So when I started reminiscing about the past and choosing a time in my life to turn into a print (or two), I kept coming back to my first big travel adventure at age 22. I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences (& some mundane ones too) in my life so far, but I always remember this time fondly because it was a time in my life when I was carefree, in the moment and just happy. I was a wide-eyed ‘kid’ with the world at my feet.
After finishing university and working full-time at a job I was happy to leave, I was ready get out there and explore. I would be travelling by myself most of the time for 6 months, something that both excited and scared me. I’m not a very extroverted person, but I think that’s really the reason why I decided to go solo… it was what I needed to get out of my shell. The trip got off to a great start by missing my flight to Los Angeles (the first of several near and missed flights throughout the trip), but I quickly learned how to deal with situations when they didn’t go so smoothly.
There were some amazing highlights, as you’d expect; staring at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel until my neck cramped up, being a guest at a Kurdish wedding in eastern Turkey, relaxing in Central Park and walking around the Pyramids of Giza are just some that spring to mind. It was also the people, fellow travellers and locals, who I met on the way that made my time travelling such a wonderful experience.
After reliving this journey, I still felt stuck as to what the focus print would be. I didn’t want it to be just a print of the sites I saw; especially after seeing a few of those sorts of designs on a trip to a homewares store. I wanted them to be a bit more of a reflection of my personal experience and I was also interested in exploring something less literal and more on the shapes or movement like my previous design to see where that would take me.
So I decided to come up with some key words/phrases to get me started; carefree, in the moment, organic and going with the flow.
I think they were a good reflection of my time travelling. Although I had planned some of the trip before leaving, I would still wake up every morning and wonder what each day would bring; where and what would I visit? How would I get there? What would I eat for lunch? Who would I meet along the way? These were the wonderful and simple surprises each day. Life at home becomes so dictated by routine and while it’s not always a bad thing, I do miss the spontaneity of being a traveller
Main Print – Unravelling My Adventure
For my main print I started by creating a shape on the computer and replicating it. By just going with the flow, I felt the design slowly take shape. I chose a colour palette that I felt was harmonious and feminine (and of course a reflection of colours I like). The design started looking like layers of an onion, being peeled away, revealing a new day, new experience and adventure. The depth also creates a feeling of things never ending. I certainly felt this many times; unless I had a certain flight to catch, I often found myself forgetting the days, dates and even times (especially when moving into different time zones) – 6 months felt like an eternity to continuously travel.
Secondary print – Down The Bosphorus
For my second print, I decided to be more specific and create a pattern from my time spent in the country that turned out to be my favourite, Turkey. Turkey was an unexpected destination. I didn’t plan on travelling there, nor did I plan to spend the most time there. But it turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole trip. It was the people, delicious food, historical sites, beautiful beaches, learning about the country’s history and being mesmerised by the Ottoman textiles and Inzik tiles that adorned mosques and important buildings.
Of course ALL those things are quite a lot to create into a pattern; so I focused on the cruise I took down the Bosphorous in Istanbul (the Bosphorous is the strait that separates Europe from Asia). After a tiring day, wandering around the historical/old part of the city, being able to sit on the boat and just relax as you pass some of the most incredible sites, was the perfect setting to end my time in Turkey.
Since my main print was so large and bold, I wanted to complement it by creating a secondary print smaller in scale, as well as using some of the colours in the same palette. I drew simple leaf-shaped motifs and filled the whole canvas area. Then when I started removing some of the motifs, the negative space created my version of the Bosphorous. Ahhh I can almost feel the breeze and smell the salt in the air!!
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed reading a little insight into my two prints. Designing a secondary print has certainly added another dimension to the competition and really made me think about the process of creating a cohesive collection of prints. Up until now, I’ve only just designed single prints.
So, could I do that kind of a trip now? I don’t think so. I still love travelling, but these days you’ll see me with a suitcase, staying in a hotel and travelling in comfort – oh yeah and with a toddler trailing behind.