Design Challenge One: Kate Austin

Blooming Coral / 10"x10"

Blooming Coral / 10″x10″

Blooming Coral coordinating solids:  reef, lagoon, mar azul

Blooming Coral coordinating solids:
reef, lagoon, mar azul

Blooming Coral / detail

Blooming Coral / detail

 

 

 

Our first design challenge- to adventure to a new environment- came in the middle of a massive snowstorm and my escapist, winter-addled brain jumped at the opportunity to take off to someplace far, far away. Someplace warm and beachy where I could be swimming through a coral reef! I have always wanted to try scuba diving- it looks so magical and beautiful. The coral reef beckoned as a whole new world of colours and forms to explore…

So I bundled up the family and we headed over to our local museum to check out the miniature coral reef. I did some sketches and took some pictures and I wasn’t the only one inspired by the reef that day!

One of the many fabulous corals at the museum

One of the many fabulous corals at the museum

Love the fish with the lights on their noses!

By Hugo, age 6.5

What struck me as I watched the corals is how they move with the water currents, and how they twinkle in the water as they open and close, fronds flowing this way and that. I wanted to capture and convey this in my design. Also how corals are kind of like florals and yet nothing like florals at the same time. They’re botanical in an other-worldly way, and I love that!

Floral corals and kooky popcorn floral

More corals at the museum

I was reminded of Matisse’s paper cut-out works - so very coralesque and lively.

La Gerbe by Henri Matisse, 1953

La Gerbe by Henri Matisse, 1953

I was also very taken with this pattern in the latest Liberty floral collection – it’s got that sparkle that is speaking to me in a big way right now.
Liberty of London- SS2013- Castile B (the other colorways are great too)

Liberty of London- SS2013- Castile B (the other colorways are great too)

I would say the most difficult part of this fun and fabulous challenge was choosing just one design to submit. I like to work in series-  to explore many different aspects of a theme. I made lots of sketches in a range of styles, from representational to abstract.

p.s. this is currently my all time fave pencil.

p.s. this is currently my all time fave pencil.

sketch from dried coral

sketch from dried coral

I’m psyched because now I have the beginnings of a collection!

Here are the other two patterns I’ve been working on:

this is one of several colorways- my favourite and possibly the most dramatic

“Reef” in japan colorway., plus coordinating solids

 

the neon/neutral trend still makes me happy

“Nautica” in sand colorway, plus coordinating solids

It was hard to decide which to submit. I polled quite a few friends and family members, who were super helpful. It was close, but in the end I chose Blooming Coral for its versatility and simplicity. And twinklability!

Once I had decided, I worked on a few colorways- playing with moods, and colour combinations (one of my all time fave activities!) Here are the two runners up for this pattern:

Blooming Coral in Reds

Blooming Coral in Reds

 

Blooming Coral in Multi

Blooming Coral in Multi

 

 

I was really drawn to the blues and greens of the sea and night sky. Here’s a mock up of a patchwork quilt made from my pattern and the three coordinating solids. I love the soothing, calm effect of this oceanic palette.

The other side of this quilt (in my mind) is hot coral pink! Zowie!

The other side of this quilt (in my mind) is hot coral pink! Zowie!

This was a wonderful adventure- I had a great time working on these patterns, and I learned a ton along the way!Austin headshot

 

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7 comments on “Design Challenge One: Kate Austin

  1. Kate…
    Love the freshness and movement of your design, and yes… The “ombré” effect of your color palette in your quilt mockup is very soothing ;)

  2. loved these patterns, Kate!! i too have that same Liberty swatch saved for inspiration and twinklability is my new fave term! looks great mocked up as a quilt.

  3. Holly Helgeson on said:

    Beautiful pattern Kate! I really love the color palette that you picked. The pattern works wonderfully in the quilt with your coordinating colors!

  4. I love the color choices. It’s like a vast sea of little bioluminescent creatures and plants.

  5. I prefer your Japanese-inspired design. It’s so rich! Love it!

  6. I loved seeing bits of your sketching process and I think you were very successful in translating your inspiration into a bold print! Well done!

  7. Great colour selection and loved seeing / reading your process :)

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