Monday, 17 February 2014

Recipe for pattern

I've started to make patterns on my allotments. I want to find out what makes a good pattern

Here is one of my best patterns - a co-design between gardener and grass. All the best patterns seem to be a collaboration

chance + place + time = magic

But you have to find a pattern to start with in the first place. I was inspired to try and grow my own pattern using a carpet pattern that meant a lot to me.  My first experiment was with with cress

I used a simple stencil to make these patterns with pigment - I wanted to watch them change with time. Everything alters with time and weather on the allotment.


Stinky and Isabelle have shared their own patterns with me - these are inspired by the sweet chestnuts we planted as well as a great dress Stinky wears alot. I'm hoping to make patterns with other allotment friends too

Another way of getting under the skin of pattern is to project it. Karin helped me to make these projections onto carpet, metal and wood.

I've got to find a way of capturing my patterns at some stage of their life-cycle. So I have been printing them as a resist and then dying them with indigo. I'm printing onto found fabric - it has been loved before and adding another unknown pattern story into the mix is thrilling.

So far my recipe for pattern is something like this
1. TAKE a pattern which inspires you
2. PUT it in a place that is special to you - grow it, project it with light, stencil with pigment
3. WATCH your pattern change with the weather, time and chance
4. EXPLORE how smells, tastes, sounds and other feelings enter and transform your pattern
5. IMAGINE ways of capturing your pattern through this shifting cycle

The best patterns are always changing because they are ALIVE

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Great Western

Our New Year's treat was a visit to the Didcot Railway centre, a treasure trove of all that was the Great Western Railway.

We got very wet and cold but it was worth it to enjoy the plush upholstered carriages, warm sprung seats, wooden fittings, comfy weaves and colour ways of an almost- disappeared world.

Sunday, 29 December 2013


These are the final printed lengths for my latest project - Space Invaders. I experimented with readymade patterns, transforming them through resist printing, overprinting, dying and bleaching. I learned that gloss binder resists well but was unable to rediscover how William Morris got his indigo to discharge.

I also learned to start looking a bit more slowly - even though I don't think I will ever stop printing too fast. I'm preparing some more resist designs - light projections taken from natural shapes and forms.  I'm inspired by the Japanese designer, Soetsu Yangagi who describes patterns - not as reproductions of nature but as new creations, visions of what is reflected by the imagination. So I've been keeping a pattern diary. Each day collecting at least 6 patterns from the world around me. It's becoming addictive.

Friday, 13 December 2013

In the Print Room

This is the print room with the best views in London....

Meanwhile inside some pretty thrilling print-making going on - thanks to students from The Widening Participation Project at University of the Arts. You are a truly talented gang. Don't stop printing now!

These were their first ever relief prints - and only one bad bleed.

Thanks to Simon and Paul and the incredible press - which has been rolling out prints for the last 200 years

Anyone recognise the view?

Monday, 18 November 2013


We went to Portsmouth on Saturday and saw so many ships. Thanks so much to Andrew and Rachel for putting us at the Royal Maritime Hotel and to Portsmouth Dockyard for all the fabulous patterns - especially the dazzle Monitor boat.

Sunday, 3 November 2013


Now it's getting dark I'm seeing great lights and colours everywhere. I'm really enjoying putting these together with some of my fabric collection and making new pattern ideas.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


Went to Tyntesfield in Somerset yesterday to research more of my secret life of patterns. These were some of the amazing things I saw. 

Many thanks to Ruth Moppet for letting me wander about. 

The accumulation of pattern was quite overwhelming and totally inspiring.