prints on plates

One of the aspects of drawing for pattern design that fascinates me is the stylising process; how we see something and process it as an interpretation of the thing we initially saw. I’ve written about this several times on this blog over the last few years. When I start to draw something new I make quick studies to get to know the subject matter, and work out what the key information might be, and how I retain the qualities that make the subject remain visible in some small way – depending on how much I want to hold on to the recognisable elements.

While washing up the other day I saw two of our plates side by side in a way that got me thinking: I saw connections I’d not spotted before despite the visual languages of the plates appearing to be very different.

Both plates are decades old, both have seen better days. One is a simple graphic motif, one is a rather nostalgic painted flower posy.

Both plates appear to have floral-inspired printed surface designs. Both designs could be described as featuring yellow flower heads (although one includes other flowers too while the other contains multiple prints of the same motif elements).

One design is pared right back to stylise the flower by only recording a stem and flower head. The style is almost diagrammatic in the simplicity of the motif consisting of black stem and V-shaped lines crossing the stem to suggest leaves. The flower head is a straightforward circle with a dotted outline. Not all stem motifs have heads, there is a randomness in the composition across the plate.

The other plate design features painterly and drawn details, a generous sprig of flowers utilising more colours to express the tones and textures of the flower and leaf details and certainly more expressive in its rendering. The flowers are placed on one side of the plate, as if allowing space for the cake to be placed alongside. The yellow flower head is certainly the attention grabber.

Now I’ve spent a bit more time thinking about these designs I actually believe they make a great pairing, two designs that complement each other in what they offer. I’m not so keen on matching crockery and enjoy using our mix and match plates collected over the years from car boot sales, charity shops, family hand-me-downs and gifts – they all offer reference points and bring something to the collection, and this week I’ve been grateful to appreciate this duo in a new light.

Squared collection

It is no surprise to many that I collect things, some of those collections have even been featured here on the blog. When a colleague asked me last week if I had squared paper I was happy to delve in to my ‘squared paper’ drawer in the studio and share. This small act led me to rediscover this collection that features paper dated from the 1980s up to the present day, of grids, checks, plaids … of beauty. Printed in grey, blue, green, red or other, two-sided sheets, pages of books, tracing paper; the collection is also international in its reach. I’ve posted several on my instagram feed @katefarleyprint but here are some to get you excited!

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‘Chelsea’ drawings to design for David Mellor Design

Many months ago I had the go-ahead from Corin Mellor to design a bespoke pattern to celebrate the fabulous ‘Chelsea’ salad servers that he designed for David Mellor Design. When I first saw the cutlery I immediately really liked the look of them and when I received the servers they were amazing to hold – they still are. Impressive in weight and size, the shape is simple yet stunning, and they inspired me to set about drawing. With a number of design options I provided Corin Mellor, Creative Director and his retail team, they discussed and advised, and before long we agreed on this design that is now printed on to linen union tea towels and sold on my website, David Mellor shops in Hathersage and London as well as Museums Sheffield.

With the tea towel now listed in the ‘Special Products’ section of the David Mellor catalogue I thought it time to show some of the images I have of the process. I took inspiration from my visit to the factory in Hathersage where they make and display the cutlery production process as well as the objects themselves.

I’ve had great feedback and sales, we are having another print-run and they’ve received press in the form of Elle Decoration!

Thanks also to Patternbooth and Design Hunter:

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