Design inspirations 2: the natural world

Second in the series of ‘Design Inspirations’ blog entries…

The natural world has long been an inspiration for textile designers. Many years on from William Morris celebrating the natural world of flora and fauna as decoration for textiles we have had Laura Ashley, Marimekko and Orla Kiely, to only name three companies, who have interpreted the natural world and created stylised patterns and imagery which continue to inspire design students of today.

At times the worst thing as a lecturer of design we can hear from a student is that their project will be “about shells” and we dread the worst examples of static and bland studies which do little to explore the beauty and wonder of the natural world’s creations of form, structure, surface, pattern, colour and more, before approaching the bountiful concepts and metaphors in the ‘dot to dot’ of design processing hidden around the shell!

In my drawings I often aim to distil and to simplify a plant structure or shape of a flower in order to create motifs for prints and surface patterns, exploring perspective, diagrammatic language and relationships with place / context. I have a huge archive of drawings made on locations as well as boxes and bags of samples including plants, stones & leaves and one day they may well feature in designs. You never now what you might need! Going anywhere new, even for a holiday means that I keep my eyes open and often pockets filled as a result of finding new things.

Having visited the Gower peninsula for one last summer camping trip I came across these examples of natural forms, which could and would create different visual interpretations in the hands of each creative prepared for the job. That is one reason why I like to play a part in design education; to facilitate the looking, seeing and interpreting, and it is certainly why I like to keep on collecting, and keep on drawing.




One thought on “Design inspirations 2: the natural world

  1. Pingback: Design inspirations 3: winning games | Kate Farley - drawn to design

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