Sunday 23 January 2022

2022 Topic 02: Pattern Play - Topic Introduction

Hi everyone, Keren here with you today to talk about pattern. It fills so much of our lives without us even acknowledging it and it's also something we strive for as artists; creating pleasing arrangements of shapes, graphically, symmetrically or even in an abstract manner.

We've been playing around with patterns since we could play! Making marks in the sand, painting with our fingers and even with old abacuses. We might have moved onto making Lego models and trying to get even patterns of colour (or was that just me), creating patterns as we iced cakes or scribbled doodles on notebooks. Some of us might have gone on to making large scale graffiti patterns whilst others cut out paper and arranged it into pleasing images.

We do pattern differently, just as we create art that's not the same. For some, they love the predictable comfort of an exact pattern (think of sewists trying to pattern match). Others love to create portions of pattern in places on their art. Perhaps others love using odd numbered amounts of marks on their pieces, that they'll repeat in a more random fashion.
Whether you're an ordered patterner or prefer to create pattern in a more organic way, we've got a topic that's bound to appeal to you on some level.

Pattern is never far from the PaperArtsy blog, so we begin with one of our designers who is well known for her love of pattern and creating stamps and stencils that help us love it too.
Tracy Scott is often found doodling and making patterned wonders, so it seemed only fitting to show you a few of her pieces.

Here's an inspiring video from Tracy all about pattern play put together especially for this topic. But if you know Tracy, you will be aware how pattern is such an important part of how she creates, so there are some awesome insights here for you!

Roxanne Coble decided to add pattern to her envelopes, with really fun and vibrant results that would cheer up the most unhappy of postmen. 

There are patterns everywhere. Have you heard about fractal patterns? If you grab some gloss paint (they reckon you could use acrylic- so here's a challenge to try this with your Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics), press a tiny drop of paint between two solid transparent surfaces and lift the surfaces away from each other without sliding you'll end up with a self-similar viscous fingered pattern. If you want to learn about fractals in nature, check out the blog listed under the image.

There are some fascinating patterns that mathematicians have noticed in nature. One of these is called the Fibonacci Sequence. Without attempting to explain it to you here (and if you want to understand it, this is a great article), it is to do with how a spiral is created. Looking nature will bring so many beautiful pattern. Here's a Spiral Aloe Plant.

Pattern is all around us- we simply don't have to look too far. I'd love to create some stamps based on vintage manhole covers (you must look out for some on your next walk), as they have some amazing details. Mimi & Robert Melnick had a similar idea and brought out a book about the subject. Just look at this beauty.

Where else can we get inspiration for playing with pattern? How about fabric? Surface pattern designers carefully calculate repeated patterns so the customer gets the most of the design in the different cuts of fabric. Then take fabric, cut it up and sew it back together again and you have patchwork. The pattern below is both in the fabric placement and if you look carefully, also in the quilting which adds to the pattern's dimension.

We've looked at carefully repeating patterns. What about abstract patterns?
This piece of art by Vassily Kandinsky has repeated elements that aren't the same, but is a really good example of an initial look at abstract pattern. You can see that the colours are similar and whilst the shapes aren't exactly the same, there is an obvious grid containing circular shapes. 

You might feel that the piece above isn't as abstract as you could go. A pattern defined at its simplest is a repetition in elements, and not necessarily identical.
This is a little less literal; this beautiful art piece by Ida Mitchell shows that the pattern is in the softly undulating lines.

You can create pattern with the simplest of shapes. Trim shapes down into smaller segments or parts and add colour in like this clever example.

Tammy Klingner produced this wonderfully vibrant patterned journal page. The repetition of buildings, colours, stars and the stencilling all add to the pattern.

It doesn't need to be just about about words? We can pattern play with all sorts of letters and phrases.

There are also patterns to be made using different materials. String Art has resurfaced from the 70s and is making a comeback!

If you fancy getting started. Why not grab a shape and try some simple tessellation? The simplest of shapes, placed together can give dramatic results.

Why not create a new pattern instead of the one that usually exists? Elyse Dodge creates amazing landscapes using geometric patterning.

Pattern has been around for so many centuries. I thought this Turkish 16th example was beautiful.

We'll finish with another PaperArtsy project- Gwen Lafleur has some wonderful pattern-creating stamps (along with most of the other stamp designers) and she created these fun oversized hole reinforcers and the pattern with them laid out on the carrier sheet is fabulous.

Hope these projects inspire to you create some patterns in your art. Grab your pen and get doodling or create patterns with the smaller stamps in your stash. Choose a few stencils and combine them to make new images. Bring joy to your day creating something beautiful.

Does this topic push your creative buttons? We would LOVE you to share what you get up to with us! A great place is tagging us on Instagram @paperartsy or why not join us and post in the PaperArtsy People Group on Facebook. We love to see what you make!


Helen said...

I'm hooked on pattern play! Tracy's video was so inspiring

Etsuko said...

Wonderful topic and great samples Keren!! I'm so looking forward to seeing bloggers creations. xx

Victoria Wilding said...

Great ideas Keren! Can’t wait to see some of the other posts

Spyder said...

Brilliant, why haven;t I found this before now!