Given that I am about to take my Plot to Plate collection of designs to Top Drawer this weekend I thought people might be interested in the design journey of ideas that result in such a collection of pattern.
My ideas tend to belong as series of thoughts that I explore in a number of drawings over months, and sometimes years. I challenge myself to explore many ways to represent the same things, often resulting in simplified motifs, some would say scribbles. Drawings are often in rather utilitarian handmade sketchbooks that are not precious so there is no fear of the white blank page before I start. Sometime, in fact quite often, I draw while walking, and trying not to look conspicuous or weird as I track my way round a National Trust kitchen garden, almost creating a diagram, literally a planting plan as I go. Sometimes I make notes in my drawings, of colours, names of plants from the labels in the ground, or note references to research at a later date.
The titles of some of my designs are: xvo, xo, xxvv and these come from the shorthand I created in order to document gardens and allotments as I paced.
In the studio, and for sometime after I dwell, I study, I revisit the motifs, rhythms and compositions I gathered, I redraw, formalise and create new pieces, as one-off drawings in series to exhibit and sell. Some compositions lend themselves to self-contained lino prints or screenprints and so I spend time developing the designs, cutting the plates, and enjoying the process of editioning. I could never imagine getting bored (my edition sizes are small!) of lifting the paper from an inked block, each time to discover the image. So low-tech, yet engaging.
At this point I notice elements that can be scanned in and reworked in Photoshop or Illustrator software to create repeat designs and colourways for further potential – and this is how I created the design collection of ‘Plot to Plate’.
The Plot to Plate signature design of garden, kitchen and dining tools also came from my playing with the dog-tooth check as a classic rhythm, and my keen interest in telling a story as a visual narrative. Pattern can of course be pretty, but I enjoy the challenge of asking it to communicate something beyond itself. In this instance my drawings were made directly for this purpose and I translated them for screen.
I hope the images explain the fun I have had, and the pride that I feel in this collection.
More examples of prints and drawings can be found on my website gallery pages