I’m right in the middle of a phase when I’m not creating new patterns. The reason is not lack of inspiration or some kind of creativity block - no, my head is bursting with new ideas and I’m actually itching to start designing stuff soon again. There is just a couple of other things that I have to focus on right now, stuff to finish, follow through and get done before I can allow myself to start up a new project (i.e. a new pattern collection).
As you might know I’ve been working hard on my portfolio book(s), since spring actually. It’s coming along now and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Another project I’m working on and that needs to be completed before the next is a new Skillshare class. It’s a new Classic Pattern Design course that I hope you’ll enjoy. The plan is to publish somewhere around the shift between September and October. Most likely beginning of October.
I’m also preparing for something that is new to me, something fun that I will soon tell you all about with a proper announcement (cliffhanger).
So because of all of the above I haven’t shared any new patterns at all lately and thought that instead of showing you a new design I would share a bit about an old one and the process and thoughts behind it.
You’ve probably seen it before if you follow me on Instagram and here, but I don’t think I’ve told the story behind it properly. Almost every pattern I design has some kind of story, or at least a fantasy. Call it my source and chain of inspiration.
The pattern is called Indian Rose as it’s inspired by the Indian floral patterns you often see on chintz textiles or on wallpaper.
The inspiration for Indian Rose came from an old plate I stumbled across when making research for an idea I’d had for a story (I sometimes write as well). The 18th century plate is displayed at the Löfstad Slott (Löfstad Castle). It is said that it’s the one that Axel von Fersen used for his last meal, before he was murdered by a Stockholm mob in 1810. It’s a sad and grim story but the plate is so beautiful, with a stylized pattern of roses, leaves and embellishments that were just irresistible to me. So I started studying the motifs, trying to make something similar. This was about two and a half years ago.
When I started to create the pattern I sketched the outlines with pencil and then colored it with markers.
I then scanned and worked on it in Photoshop, making an offset pattern, which was the only method I knew about back then :-). (Offset is when you arrange the motifs in a diamond shape in the middle of the document and then divide into quarters, moving them into opposite corners creating an empty space in the middle to fill with additional pattern elements).
The first version of the pattern was very similar to the original motifs, trying to mimic it to learn the style. Then I started to experiment with the repeat, making it sparse and then more dense layouts. The color palette was still quite true to the original with faded red, pink and blue.
At this point I started to consider to quit my ordinary office job, marketing cars at Toyota - a job that took way too much time and energy (sucking the soul out of me) to have enough time to spend on my new passion for making patterns - to pursue my dream of working with something much more creative, like designing patterns. So the pattern got to sit for a bit, while I was planning my next move, which ended up with me quitting my job and starting up Bear Bell Productions a few months later.
It wasn’t until a year ago that I picked up this pattern again, when I was working on a pattern collection called Colonial Inn. I had had the von Fersen pattern in the back of my head but didn’t really know what to do with it, it was sort of stuck and I wasn’t pleased with it, looking way too much like the plate and the layout wasn’t great either.
But now I could see that it could fit perfectly with the other patterns I had for this collection with some alterations. So I started to rework it, adding branches and birds and rearranging the layout into something completely new. I also recolored it into the two color ways for Colonial Inn - Atlantic (which was called Kattegat at first) with blue, sand and gold hues, and Pacific with coral and turquoise colors. Before I was pleased with it I added some texture to mimic a vintage fabric look, which made all the difference I think… and made the a.i-document huuuuuge!
It needed a name too, and this was inspired by the indian floral patterns you often find on chintzes, so - Indian Rose it was.