Instagram Fave - @thegreaterbombay

Rachel Lopez, a journalist in Mumbai, has taken time to record her many rides in taxis with their colorful and kitschy ceilings. Under the Insta handle of @thegreaterbombay, you can savor all the delectable patterns that she captures. The wonderful contrast of her scarves and red-framed glasses with the ceilings just adds that extra vibrancy of mixed patterns that I love. Take the colorful ride with her and enjoy the sights.

February Instagram Fave - Vanessa Amisano

I see lots of great things on Instagram and I follow tons of people, but Melbourne-based artist Vanessa Amisano's work really caught my eye. Her distinct style is vibrant and full of pattern which is of course, my jam.

I especially love her 100 girls project. I like how clean and simple her girls are yet also colorful and dynamic—each with a distinct style and personality. And their outfits! Don't you want to own these clothes?

Connecting with creative Instagram friends around the world is a wonderful thing that feeds my soul. Follow Vanessa's Instagram hereAnd check out her site for more in the coming weeks. 

 All images used with permission of the artist. © 2017 Vanessa Amisano

© 2017 Vanessa Amisano

2016 West Coast Craft Fair

West Coast Craft

 

Here are just a few I enjoyed, out of hundreds of vendors. Click through to see more from the designers.

Stitch Knit Weave

I've always had a love of needlecraft. At a young age, my German Oma and my Mom both taught me to knit, sew and embroider and I am totally amazed at the new modern twists I see everywhere now. Whether it's quilting a bold colorblocked dress, weaving fabric scraps to make a shirt, or embroidering on a photograph, it's pretty astounding how creative people are.

About ten years ago I took my own turn at a twist on classical embroidery and created things like cityscapes and birds on wires—here are several examples. I had a few shows back in the day, but my love of pattern design took over. I don't spend much time with thread or needles anymore but I still love to get inspired by what's out there now. You can see more on my Pinterest board Stitch Knit Weave.

(I still have stitched items for sale, feel free to email me if interested in seeing more of my private collection).

 © Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

Images Below Row 1: Emily Parkinson, Celeste Tesoriero, Chilise Patternson, Row 2: Gintare Pasakarnyte, Karen Barbe, Viktor & Rolf, Row 3: Gemma Beech, Kustaa Saksi, Laerke Bagger, Row 4: Liz L Payne, Marloes Duyjer, Maryanne Moodie, Row 5: Mina Perhonen, Sharish Shafiq, Hasta Mostly

Artist Spotlight: Bunnie Reiss

I love seeing art out in public spaces and especially when it is a creation by L.A. artist Bunnie Reiss. I discovered her vibrant art recently and right away had to have a piece of my very own (see gloves below). It makes me so happy to see them on my wall, as her artwork has all the elements I love, and some of which I incorporate in my own work. Decorative folk elements, check. Bright colors, check. Strange birds, check. 

She not only paints amazing wallscapes, but also works with textiles, odd materials, creates installations, illustrations and more. See more of her work here on her site.  

 Images were obtained courtesy of artist. All images © 2016 Bunnie Reiss.

© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
© Bunnie Reiss on Katja Designs SF Blog
 My very own pair of Animal Gloves! Sigh.

My very own pair of Animal Gloves! Sigh.

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight - Ugo Rondinone

I came across an image on Instagram of these colorful stacked rocks in the desert. Anything this bright is bound to catch my eye. After investigating a bit further, I found Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone's website and on it he says he has made his site-specific installation, Seven Magic Mountains, "a creative expression of human presence in the desert...that  punctuates the Mojave with a poetic burst of form and color."

And that it does. It's hard to grasp the true scale in the photos, but these colorful boulders stand 30 feet high, which means the bottom rock alone, is taller than a person. Cool! They are located about 10 miles south of Las Vegas and are up for another year or so. Road trip anyone?

Watch a really cool video on how this installation came to be over a 5-year period HERE>

  All images are from Ugo Rondinone's website. Click through to see more.

All images are from Ugo Rondinone's website. Click through to see more.

June Instagram Fave - LIVINGPATTERN

Wow! I love to see how people are influenced by nature and this feed by Jenny Kiker is full of lush botanicals along with the sketches and paintings they inspire. She is a botanical artist who started Living Pattern "to connect herself and her audience to the still delicateness of nature and to themselves." I feel like I'm breathing fresher air just looking at these!

Reflective Patterns

© Katja Ollendorff

Some folks love either designing in repeat or putting designs into repeat, but I must admit it's not my favorite task. I'm much more of a free flow kind of person. But here is one easy way I can create a quick and interesting repeating pattern, that's different from the traditional square or half drop repeat. And if you are interested, you can watch a 15 minute video of me sketching what is to later become this beautiful decorative pattern.

WATCH HERE>

It's pretty amazing how simple it is and it's fun too!  It took me under an hour to create this pattern from start to finish. Of course I did a tiny bit of cleanup and if I were to do multiple colors, it would take longer, but after I did a live trace in Illustrator, I left the variations of gray because I liked the "antiqued" look that it created and that saved time.

Go to my Product Samples tab to see more reflective patterns that I have designed to be used as tablecloths.

 

  Original scan

Original scan

  Clean up any gaps

Clean up any gaps

So to start, fill a page in your sketchbook with a design—of anything! The key is to have shapes running off the edges and corners so that they will join when flipped horizontally and vertically. Keep this in mind as you are drawing and try to envision what will happen when they are reversed and joined. It makes for less clean up down the road.

Next bring your sketch into Photoshop and flip and copy the image both horizontally and vertically on the top, bottom and sides. You may need to fill in and do slight adjustments at this point if there are any gaps or strange seams (see image below left). 

That's it. You have yourself a cool reflective pattern that you can play with. Have fun! 

  Flip horizontally and then vertically

Flip horizontally and then vertically

 

 

Nature Inspired

Since I've been working from home this past year, I sometimes get a bit str crazy. For me, the best solution for this is to get out into nature and fresh air. I decided to take a drive up to Mount Tamalpais yesterday morning. It was so refreshing! It's only 40 min from the city after all and it's really paradise on a weekday morning. Very few people are up there and I kinda love to be there as the fog lifts and reveals the amazing green hills and views below. 

If you follow my two Instagram feeds (this one and this one) you might have seen a few pictures I posted. There were all sorts of sweet and colorful wildflowers all over the hills and they got me inspired to make this when I got home. 

 All designs and images © Katja Ollendorff

All designs and images © Katja Ollendorff

April Instagram Fave: Ana Montiel

It's been a while since I shared a favorite Instagrammer. I just love Ana's colorful, abstract artwork and bold patterns. Her feed, that is filled with vibrant shapes and color as well as wonderful inspirational photography is a joy to peruse.

You can see more of her artwork on her website here. and her Instagram feed here

All images © Ana Montiel

 

 

Color Changes Everything

Are you someone who...

  • Mixes paint and chooses a palette before beginning a design?
  • Uses reference material or an existing palette for inspiration?
  • Just wings it and let's the design speak first and the colors follow?

I think lean toward #3 with a little #2 thrown in. I've heard that many people begin painting with a specific color palette in mind and let the colors guide the design. I personally like to design in black and white first. I almost never have a palette in mind until the layout is finished. Once I have the full design in front of me, colors just start appearing in my mind based on the kind of design I have created. I open up my swatch panel and really just start plugging them in as I begin to visual the end result. I never worry about the initial palette because I know I can always change it.  Even if I paint something in color, I usually don't think too hard about the colors I put down.

Color can change the vibe of a design so much—I lean towards bold and bright colors, but that's just my personal aesthetic. If I have a client who is requesting a subtler color palette, I have to be able to change that design up to work for them too. 

Here are some examples of how different a design can look when the palette is switched up for different uses. Which would you apply for wallpaper?Stationery? A shower curtain? The possibilities and uses are endless! 


Minted and PBKids / PBTeen - Vote on February 19th!

Vote for my
design on minted.
Botanical Garden
see more from Katja Ollendorff
vote for me!
Check out my competition in Christmas photo cards and Save the Date cards at Minted.

I've entered another contest through Minted.com—this time it's a collaboration with PBKids and PBTeen. My artwork is inspired by a trip to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Hope you like it! If you do, you can vote on February 19th. Click on the button to the right  and rate my design a  "5" to ensure a high vote tally for me. Thanks for supporting!

Putting Inspiration To Work

I often visit libraries and used bookstores in search of new inspiration. I found a few great books recently and wanted to share how I get inspired by imagery and designs, and then capture various motifs to make my own. I found this book on Erté by Charles Spencer at the Russian Hill Bookstore and found that it contained a huge amount of inspiration.

Erte - Charles Spencer
Erte5.jpg
Erte - Charles Spencer

While flipping through it, I sat with my sketchbook and noted little details that spoke to me and my aesthetic. Once I have a selection of motifs I like to take a page from my sketchbook like the one here, into Photoshop and start playing with various items to see what I can come up with. I sometimes use individual motifs or combine a few—the possibilities are endless.

Can you tell which ones I used to make the patterns below? With color and scale changes, rotating, reflecting and putting my own spin on things, the designs now feel like mine but I know Erté was my inspiration and that's I nice thought. Because I did these designs in the same hand and used a complimentary color palette, they also feel like they could work as part of a collection. 

I hope you have fun finding your own inspiration and putting it to work.

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 © 2016 Katja Ollendorff

© 2016 Katja Ollendorff

 

 

 

 

November Instagram Fave: Alea Toussaint

Alea Toussaint on Katja Blog

I stumbled upon this Instagram feed and was immediately taken with the incredible patterns that Alea Toussaint makes out of a variety of objects. Whether it be flowers or peppercorns, pens or sequins—she makes one stop to take a closer look. Just beautiful!

She is a graphic designer and pattern artist based in Minneapolis. If you would like to see more of her work, visit her website here www.aleatoussaint.com

And you can buy prints of her work on Society 6 here.

 

 

 

 

All images are used with permission of the artist ©2015 Alea Toussaint

 

West Coast Craft 2015

I had an amazing time this past weekend at the 2015 West Coast Craft Fair at Fort Mason. There were so many great vendors my eyes were just popping out of my head! I could have really done some damage but I was good, and restrained myself from breaking my bank.

Here are just a few of the 250+ artists, designers and craftspeople who exhibited. There were so many wonderful things but these stalls particularly caught my eye. I met a lot of really nice people and was very inspired by these talented artists. If you missed it this time around, I highly recommend staying on the lookout for the next show. It was by far the most enjoyable one I've been to at the Pavillion. 

p.s. please excuse the not great quality iPhone shots - I forgot my camera at home! Also, when you click the images below you will be taken to the sites. Just click the back button to return to the blog.

On My Inspiration Board

Do you love Pinterest? Do you collect a gazillion images but then never look back through them? Women are gatherers after all. We love to scoop up pretty things and then store them away. It's in our nature.

I make a point to go back through my boards and gather up images that are speaking to me at that moment. Obviously I love them all because I chose to hoard them in the first place. But it's fun to think of a theme or trend you are feeling at the time and revisit them. 

So what have I been feeling this week? What's on my inspiration board and speaking to me right now? Well it's definitely bold and bright—did you expect anything less from me? 

 Click through to my  Fabric Textile Print and Pattern  board for sources 

Click through to my Fabric Textile Print and Pattern board for sources