The Landlady – Patternmash project
I joined up for Hannah’s Patternmash project at the start of January. Hannah provides monthly briefs to create patterns/collections for. Not hugely unusual, I suppose, but… her briefs are really well-thought out and researched and in-depth and she provides supportive moodboards, colour palettes and more. I think it’s the depth and the reaching beyond the comfort zone that has appealed to me. I love Bootcamp (must write a post about the Bootcamp January project, too) and MATS and the assignments that come from there, but the Patternmash ones have a subtle difference and make me think on a deeper more artistic level that I wasn’t actually sure I could (I am so very much all about the ‘making pretty patterns’ and usually really dislike having describe anything on a deeper level than ‘I saw pretty flowers. I drew pretty flowers. I made them into a bright and fun pattern.’)
Anyway, I’m all gushy about it after January. Who knows if I’ll be equally gushy at the end of February, though I’m already excited about another ‘outside my comfort zone’ brief, so hopefully.
January’s brief was to create a pattern (or collection – I think the idea is usually to create a whole collection if you can) inspired by Roald Dahl’s short story ‘The Landlady’, a macabre short story about a landlady of a B&B that has remarkably few guests, and a penchant for stuffed animals. Hannah provided the story, a moodboard and a colour palette and I have to admit being initially completely thrown. How do you make a pattern from a story? Surely you make an illustration? But I drew some teacups and I drew some carnations (the landlady liked her tea rituals and there was an evocative description of yellow carnations). And then forgot about it for a while, as my design time was being eaten up by money work and then I went off on some other tangents and then I did the Bootcamp assignment and then I realised the the deadline was only a couple of days away, had nothing else I absolutely had to do during my design time, so thought I needed to give it a go.
I’m sooooo glad I did.
I had definitive ideas for patterns as soon as I sat and looked at my sketches and I made them over two nights. My favourite is absolutely the damask, though I’m pleased with the teacups, too.
This pattern takes the carnations from the story, placing them in a traditional wallpaper repeat (a bit of a shout out to William Morris) and then adds in a little macabre twist.
This one is a little more subtle and picks up the teacups from the story, and intertwines them with tangled stems of deadly nightshade (the decorations on the teacups are also deadly nightshade).
Hannah shared my damask pattern on Twitter and someone (Sam Meech, @videosmithery) said they’d like to see a book cover treatment with it, so I had a go – and ended up making three (Paperback A format). Now, there’s an application for pattern design I hadn’t been thinking about much – any of my publishing friends and colleagues fancy some funky patterned covers for your textbooks?
If you like the sound of the briefs, check out Patternmash. There’s a free version you can sign up to if you’re not sure, but I highly recommend the full paid version and look forward to showing you next month’s.