Sunday 7 August 2016

2016#15 Patterns {Challenge}

2016 Topic 15: Patterns

Kellie Bloxsom-Rys

Well hello everyone, Darcy here with a new topic. For the next two weeks we will be exploring Patterns and their uses in art. We enjoy looking at patterns, done well they embody a sense of harmony. We see patterns everyday in nature, we marvel at flowers and butterflies, the stripes on shells and animal furs. Patterns in art can be symbolic or decorative and in the modern age of readily available home decor, we are all surrounded by patterns.

The definition of pattern is 'a combination of elements repeated in a recurring and regular arrangement.'

Before we start, let's see who won the Topic 14: Colour Mixing Challenge...

What a fortnight, so much colour. My most favourite part of arting. There are colours I love, colours that are my go to safe choices, and ones I dislike intensely. I have seen some wonderful colour combinations on your blogs, and it is apparent that you have been pushing yourselves to use new mixes, this is a great thing. Keep it up!

The winner of Colour Mixing  is: Rachel from Arty Beginnings

Email Darcy to claim your prize.

Patterns appear in many art forms, but in the main they are inspired by nature, these are the visible regularities we see in the trees, waves, spirals, cracks, stripes, spots, rock formations. These were studied by Greek philosophers to explain order and by mathematicians who concluded that equations could describe complex spiral growth patterns. As for artists, they have always struggled to match the beauty of  patterns in nature.  One very unique pattern that we all carry with us at all times is our fingerprint, try printing with it and see what you can make. 

Why is there such patterning in nature? It is used for many reasons: plants  use patterns to attract pollinating insects; some patterns are there as camouflage, such as an insect mimicking its surroundings or a tiger hiding within tall grasses; sexual attraction is another reason that patterns have developed in nature. All these uses of patterns result in survival!

Humans don't have the same need to cover ourselves for survival, though anyone that is a slave to fashion may disagree. We do, however love patterns as decoration. For the longest time they have been around in many art forms. Every culture has distinct patterns that have been used in textiles, architecture, scrolls and manuscripts, masks and paintings. 

From the Greek border patterns and Aztec woven blankets to the modern day patterns that we use in our home decor. 

Some patterns are symbolic, they represent beliefs, the natural world, history and tradition. Within this framework colours and shapes have specific meanings, they are passed down through the generations. Historians have used these patterns to establish traditions and cultural practices. Think about Tartan fabric, those patterns represented each of the Scottish clans. 

Hmong textiles are unique, no two are identical as the patterns represent the stages of life of the maker. 

In the West we also see patterns used to pinpoint historical periods, we see certain floral patterns for example, and we know immediately that they are from the Arts and Crafts period. Similarly, we recognise specific designers by their patterns. 

Both painting and patterning started out as embellishments, but painting evolved into a fine art, whereas patterning is associated more with just decoration. William Morris set out to change this, and designed many gorgeous patterns to be used on wallpaper and fabric. He wanted to improve life by bringing the 'beautiful' to domestic settings. 'Art by and for the people' ' as a happiness to the maker and the user' Ironically the only people who could afford these items were the rich. 

William Morris
Now with mass production and the availability of affordable paints, stencils and stamps we can all bring the beauty of patterns into our homes. 

So how do we use patterns in our modern art? Pattern is one of the  principles of art - the repetition of elements within a project, those elements can be lines, shapes or colours. 

Patterns can be hugely important, more so than you would think, they are the underlying structure that organizes the surface. They can appear as the focal point, or just an accent, but in reality they form the skeleton of a composition. By carefully placing patterns you can bring a whole project together. This is no more apparent than in the backgrounds that we create. 

Here is a perfectly simple background, it has repeating shapes and colours and would support a focal image. 

Or your pattern can be a stand alone focal point, this hand carved stamp makes a striking pattern on fabric.

Spotted Stones
For centuries we have used patterns on ceramics, these can be hand painted, stamped, stencilled or carved right into the pot. 

We are so lucky now that printed material is readily available, specifically patterned scrapbook papers. The possibilities are endless with preprinted papers, and some of the patterns on them are stunning - sometimes too pretty to use. Hands up who has pretty paper hidden away? If you can bear to use them the patterns look fabulous on clean backgrounds like these cards. Notice how small the patterned pieces are compared to the size of the cards, very little is used, but there is great impact.

Jennifer McGuire
 Not all patterning needs to be coloured, you can still create patterns by cutting away the substrate, like this card with a die cut corner. 

Pam E
Another way to inject patterns without overwhelming the project is by adding patterned embellishments, like these fabulous buffed celluloid buttons. You could always make your own with fabric or even die cut some patterned paper and cover it with UTEE. 

Susan Elliott
Care should be taken with patterns, as too many can clash and make it hard to look at the project. It is possible to use lots of patterns, but one or more of the other principles of art should come into play, such as unity and proportion. 

With this paper doll you can see lots of patterns, on every limb, all different and yet they work. Unity has been introduced with the simple colour scheme, can you imagine if these were all different colours, they would not be as easy to look at. The other consideration that helps is proportion, smaller patterns on smaller areas, more open patterns on the wings etc. 

Kimberly Crick
Here stamps have been used in such a delicate way to add pattern to the background so that it supports the more dominant pattern of the large heart. Using clear embossing in the background has enabled layers of patterns to build up. 

Tracy Evans

A fabulous way to add patterning is with stencils, from tiny to very large, like this stunning wall stencil. 

Planet Stencil Library
Patterns can be very powerful in creating 'movement' and directing your eye to specific points of a project. Look carefully at the patterns on these stair tiles a lot of them suggest an upward movement inviting you to go up. Chosen wisely, patterns have influence. 

Where do we find inspiration for the patterns that we choose to use in art? You just have to look around you, patterns are everywhere. From metal plates.. beautiful architecture. next time you are out, look up! Look at ceilings, and roofs, chimneys, spires, tiles, railings, and columns. Patterns are everywhere. Start taking photos, keep a record of patterns that you like.  

Bahrain National Theatre

In fact you have only to sit in the sunshine and the patterns will come to you. Fabulous inspiration just from shadows. 

Let's look at more inspiration of patterns being used in art. I love this one, patterns inside a pattern. Whilst the patterns are all different, and could clash if side by side, there is unity with the background colour and also in the golden shapes around each pattern. 

Jill Ricci

Lots of layered patterns here, but each compliments the others in their 'section' , although there is a lot going on, the linear aspects are very effective in sectioning this panel and making you examine each area separately instead of being overwhelmed by the whole piece. 

Janet O'Neal
How cute are these little dresses, again take note how the patterns were chosen carefully for their size. 


I am not sure these would stand up to our rain, but they are great, so much detail!

Jessica van der Hilst

Rebecca Blair does a phenomenal amount of work in her journals, mostly with geometric patterns. Her pages all look so striking. 

Even words can form a pattern, try doing this with the words to a favourite song or poem. 

Cheryl Sorg

Or perhaps you have an old chair that need a new identity, what better way than with funky and bright patterned fabric. 

A really fun way to make patterns to create a Mandala. There are lots of videos on this subject, but Guadalupe Brizuela Cabal is especially known for her Mandalas, see her work in this video. 

Watch part 2 here. 

So are you ready to get patterning? Stripes, spots, jiggly,wiggly lines, flowers, spirals,geometrics ...the list is endless. Remember to choose your patterns carefully, look at colours, check the proportions, see how they interact. However you pattern up your life over the next two weeks have fun doing it. 

Don't forget to follow Darcy and Leandra's pinterest boards if this topic pushes your buttons, you will see plenty more examples to whet your appetite there! 

I am really looking forward to seeing what you create over the next 2 weeks!


Topic 15: Patterns PaperArtsy Blog Challenge

We'd love you to share your ideas and link up your creative response to our current blog topic. Take a minute to read the challenge guidelines below.

All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Patterns link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, 21st Aug, winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.

1. The challenge is a for you to show how you are inspired by the current blog topic.

Your entry should contain:
- a mention of which post inspired you and why, and 
- a link in your blog post to that original post on the PA blog.

The whole concept of this challenge is 'play along with us'. You are encouraged to put your own twist on ideas you see on our blog, do your own thing - whatever grabs you!

2. The link you put on our linky page must lead directly to the specific post on your blog where you have explored the technique/ idea mentioned in point 1 above. Don't link to the home page of your blog.

3. We prefer your challenge blog post is created exclusive to our challenge, but if our topic fits perfectly with another challenge, then you may link to both if appropriate.

4. You are most welcome to use stamps/ products/ substrates you have to hand from a variety of companies, we do not expect you to exclusively use PA products - it's lovely when you do though!

6. You can enter as many times as you like. We don't want to restrict your creativity! 
NB. Link closes at 17:00 Sunday 21st Aug   (London Time)

7. The winner of the random draw will receive a £50 credit voucher to be redeemed on the PaperArtsy Website. The credit voucher includes VAT and postage. We request that one of your purchases is an A5 rubber stamp. You can add any other items to your basket, but the final total should not exceed £50.

8. Each fortnight on Sunday, the winner will be announced at 19:00 (London time). In the same post, the link for the next fortnight will be posted. 

9. It's your responsibility to claim your prize coupon from Darcy. 

Good Luck! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!


Helen said...

What a brilliant topic. Can't wait to play

Julie Lee said...

Fantastic inspiration! :) xx

Miriam said...

what a fabulous topic.... I love the inpiration that you have chosen for it.

Artmadnana said...

What a wonderful variety of inspiring pattern techniques ? We are spOiled for choice! Great research Darcy.

Craftyfield said...

Brilliant topic! At the heart of crafting... Looking forward to see what the DT comes up with.

Ruth said...

Great new topic and always enjoy your intros, they are so educational and inspirational! Ruth x

Unknown said...

Great topic! Hope to join in this time. :)

ionabunny said...

Oooh, so many lovely ideas in this post. Love the CAS and the busy. Feeling inspired. Hugz

Mary C. Nasser said...

What a brilliant topic! I often incorporate maps into my artwork because of their lovely patterns, and look forward to participating in this challenge! Thank you for all the inspiration above!

Lucy Edmondson said...

What a fabulous intro post!

Lucy x

Margik said...

Fabulous topic!
Thanks for the great inspiration!
Mar x

Maye M.L said...

Bountiful inspiration to get the creative muses in action. Love pattern, and this time I challenged myself to avoid using PP from my never ending stash. Astonishing challenge entries as well. Cheers!