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  1. African-influences-in-my-design-work-blog-title

    It’s a funny thing how sometimes one doesn’t realise one’s own influences.  Just in the past week two people have told me that they can see African influences in my surface pattern design work.  I hadn’t seen it, though it isn’t a surprise to me.  The exception is the pattern featured in my blog title, which is inspired by the amazing colours of the Southern Carmine Bee-Eater, a little African bird.

    I spent two and a half years living in the South African bush several years ago.  I gave up my responsible job at an auction house in Edinburgh to move to Africa and trained for six months to become a safari guide.  I then worked at an amazing riding safari lodge for over two years, before returning to the UK.   Several years before that I had lived in the wilds of Namibia for six months, so I think it is fair to say I have the Africa “bug.”  I still try to get back to southern Africa as often as I can and have explored lots of South Africa.


     However, having spent so much time in the African bush, my abiding colour associations are with khaki and olive.  In fact it took me a while, on my return to the UK, not to be drawn to the drab olives when I went clothes shopping.  It is, perhaps, therefore, not surprising that my patterns are bright and cheerful, not muted and subtle.

    My time in Africa was before I started on my surface pattern design journey so, while I was drawn to African textiles, I did not study them closely or, indeed, collect samples of them.  In fact, I would love to do a “study trip” to look at them more closely.  However, at the lodge where I worked, one of the owners was from Kenya, and the design influences in the lodges were definitely East African and added lots of colour to contrast with the natural stone and wood.  I was also drawn to the beautiful beaded jewellery and crafts made throughout South Africa, which explains my attraction to jewel colours.


     While most of my patterns are influenced by nature, particularly flowers, I also use abstract “doodle” patterns in some of my designs, and I think it may be in these that people see as being African in influence.


     It makes me happy to think that my time in South Africa has, even unconsciously, influenced my design work.  However, the main thing is that I create beautiful and appealing patterns to make my potential customers happy.

  2. wraptious-blog-title

    If you follow me on social media, you will know that I have entered the Spring 2019 Wraptious artist competition. I don’t often enter competitions, but this one inspired me.  I thought I would share a little about my process and the art works.  

    wraptious-wall-artWraptious sells beautiful artworks and homewares, created from the artwork of a select group of artists.  They are UK based and support artists, so I can’t think of a more exciting competition to enter.

    My designs are usually seamless repeats, made up of a selection of motifs combined together.  These flowers, and the heart, started out as hand-drawn motifs, which I planned to combine into patterns.  I loved creating them and was really happy with each individual motif, but when I combined them, I wasn’t happy with any of the patterns I created.  I decided that they work much better as individual motifs to be used as “placement prints” and have created some greetings cards using them.   See them here

    Each motif started off by being hand-drawn in black pen.  Usually I draw an entire flower, not one individual petal, but I liked the idea of creating something very symmetrical, so each flower is formed of just one design of petal.  This is then scanned and opened in Adobe Photoshop, where I add colour.  The colour palette for all four of the flower designs entered in the competition is the same and when I put the palette together I described them as “jewel colours.”  Once the individual petal was coloured, each petal was repeated until I formed a flower.  Finally I chose a complementary background colour from the jewel palette to make the flower pop. 


    I simply submitted the flat artworks to Wraptious, and they created the beautiful mockups below and under the title.  Voting continues until 16th June 2019 and my designs are available to purchase from them until 24th June.wraptious-cushions

    Please head over to their page to give me a vote, or even to buy a cushion, art print or canvas, featuring one of these designs. Thank you!