It was 30 years ago that Susan Sontag wrote that “Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted”. Imagine what she’d have to say about the Instagram epidemic!
But I hope to be forgiven, at least in part, for my compulsive snap-snap-snapping, by putting some of my visual collecting to work, and there are certainly some images that plant the seeds for of my fabric designs, even if that wasn’t the intention behind taking them. I find that the more I notice something… the more I notice it! And when I take photos of those things along the way, they start to show a pattern of noticing that may not have been obvious at the time.
Here’s the hard evidence of the usefulness of my photos, some of which helped create the Paradise is Here collection, which was inspired by noticing and thining about plants in the city (specifically, after my trip to Tokyo).
Airborne: Loved the exuberant lifting of these succulent leaves against the rigid lines behind, inspiring – to some extent at least – the Airborne print.
Fronds: If you were following me on Instagram last year, you might have noticed that I kept sticking my head into bunches of palm fronds to take photos of light through their overlapping leaves. The Fronds pattern is what came out of that experiment, and I love the way this design is spiky and hard at one view, but also has the soothing shade of a palm frond in its DNA.
ZigZag: There’s no doubt that ZigZag is the most literal depiction of something I saw. I simply love the humour of these palm fronds poking through the gaps in the fence that’s trying to keep them in. They’re curious about what’s on the other side. This really feels to me like a perfect depiction of how plants get along in the city, overcoming restrictions we place on them.
Palmetto: Such sharp, spikey shapes evoke the harshness of city surfaces, and yet they are made by something so green and full of a sense of tropical lushness. I love the contradiction.
See more inspiration pics in this original blog post introducing the Paradise is Here collection here.