I’ve been on a gem kick lately. It started when my boyfriend and I decided to get membership passes to the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. Every time we visit, there’s one spot I have to go- past the oarfish and the coelacanth, tucked away in the back of the mineral hall, are a few cases with raw and cut gems, side by side. There’s something wonderful about being able to see them together, the rough dramatic shapes and the smooth polished ones, each beautiful in their own ways. The last time we went I photographed my favorites, and settled back in at home to paint them.
I like them as stand alone pieces, but also wanted to try putting them together. I also went back and added plaques around their names.
And I liked that so much, I went ahead and made patterns out of them.
Bigger pictures of the repeats can be seen here. I had my swatches printed on a super soft, silky fabric. I just wish I was better at sewing, I’d made myself a gem dress in a heartbeat. And probably wear it to the museum.
While working on a painting last night, I started to notice the neat little blotches and colors on my test swatch. There’s something so cool about the way the different pigments settle in their little puddles at different rates.
Inspired by the work of fellow alum and friend Mia Christopher (who had some of her test sheets made into textiles by Anthropologie), I decided to scan the little ink pebbles and play with them. I also highly recommend you check out Mia’s stuff; she updates her Flickr pretty routinely.
After a few minutes of futzing, I came up with something I liked. It reminds me of balancing stones on top of each other.
And the repeat (in a different color):
Pretty decent, considering I’m just distracting myself from the real work I need to get done.
If it’s spring (nearly summer!), why am I still drawing like it’s fall?
I always have a hard time figuring out just what to draw. It’s like I expect to still get school assignments and have someone guide me. Anxious about the fact that by not drawing for myself, I’m getting rusty, I went with my old favorite- little woodland creatures. And I couldn’t leave it at that, so I worked them into a simple repeat.
Next hurdle: getting back into painting. I’m done with ink- let’s get summery and start using color!
Once upon a time, I considered switching majors from Illustration to Textiles.
I took a few textiles classes, and had a bit of a knack for it. I did some sewing in my spare time (and made a nice bit of cash off my hobby at the school’s craft fair), so the idea of designing my own fabrics for my projects was appealing.
But I quickly came to my senses, and decided to stick with my true love, illustration (learning nothing, I would go on to have a brief, painful affair with printmaking).
What made me change my mind was the fact that, while studying illustration, I could continue to work on textile and printmaking projects in my spare time. It would be much harder to study illustration on the side.
That said, I’ve gotten rusty. I decided yesterday to try to make a quick repeating pattern, and it came out okay. I’m sure it would look nicer if I took the time to scan it, but I’ve only got an iPhone camera to work with right now.