using just the berries and related foliage here. I did make a point of separating these for the sake of creating these mini collections but once I do a proper hero design I will then work from there and perhaps combine some of the berry and mushrooms and things like that.

These show some quite busy designs that I would maybe call heroes or busy secondaries, I found with these that having a kind of half drop motif throughout it catches the eye but all the smaller ones helps to distract from this. The top one too with the colours on the background is interesting as it means I do not have to have a solid colour in the background.

These I would say are the busier kind of blenders on such a large scale or secondaries. I actually really like the colours against the white background and I think both of them work well together. The other one looks maybe a little muted but the colours do look nice together.

These I would say are much more blender feeling, although I think the scale of these could be put down an awful lot to make them a lot smaller. I reused the two right hand patterns and just made them more simple, I think the top one works well and the bottom one is nice but I think I prefer it with the dots as welll. The instant response I got from the left hand ones were ‘Jellybeans’, so I do not think this translated well, especially in that size, maybe if they were smaller scale they would look different but I think the more random dot designs I have done work nicely.

I tried some designs based on some of the foliage motifs I had started to create. The first image I think shows some nice examples in the left hand ones, I like the scale of these as well. The next photo shows some more blender or secondary type designs, which I think work but do not excite me very much.

I had this idea for blenders at around 5am when I woke up in the awful heat, just alternating the size of the dots for a more interesting dot effect. I think the three colourways work well too and I think these could work well with the hero kind of designs so I am happy with these.

Lastly today I tried some flower designs, I did not expect great thing from these by themselves as I struggled with the aromatherapy contest in this way. I think overall the dark experiments actually turned out a lot better, which is weird as I do not use a great deal of dark backgrounds in my work. I think the light green one (which looks a little light blue in the yellow lit room I took the picture in) looks almost christmassy, which is definitely something that I want to avoid. I think the white flowers are interesting and both colourways work well, but I am not sure how these fit in with the rest of the collection, so this is something I would have to check while I am picking the final kind of results.

Making the Mushrooms into Patterns

I began working with the mushrooms and found that they were very fun to work with and I kept just finding other ideas to work with. I explored texture with the mushrooms, particularly the kind of weird uneven patterns on the top, and some that were spotted, and this was something I knew I wanted to work more with this.

I wanted to make these quite bright and fun patterns and experimented a lot with scales and colourways, backing textures and motif sizes. I had a lot of fun with these and just carried on finding new little things to do and I wanted to give myself a lot of choice because these will probably only represent one or two patterns out of the whole 30 part collection. Although like my Spoonflower collections, I only need to make one pattern but giving myself that little challenge of going further and creating a whole little set from it is good practice for me. I also want to set a lot of time apart to edit my collection and really decide what I want for the best possible combination and representation of my work.

I also created a set of blenders, using the textures that I was taking from the mushrooms in a number of different colourways and combinations within this. I quite enjoyed doing these too as I think they do look pretty and I could picture them working well with other designs.

Finally I printed these out to check the colours because my laptop looks so so different than printed or even my ipad. I think this is important to make sure I like the colours. I considered that my greens are a little bright, but I know I also liked muted colours, and I have been surprising myself lately with brighter colours and how much I actually like them.

I printed them out and had quite the collection here of blenders, secondaries and a couple of possible heroes for the mushrooms. I think it would depend on where I wanted the mushrooms to be represented in the collection as to what kind of pattern I will use from these sets eventually, or whether I develop even more from these.

I wanted to explore colourways a lot and these show a few examples of this, just showing some of the main background colours changing and how they look with each one and seeing how the colours work together. Sometimes I would change the colours of the dots or squiggles too but primarily I used these to add some contrast back into the work too, so a green background pattern with yellow and green mushrooms would have pink dots.

I also experimented with different backgrounds by trying different sizes of dots and squiggles, looking at regular repeats and seeing what these looked like, I do not like the ones with the even repeats behind them as I think they just look textured. I prefer the uneven dots that I add in myself with even pattern, the same with the little squiggles.

Lastly, the main experiment was scale where I went from the actual tile I used to make the seamless repeat, then a large scale repeat and a smaller scale repeat. I think these worked well actually in the different scales. If I had to choose what scale to use to put it on something maybe like a small pencil case I would probably use the middle one for wanting to see the different motifs. But I do think the bottom one would work too as more of a coloured pattern to look busier.

Mushrooms and Berries Motifs

I wanted to start some patterns now, and I thought taking some of the elements that I wanted to play around with as motifs in the animal patterns would be a good place to start, while I slowly draw the more complex dormouse images.

I have been developing my motif style as time as gone on while working on Spoonflower contests, where my style has slowly adapted while I have been learning how to do things in Procreate and make more detailed motifs without them looking too realistic. I also made sure to include a few colours for the motifs because sometimes when in a pattern I found I needed more of a certain colour to balance it out, then realised that I had originally drawn everything in the one colour and it was hard to change. Another thing I have learnt how to do better on Procreate.

My pattern contests can be found here:

Natural Dyeing and Non-Natural Dyeing

As I am working from home and sometimes limited with my choices in fabrics, I wanted to try and dye my own using my garden materials. My garden had been such an influence on my designs that I thought it would be a great idea to try and use the natural materials there to create the dyes. I wanted to create greens especially because I could not really find any berries or anything that would create a pink colour. So I tried a nettle pot, and a grass pot too, which did not really go too well.

The nettle one smelt awful, and even after a good few days I could not really get the colour out of it to make any difference to the fabric, the same happened with the grass, the water got a little coloured but did not impact on the plain linen at all.

I added more nettles and boiled for longer, tried a few things, I was not very precise with the original recipe so this may have had an impact on it. I ordered a dylon packet anyway in a lovely natural colour so I decided to give this a go instead.

The colour produced was quite a natural earthy green which I do like, but also my collection is a little brighter than this so maybe I should have tried a more tropical kind of green too to see the difference, which I think I would have done if I had more time with this project. I did try out some tie dye techniques however to test the idea of the texture into the cloth, and I think I could work with bleach and how it reacts to the newly dyed surface as well.

Flowers Research and Drawing

I cannot believe that I forgot to properly cover flowers in my book, I did a couple of them and then I rearranged my photos, put them safe and forgot about fifty flower photographs that I had tucked away. I decided to start some markmaking and studies from them in my secondary book and explore the shapes and colours from the photographs that I took mostly in my own garden.

I enjoyed the watercolour experiments and playing with shade and contrast, although I think I preferred doing the things like the mushrooms and the berries. I do not think the flowers would be a huge part of the designs, just a small elements of some of them. So I think I am ready to take some ideas forward to Procreate now and see how things work there.

Spoonflower Contest – Aromatherapy

This week’s Spoonflower contest was aromatherapy, I do not know much about aromatherapy besides lavender supposedly helps with calmness and sleep, which is why I buy a lot of things with that scent. While I was researching I learnt more about the different essential oils and uses that can help with a lot of different things. I thought about what kind of smells I like, and started looking a few up, as I did not actually know what a lot of them looked like before they were put into the little oil bottles.

I started noticing quite a lot of flowers and decided maybe this was the way to go, I work with a lot of natural elements like foliage and branches and leaves, but I actually have not done too much with flowers and I do need to practice some because wildflowers are included in my graduate collection in some patterns I think. So I settled on Chamomile, Geranium and Yarrow, as I thought they were the most interesting and fun ones to do. I tried a really busy repeat where the background just wasn’t seen at all but I thought it looked way too much and busy.

So I tried a busy ish one here where there was not a huge amount of background left, but the negative space was used around each motif, and dots used to break it up a little. I also created this secondary design in the blue which was far more simple, I like this one too but I just did not feel the want to carry on creating patterns out of this and I wanted to move back on to my module work. I still feel like I could do more from my ice cream truck contest and I would like to expand this into some related themes too.

Bleaching Leaves on Fabrics

I enjoyed playing around with the leaves and bleaching them onto fabric, I think it worked even better than doing it on paper, more like doing it on tissue paper and removing that colour. I created a dyed green fabric and decided to bleach this back and see if it just removes the colour.

The method for this is to use a SYNTHETIC brush (I learnt my lesson after my natural bristle brush ended up without any bristles left) and paint the back of the leaves using bleach, I have used bleach and a bleach-water mixture, they both seemed to do the same just I think some fabrics could not handle the undiluted bleach. I then printed these leaves onto the dyed fabrics and flattened it with a book to get an even spread. Then removed the leaf and watched it develop. They actually turned quite orange which I did not expect but the effect of it is good.

Structures, sheds and fences research and experiments

I continued in my sketchbook by exploring structures that the animals would encounter, maybe sleep in, along their way. This started with stone walls that I see in the mountains, or some wooden fences with barbed wire that I thought would be encountered regularly. I added annotation about how I thought these experiments went in my book, basically explaining that I could try some patterns with the walls as a stripe but I would like my patterns to remain interesting and pretty with the species in mind when I design all of them. I thought about adding foliage and flowers to the walls or fences to make them prettier too which I think I could take forward and try in Procreate.

The rest of the pages focused on the sheds and buildings and the textures I pulled from them. I think some of these will be interesting to explore more in some markmaking in Procreate, I explained in my annotation why some others I feel like did not work at all for the woodland purpose, such as the corrugated metal sheds.

Natural Felting

I had done a little bit of felting with the wool tops I had, but thought about a more natural colour to try and use. I went for a walk around my field and in the woodlands and managed to find sheep wool on trees and fences, so I collected a ball and brought it home. As this was just a sample to try, I was not too concerned with washing it, I would have to research what to do if I wanted to turn this wool into something that would not smell or be a little dirty from mud or trees.

I did a close up of the wool to show the texture, it obviously gets wet and dries a lot from a sheep and being just out in nature, which is the start of the felting process anyway. But the next step is to pull the wool apart into thin strands and lay it down on some bubble wrap, first doing a layer of it facing one way, then a layer of it on top facing the other way. A horizontal layer and a vertical layer, keep going it depends on what thickness you want the felt to turn out like. I did about three to four layers which will produce a thin sample here, which I thought would work better for producing a nice bonded sample.

This is what it looks like when the layers are stacked up, try and make it into the best kind of shape you want to produce.

Next, add some soapy warm water into a jar or something and pour a little onto the felt, then fold the bubblewrap over on top of it and start rubbing it with circular motions, this will start to bond the layers together and fuse the fibres.

This is a long task, sometimes I will keep going for 15-20 minutes if I want a really well fused piece, if you want more holey results then do it for less time. If you want to try and achieve neat edges, fold all the little straggly bits over using the bubblewrap and rub those edges particularly to fuse those together. I usually then pick it up in my hands and rub it together with my palms, again making sure the edges are sorted.

You then rinse it under cold water, which I learnt ‘shocks’ the felt, and lay it out to dry.

Animal Embroidery Experiments

The main kind of fabric samples I wanted to try were large applique pieces that gave a good sense of detail to the animal faces and textures. I started with the hedgehog, then the hare, then the squirrel and finally the dormouse, and they all turned out looking better than the last one as I managed to get the hang of getting the details in the right places to make it look more realistic.

With the hare, I added wool tops fur into it as I was stitching so it would have a more soft appearance where it actually looks soft and feels it too. I added the squirrel’s tail in the fur as well but did the rest of the body with just a variety of stitches which I think turned out quite well.

I also tried adding some applique to the squirrel piece to create an interesting green overlay of leaves. I used fabric that I had dyed myself too so it was quite a natural colour, but I think I will it had gone a little brighter. The hedgehog was interesting and I added the linework around it, I think these is a nice experiment but I do not really see it going any further than this. I think with the digital printing, the essence of it is to make sure the printed design is how I want it and using the stitch to improve it, not to build it.