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TEXT & TONIC - Y and Z July 07 2020, 0 Comments

The last two letters in my Text & Tonic design series are interesting because they represent nothingness, singularity and duality.

 

 Say yes and you'll figure it out afterward. Tina Fey

 

   

Galactic Yin Yang                          Tina

Yin and Yang is the concept of dualism, of cosmic duality, and the pattern I've created here using the symbol is a reminder that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites.

Tina Fey's quotation suggests that we should respond spontaneously to the situation at hand. Later we can guide the results of our actions in a logical way. Two very different processes...same brain. Some might call it reckless but there's an undeniable strength and truth to it.

 

 

Zero is supposed to be nothing, but works wonders if on the right side. Anonymous

 

   

Zaha Hadid architecture                     Frankenstein  
The eye-catching zig zag pattern always gets attention. When used as an architectural style element, it's exciting; on roads it focuses attention; on furniture it adds modernity, in hair styles it speaks of confidence. This is a lively pattern.

 

The author of the quotation for the Z pattern is Anonymous. There's a long list of writers with that name, from ancient Mesopotamian works to present day. Anonymity is used when content is political, controversial or when privacy is required. But words must be said. Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein was created when she was a teenager and published anonymously in 1818 when she was twenty years old. How many people would have taken a twenty year old author seriously? Her name appeared on the book cover in the 1821 edition.

 

 

It's a wrap! I hope you've enjoyed reading about the history of patterns in my Text & Tonic design series. All of the wonderful women quoted in this series are strong, intelligent, often funny. They've inspired me to be creative. I enjoyed doing the research. You can see them all in the Text & Tonic collections.

My next design series concerns matters of the heart. I'll keep you informed.

Until then.....

Hasta luego amigos.

Val

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEXT & TONIC - S T U June 23 2020, 0 Comments

The letters S, T, and U are are the focus of my latest blog. I've matched these letters with stripe, trellis, and undirectional patterns. Follow me and read about these patterns, and read the words of wisdom of three interesting women.


  

Brevity is the soul of lingerie. Dorothy Parker


     

      The Devil's Cloth                                    Dorothy Parker's Daring Wit

Stripes have always made a bold statement. Associated with the devil in the Middle Ages in Europe, stripes also came to symbolize freedom and unity after the American Revolution. They've become a mainstay in contemporary fashion.

Dorothy Parker was a legendary American literary figure, a poet, writer, critic, satirist. Known for her biting wit, she was one of the few female members of the Algonquin Round Table.  Dorothy, labeled the wittiest woman in America, was also a committed civil rights supporter.  She twisted Shakespeare's adage "Brevity is the soul of wit" to create her own wry aphorism. Now, that's a confident woman!

 

To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. Elizabeth Gilbert

 

French India trellis arcade                 Eat Pray Love India

The trellis structure appears in botanical landscapes throughout history. Originally used to support vines, it has become a creative design opportunity in and beyond our gardens.

The American author Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her memoir of self-discovery during her around-the-world journey. Eat, Pray, Love became a best seller and was turned into a popular film. Elizabeth has participated in fund raising for refugees and aid for childrens' schools in Nepal. Her philanthropic ventures have helped to support and guide many children to grow into a productive and positive futures.



Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
Margaret Mead

   

night sky                                                                   Coming of Age in Samoa

I've chosen an undirectional pattern as an exuberant example of free-form graphic expression. Large and unknowable, this non-conforming explosion belongs to all of us at any time. When the fences are down, there's an invitation to explore.

The cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead was a writer and exlporer. Margaret was a fearless individual whose discoveries and conclusions provoked controversy. She knew that discoveries were not made travelling along the beaten path. Margaret Mead explored the unknown and brought her discoveries to the world.  

 

These three home decor items, along with many others, are now available in the collections section of my website. I hope you see something that you like for your home.

 

 

 
I'll see you at the next blog: Text & Tonic V, W, X.

Until then, hasta luego mi amigos.

Val

 

 


TEXT & TONIC - M N O June 09 2020, 0 Comments


My latest blog introduces you to three exceptional women, artists who overcame obstacles, adversity, and discrimination, then became famous, and shared their abundance.

 

 

Where there is a woman, there is magic.  Ntozake Shange 

     

                  Ntozake Shange                                         That’s a Moiré 

I find the moire pattern interesting because there's always an impression of motion. Sometimes it appears suddenly, but it's always fun to play with.

Ntozake Shange was an amazing black feminist, American,  playwright and poet, whose work focused on race and black power. She was a pioneer in theatre arts, blending poetry, music, dance and drama. The 'choreopoem' shook the theatre world and challenged the traditional three-act structure.

 

I wasn't really naked. I simply didn't have any clothes on.  Josephine Baker

      

Josephine Baker                                    Mosquito net suit

The net pattern is seen in many different places: fishing nets, mosquito nets, and in the medical profession. But it's in fashion that the net pattern reveals itself at its most flamboyant.

In 1926, the 20 year old Josephine Baker  left America and landed in Paris, where she fascinated the French with her outrageous dancing style and was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre, was a fearless civil rights activist, and created her own Rainbow Tribe family of adopted children. And she showed the French a few things about dressing in style.

 

 

There are no mistakes, only opportunities.  Tina Fey

    

St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow                        Tina Fey

The ogee pattern first appeared in the middle east and by the 14th century Europe it was used in Venetian Gothic and Gothic Revival architectural styles. This old world pattern has travelled through history and now decorates our contemporary homes.

Tina Fey is an award winning actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright. For her enormous contribution to the entertainment industry, she has been voted the Entertainer of the year and won the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Tina is known for her commitment to charity works and global development projects. 

 

The three inspirational quotations in this blog appear on a variety of home decor products in the Text & Tonic design series. They're available on my website. May they always inspire you.

               

 

I'm looking forward to writing my next blog about three more fascinating women and their words of wisdom.

Until then, hasta luego amigos.

Val

 

 

 


TEXT & TONIC - J K L June 02 2020, 0 Comments

In this blog I'll focus on letters J, K and L, and introduce you to a puzzle, a key, and a mystery.

 

 

Joy has no cost.  Marianne Williamson

The jigsaw puzzle was created by a map engraver as a wooden instructional tool in 1700s England. When the puzzles were mass produced on cardboard in the USA, they became a cheap and fun pastime. There are puzzles now of Renaissance paintings and Abstract Expressionist art. 

 

transparent puzzle                       Jackson Pollock                                     love will prevail

In step with today’s search for self and spirituality, Marianne Williamson offers a way to help people in their quests. Sometimes referred to as the priestess of the New Age, Marianne offers suggestions to the millions who seek her guidance.

 

 

 

Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.  Sylvia Plath

The Greek key pattern does not belong to the Greeks alone. It's been found in Egyptian tombs, ancient Chinese buildings and sculptures, and Mayan carvings. A beautiful pattern, decorative, simple, and enduring.

   

        Detail of the Ara Pacis exterior frieze                                          The Bell Jar

Sylvia Plath (1932–1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Talented, beautiful, tragic. Her brave honesty left us too soon. She left us with an understanding of the complexity of the soul.

 

 

 

There's more to life than being a passenger.  Amelia Earhart

The enduring flexible lattice pattern shows up in architecture, in music tuning, and in pastry. And if we look up in the sky, we just might understand that the application of the lattice pattern design will fly us into the future.

     
       Amelia flies                                                             US Air Mail stamp                    3D lattice rabbit      

Aviator Amelia Earhart  set many flying records and tirelessly promoted the advancement of women in aviation. In 1937, during a flight to circumnavigate the globe, she vanished. Investigations into her mysterious disappearance continue today. Her legacy lives on.

 

             

When you're not involved with mysteries or puzzles, take a look at my colourful Text & Tonic design collection for your home decor. I think you'll find something you'll like.

I hope you found this blog interesting. Some puzzles will never be solved.

 

Hasta luego amigos.

Val


TEXT & TONIC - G H I May 28 2020, 0 Comments

I enjoy blogging about my design series because I’m learning about the lives of some fascinating women. And I've found that many of the textile patterns that we live with today were created in ancient times.

 

"Instant gratification is not soon enough." Meryl Streep

The worldwide popularity of the gingham pattern was originally developed in India and Indonesia, exported to Europe and into the American colonies in early 17th century. Now we find gingham everywhere; we wear it, sit on it, eat on it. It's on cars, on Easter eggs, and on statues. It's not just for cowgirls. 

 

 

 Dior car                                                           vintage gingham                             Into The Woods 
Meryl Streep, actor extraordinaire, has played many characters including a prime minister, a holocaust survivor, and a whistle blower. Her talents have been acknowledged by fans and peers alike, and she's seen as one of the best actors of her generation. With this kind of adoration, I think I can learn a lot from Meryl when I sit down with a bag of popcorn and explore her creativity in the world of cinema.

 

 

"If there's no chocolate in heaven, I'm not going."  Jane Seabrook

The use of the herringbone pattern dates back to the Roman Empire where it was used in roadway construction. Filippo Brunellechi's creation of the breathtaking cupola of Santa Maria del Fiore was made possible by using the herringbone brick pattern. 

   
Roman Road                                          Santa Maria del Fiore                      Furry Logic

Jane Seabrook is an illustrator and designer known for her detailed paintings of wildlife. Her watercolours of animals, which she pairs with quotes, speak to the human condition. We are encouraged to laugh and feel good, and get on with it.

 

 

"Nature is commonplace. Imitation is more interesting."  Gertrude Stein

The Ikat pattern employs the resist dyeing technique. Ikat textiles are created in many traditional textiles centres around the world. The characteristic fuzzy patterning is prized by many textile collectors.

   
Woven ikat fabric                               Gertrude Stein 1980 Andy Warhol          Checkerboard 1915 Juan Gris

Gertrude Stein was a modernist literary pioneer and an enthusiastic patron of avant-garde art. She was a leading figure of the pre-World War I art circles in Paris. Along with many others, the Cubist artist Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso, frequented Gertrude's Parisienne salon.

 

               

Here are a few of the many fun items now available on my website. I think you'll find something there to brighten your home.

 

I'm looking forward to sharing more about some fascinating women with you in the next blog: Text & Tonic J  K  L.

Until then.

Hasta luego amigos.

Val

 

 

 


TEXT & TONIC - A B C May 12 2020, 0 Comments

 
As mentioned in my previous blog, I'd like to introduce you to TEXT & TONIC, a series of graphic designs I've created using three elements:  pattern, alphabet, and quotations.  Let's begin at the beginning...


 
"I’m a woman of very few words, but lots of action." Mae West

I've placed Mae West’s quote about action on a version of the argyle pattern. This pattern became popular in the 1920's when it showed up on the Duke of Windsor’s sports outfits.  I wonder what Mae would say about that.

Mae was a woman of action and courage, with a genius for comedy. Over her seventy year career, Mae understood that she had to challenge the customs of the day, take risks, and at times, live outside the law in order to be successful. She landed in jail briefly in the twenties, saved Paramount from bankruptcy in the thirties, and was at one time the highest paid woman in the USA. In 1935 Mae's lips even inspired Salvador Dali to design a sofa.  

Mae West knew how to make enemies and she understood how to turn enemies into friends. From her, I've learned that disobedience, wit, action, and charm, can take us far. Later, we can relax on a red sofa.  




"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve put Eleanor Roosevelt's quote on a stylized version of the basket weave pattern. Images of woven baskets were found over 20,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. Woven baskets are seen still in markets all around the world. Some things will always enure.

Eleanor Roosevelt's legacy has been woven into our history. In her quote, she encourages us to believe in the beauty of our dreams knowing that dreams lead us into the future.

If You Ask Me

This remarkable woman turned many of her dreams into reality. We've reaped the rewards of here actions, including her contribution to the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I’m reminded  by Eleanor Roosevelt to believe in my dreams....and to dream big. 



 
 When you have confidence, you feel like you’re much younger. Maye Musk

The striking chevron pattern is the background for a quote from Maye Musk. This pattern shows up in Ancient Greece, in Byzantine architecture, European heraldry, and in contemporary decor.

  

a queen's headress        Maye Musk photo

Maye Musk is the epitome of self confidence. She tells me that confidence and decades of hard work can lead to success. With the right amount of confidence, I feel that I could fly to the moon...I'm working on it.

I’m reminded that there are many extraordinary women who have made their mark in history by thinking outside the box and asking questions. Women like: Émilie du Châtelet, who was a scientist and intellectual in the 1800s; the Countess of Lovelace who was the world’s first computer programmer in the mid-1800s; and Rosalind Miles who wanted to know Who Cooked The Last Supper? 

I like to think about all these wonderful women when I'm taking a walking. They're good companions and good for my confidence.

            

Here are just three of the many new items available on my website. These patterns and strong quotes are the foundation of this new design series. You're sure to find something there to brighten your home.

Stay tuned for D, E, and F next week.

Hasta luego,

Val


TEXT & TONIC - A to Z May 07 2020, 0 Comments

It’s time celebrate Mother Earth’s gift of Spring: life’s eternal pattern of change and regeneration.

 

In the spirit of change, I’ve been inspired to create a colourful design series, using three features: pattern, the alphabet, and quotations.

I’ve chosen 26 patterns, starting with argyle ending with zigzag. The origins of these patterns are fascinating and I'm happy to share their story with you in my upcoming blog  series.

With each new design, a single letter is the visual focus. I've been inspired by artists who have used the alphabet in unique, creative ways. Illustrator Edward Gorey applied his style to a very enjoyable alphabet book called The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

 

Quotations are the third feature of this design project. I'll introduce you to some remarkable women who offer us their words of wisdom--some sincere, some hilarious. When Amelia Earhart in her quote tells us that "There's more to life than just being a passenger", we know she's telling us that we can be brave and we can fly on our own. I'm looking up, Amelia.

I'm looking forward to sharing my new designs with you beginning next Tuesday, May 12th. Until then....


Hasta luego,
Val