Many young international designers are drawing on heritage, folklore and their imaginations to create contemporary textile, ceramic and wall-covering patterns.
Some are finding larger audiences through decor retailers and online sites. Others are taking their imaginations outdoors, onto the sides of buildings.
At Spoonflower, designer Andrea Lauren creates linocut patterns of woodland animals, flora, even the Loch Ness monster. They’re printed on textiles that can be used for pillows, curtains, bedding or lampshades. Illustrator Jeremiah Witting of Portland, Oregon, does pen-and-ink illustrations inspired by a 1910 compendium of Grimm’s Fairy Tales passed down to him by his grandmother. And for Parisian artist Vannina Baquere, inspiration comes from an eclectic mix of Mexican serape blankets, fantastic gardens and Scandinavian folk prints.
Many early American quilt and rug patterns live comfortably in the 21st century because of their simple geometric designs and clean color palettes.
At Garnet Hill, the Johanna puts a modern spin on pieced quilts with circle pieces instead of traditional squares.
Annie Selke’s Merry Go Round hooked rug rescales the playful medallions and flowers of a 1930s artwork that Selke found in France; the rug is offered in two different colorways.
Great Plains Native American motifs are crafted into a bold geometric rug exclusively at Crate & Kids from Los Angeles-based Bethany Yellowtail.
The artist has also done a striking wool blanket, available on her own website, that she calls “All My Relations.” Stripes of various configurations reflect Crow and Northern Cheyenne elements, both part of her heritage.
Modcloth has ceramic plates and glassware decorated with delicately painted folk art motifs in a pretty palette of charcoal, lime, orange and mint, from the company One Hundred Eighty Degrees in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Nathalie Lete’s storybook-style ceramic collection at Anthropologie features winsome woodland creatures, fruits and flowers, all hand-painted.
At the Heimtextil fair in Frankfurt, Germany, in January, design students from PatternLab, a master’s program at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland, showed their work to potential buyers. Many designs were inspired by Finnish folk art.
For pattern designers without access to an exhibition booth at an international fair, there are lots of online portals to sell work. Besides www.etsy.com, there’s www.creativemarket.com,www.society6.com, and www.redbubble.com. In her Harvest collection for her studio Half Drop, Romanian designer Alexandra Lazarescu reinterprets her country’s folklore through the lens of her architecture background. Traditional spoons, botanicals, wheels, and symbols of day and night are rendered in geometric patterns.