Design Challenge Three: Nicky Ovitt




It’s great to be back for round three. Thank you to everyone who has sent their kind words and encouragement along the way.

This challenge was an interesting one for me because I ended up viewing something I live with every day in a new way. I chose one of our living room windows as the focus of this assignment. The subject is ironic because at least a few times a year I rail on this hugely overgrown orange tree in our neighbor’s yard that sucks up all the light I think we should be getting. (I know… come on now, get some real problems.) But really, in the winter it makes our house even darker and I crave the eastern sunlight that could be gracing that side of the house— and the tree also crowds the dining room windows.

The day I received The Printed Bolt challenge email the oranges were in their usual hanging around state but upon further inspection I found them to be all dressed up by our bountiful wisteria vine! The wisteria has decided to migrate to the neighbor’s yard and now mixes with the orange tree and that purple flower that looks like a hibiscus bush. We had only about a week of luscious, full blooms but the timing was perfect for this design. Here you can see the window, my close-up through the window screen, and a photo of the sun-seeking vine on the corner of our house as seen from the sidewalk in front of the neighbor’s house.


I planted this white wisteria about 10 years ago. I have very fond memories of walking to grade school with my mom in Denton, Texas and all along the route the deliciously overpowering fragrance of wisteria would linger in sweet salutation. I also love mimosa trees and lilac bushes for this same reason.


For this pattern I set out to take Greta Songe’s advise from her last reflections post; to try something new, look for the happy accidents. Another suggestion I’ve had from the judges is to think about multi-directional designs for quilting. I began by drawing the little grouping of blocky oranges which reminded me of orderly emblem-heavy Japanese fabric. The wisteria flowers were done with watercolor and the leaves with my usual pen and ink. The hatch marks were inspired by the screen texture that showed up in my reference photo— another nod to the Japanese fabric influence, and maybe a happy accident? Although I was tempted to create the entire design in a style other than my own, I’m glad I used techniques I feel comfortable with as well. I’ve had a lot of feedback to stay true to my style.

I left out this little praying mantis in my entry pattern but have included him here to show this William Morris-ish colorway.

I think “Citsteria” or “Wistrus” could be a lovely eau de cologne, but maybe a name improvement is in order. They sound a little like eradicated maladies from the turn of the century.

I hope you get out and enjoy the sights and smells of Spring!



Research/Process links:
1. Close-up of my white wisteria.
2. Through the window, oranges and wisteria.
3. Hand embroidery tutorial.
4. Traditional Japanese fabric, Kasuri.
5. Woodblock Japanese fabric by Naomi Ito.
6. Sketches in progress.

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6 comments on “Design Challenge Three: Nicky Ovitt

  1. Helen Lucero on said:

    I love this design. The black background and the orange background work equally well. Nicky has captured oranges, wisteria, crosses, and even a preying mantis in a wonderful overall repeat pattern.

  2. Absolutely beautiful Nicky, color combination is wonderful.
    … plus I just love reading your process and story behind the design. Amazing work!

  3. Wow, Nicky, when you showed me earlier what your inspiration was going to be, I got really excited about it. You totally exceeded my expectations, even though I expected great things! Love how you put so much detail and layering in this while staying true to your style. I’m forever a fan…

  4. I would hang this in my house today. You are amazing, Nicky. The praying mantis is over the top perfection.

  5. I like that you always have another colorway for your designs–because I always seem to like the other one!! Love reading about your design process!!

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