jessica swift

Patterns: in life & design by daintydora

Last weekend I followed my passion for patterns and took part in Pattern Camp, a wonderful online course run by pattern designer Jessica Swift. I learnt so much - digital design skills in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator - and was delighted to have one of my patterns featured on Jessica's blog. I'm going to share some of my other patterns and insights on my design and inspiration site Dainty Dora in due course, but here's a quick repeating pattern from a black and white photograph I took earlier in the year:

LOVE pattern photo repeat

It's not so exciting as a pattern really. I wouldn't choose it as a wallpaper.

The exciting thing is that photographs can become patterns. And repeat and everything. How amazing is that? Oh, and also that I can create them. Myself. Digitally. And scale them the size of the Empire State Building (or bigger).

And what struck me as I reflected on patterns and how much a part of everyday life they are - clothes, interiors, landscaping, city planning, bus routes, colours, nature, etc - was the way that patterns not only repeat in design and 'speak' to us in their visual language, but how patterns repeat themselves in both a visual and non-visual way: families (looks/traits), personal relationships (choosing a particular 'type' of person, whether in looks or in demeanor), generations (generational unemployment), skills, talents, interests ('a passion for photography runs in the family'), and that so many of these - all of them? - are unchosen in that they just occur or are reinforced, or perhaps sidle in surreptitiously?

No-one wants to purposefully inherit the 'the lazy gene' or 'the squinty family ears/nose/neck' or the reputation for being unreliable. Nature or nurture, it's still forming a pattern.

I found thinking about patterns in this way interesting because it relates to one of the stories - books - I have already started to write.

A family biography that spans three generations. A mammoth of a story that needs to be woven with sympathy and skill. A story that I don't feel ready to return to right now, but that is bubbling away in my mind, percolating and taking shape as different pieces of the jigsaw slip into place. Where choices form patterns in huge repeats and those choices have repercussions that ripple across multiple lives and continue to reap their effect.

When you start looking, there is very little that isn't a pattern. Even routines that change and morph and lead off on new tangents are patterns (identities?) of a different life, a new start, that quickly form into new patterns. I'm a bit hooked right now and I think I could become obsessed.

Happy weekend. Watch out for those patterns.