We are pleased to announce Kate McKenna as our SPDG Featured Artist this month. Kate is a fine art photographer and textile designer. She works with her own photographs to create textile designs printed on silk. She sells small edition collections of silk garments. She's passionate about what she describes as the magic of refashioning photographic images into sensual moving wearable art. Here she is modeling one of her beautiful scarf designs. Kate just launched her new website www.katemckennadesign.com where she sells her custom designed clothing. You can read our special featured member interview with Kate here and check out her member profile here.
Amongst our newer members is Carlyn Clark. Just about now she's completing #The 100DayProject. We asked her to tell us about it.
Q: When we visited your instagram, we noticed that you're in the midst of #the100dayproject. Can you begin by telling us a little bit about what that is?
A: #The100DayProject is the brainchild of artist/designer/writer Elle Luna of The Great Discontent. It launched on April 6, 2015, but anyone can jump in at any point. Elle describes it as “a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For The 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.”
I read that description and knew it was something I needed to do for two reasons. First, I have a poor track record of sticking to anything for a long period of time. I always have the best intentions, but then something new pops up and I wander off in a new direction. Secondly, I wanted to get in the habit of working quickly on vector patterns by finishing a pattern a day without getting lost trying to achieve perfection. I decided to give it a go, and to publicly share the process each day so that if I missed a day it would be noticed and I’d feel guilty about not following through.
Q: You've chosen to fulfill your 100 days by making digital designs which use only one motif in 100 ways. What did you have in mind as you created your motif?
A: Absolutely nothing! Last year, I decided to learn Illustrator. After 10+ years happily using Photoshop and a few terrifying attempts trying to use the pen tool in Illustrator, I really didn’t see the point, until I happened upon “recolor artwork.” I was hooked. I wanted to bring everything I’d ever made in Photoshop into Illustrator and recolor it. This motif was one of the first things I made. I had no end result in mind, I was just trying to figure out how to make shapes.
Once I had two simple shapes I figured out how to use the rotate, reflect and scale tools. And then discovered alt>shift> drag. So I flipped, scaled, rotated and copied. It ended up like this.
I was interested in how layering and overlapping the shapes created something that didn’t look much like the original two shapes. I didn’t think much of it, stuck it in a file, and didn’t expect I’d ever do anything with it.
Q: You're a bit past the 3/4 point in your 100 days. Have you learned anything about your process as an artist in this time?
A: I’ve learned a lot!!! I struggle with staying loose through the entire art making process, whether it’s painting or drafting patterns on the computer. My work starts out being very free and expressive, but as soon as I think I know where I want it to go it starts getting tight.
I have a quote taped up above my workspace: "Ms. Gilot clearly was a competent painter, but whereas, with Picasso, it seems that every painting is an adventure, every mark or stroke the registration of a thought or impulse in real time, her works resemble dutifully completed assignments for a class in how to paint like Picasso."
Please don’t think I compare myself in any way to Francoise Gilot! But when I read those words I felt like they described my work practice a bit more truly than I’d like - “dutifully completing assignments.”
So, my primary intention for this project was to develop a daily practice of creating work that I didn’t hover over and work to death. My favorite part of making art, when it’s a good day, is the magic that appears on the canvas, kind of like a gift. Every day in the studio is your birthday, you never know what’s going to appear.
Q: The little motif that is on this journey with you was created in Adobe Illustrator, in a effort to learn more about that software. Any favorite tools so far? Have you discovered a tool in AI that has particularly surprised or delighted you?
A: These days I work almost exclusively in Illustrator. Any frustrations I had about not being able to do things “the Photoshop way” were pretty well overcome when I discovered the Astute Graphics plug-ins. Mirror Me is a great way to do quick sketches and generate ideas. The Smart Remove Brush is great for cleaning up sketches you’ve scanned and imported. And Dynamic Sketch is a much more intuitive way to draw in Illustrator.
Q: Describe for us a few of the ways that you've manipulated your motif so far.
A: I started out in the simplest way possible and just put it in a half drop repeat. This is still one of my favorites.
When I discovered the Mirror Me tool from Astute Graphics I was able to get much more intricate.
I played around with gradients and explored creating a sense of glowing light.
I also experimented with different methods of creating the appearance of texture.
Q: In your instagram, we notice that besides using Illustrator and Photoshop, you paint and use encaustic. What other mediums do you employ and enjoy in the course of creating your designs? How does your 100 day process relate to the ways you explore these other materials?
A: That list is long and always changing! At the moment I’m in the midst of figuring out how to dye with indigo. It’s a magical process and I’ve even planted indigo in my yard. Yesterday was my third harvest of the season. I’m studying Shibori techniques and have photographed my dyed pieces and printed them on fabric for cushions, drapes and lampshades.
After taking a couple of classes to learn encaustic techniques, I’m in the process of reconfiguring my workspace to set up a hot plate and take that further.
And I’ve always got some knitting, embroidery or stitching project in work. My processes are intertwined. I find myself trying to recreate a texture in Illustrator that I happened upon in knitting project. And I photograph my encaustic paintings and manipulate them on the computer.
Q: What inspirations have come into play with your #the100dayproject?
A: In addition to trying to get looser in my process, I wanted to to use this project as a daily practice that I could blog about. As much as I love social media and meeting people online from around the world it can be difficult to really get to know someone in the few words that social media allows. I wanted to use my blog to increase those connections, and tell the story behind my work. I thought this project would be a good vehicle to get into a habit of daily posting on my blog.
In April, when the project began, the monthly theme on Patternmash was Azulejo. As I looked into those tile traditions I fell in love! In the beginning I did quite a bit of research on both the history and traditions of Azulejo tile work. I decided to name each pattern after a Portuguese city and poured over images of the cities in search of design elements. They were easy to find - in tile work, architectural details, pottery, etc. This pattern was inspired
by the town of Ferro, Portugal and a tile mural found on an
abandoned rail station there. I didn’t want to be literal, I just
wanted to express a sense of the design aesthetic.
A big thanks to Carlyn for agreeing to share her journey with us!
And congratulations upon completing the project!
For more of Carlyn's #The 100Day Project, visit her blog.
We're so excited to announce our first SPDG sponsored art workshop on July 11th, 2015 at the Finnish Hall!
We're happy to have master shibori textile artist, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, offering a shibori clamp dyeing workshop in our Finnish Hall meeting place on July 11th from 10:00-4:00.
If you're not familiar with this textile dyeing technique, watch this short video clip:
Itajime Shibori technique
Here is some information about our guest instructor:
Ana Lisa’s signature shibori textiles are included in the collections of the Cooper Hewitt, The Museum of Art and Design, the De Young Museum, the Oakland Museum, and the Racine Museum. She has completed public art commissions for the Emeryville Ca. city hall and the American Embassy in Brunei. Teaching engagements include SF State University , CCA , and numerous international conferences and summer art programs.
Her awards include NEA grants and she is a fellow of The American Craft Council. You can see more of her work on her website analisahedstrom.com
Details about the event:
We have space for 8 people (SPDG members only). We will be accepting enrollment on a first come first served basis. But don't worry if you don't get signed up in time, if we have enough interest we will offer the workshop again.
How to sign Up: Add a comment in the comments section below saying you'd like to attend.
Fee: $90 (this class fee includes tools and materials provided by the instructor). We are accepting check payments at the event.
Date and Time: July 11 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Materials: The instructor will be supplying most of the items needed. She requests that attendees bring with them scissors, measuring tape, rubber gloves, dust mask and 2" to 4" C clamps if you have them. And if you'd like to bring your own fabric, Ana Lisa recommends white or pale colored natural fiber fabrics...light or medium weight works best. We will need a few extra irons and ironing boards, so if anyone would be willing to bring those from home please do.
We suggest wearing casual clothes you don't mind getting dirty. And bring a lunch and a snack so you don't get too hungry during the day.
For our members who won't be able to come to the workshop, Ana Lisa has recently published her own instructional video series. The information we'll be learning from her workshop and much more can be found in this DVD. She's offering SPDG members a $12 discount on this DVD. If you're interested in purchasing, please email email@example.com
If surface pattern designers come in all stripes, Miriam Dym may just be this stripiest of us all. Miriam comes from the fine art world, but says that her current project is moving "out of art, and in[to] interior decoration." One of the interviewers in the video muses that Miriam may be a "business woman with bad art habits." In response Miriam quips "or radically out there as a conceptual artist, and deep deep undercover." Watch the video for more on Miriam's ideas about commercialism, and art making. Or simply click on the image below to be linked to the video.
The video was produced by Gorky's Grandaughter, a documentary art project, the brainchild of Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy. They visit artists in their studios, and interview them.
If you're looking for a new way to generate a color palette, you may want to give Coolors a try. Coolors has two methods with which to discover color. Browse allows you to explore the color palettes others have created. The Generate tool helps you pull together a custom palette. Choose one or more of the five colors offered, by clicking on them. The color you selected is now locked in place. Hit the space bar and new colors will appear in the unlocked areas. Change your mind about a color? Just click to unlock it. Once you have a palette you like, you may tag and save it. Then simply hover over each color to find codes for HSB, RGB, CMYK and PMS. You're ready to apply your palette to your designs.
Guild member Sarah York was featured on tractorgirl.au this week.
Julie Gibbons is the girl behind tractorgirl.au, a website that focuses on the visual side of your creative business. She offers insight on branding tips, small biz how-to, and design and making how-tos. This is a blog well worth checking out.
See more about Sarah, and her beautiful work at her website sarahyorkdesigns.com.
And then there's us, the Guild!
We can't believe we didn't notice this sooner. Back in September Swiss surface pattern designer Simona Cellar called us out as one of her Top 10 blogs about surface pattern design! The Surface Pattern Design Guild is right there in the mix with Pattern Observer, Uppercase Magazine, Make It In Design, and more! Wow! A big thank you to Simona!
Do you have surface
pattern design related news, information, or tips to share? We want to hear from you!