Inspired by TV Textiles

A lot of things inspire my designs. Being outside and walking around town or in nature are big sources of inspiration. But on days when I'm stuck inside or just enjoying some TV time all cozy on the couch, I still can't stop myself from noticing patterns wherever I look. I have even saved a few images over the years on my Instagram feed #tvtextiles.

I love the series The Durells in Corfu (PBS Masterpiece Theater). It's set in 1935 and I am so in love with the fashion that is depicted on the show. I can't help but take snapshots of special patterns I notice as I watch. Afterward, I will look through the images and make little sketches to see a theme arise.  Attached are (blurry) examples of my captures and the sketchbook entry, then design, that followed. Inspiration has no boundaries! What's your secret source of inspiration?

 One of my inspired design

One of my inspired design

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

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!

May Instagram Fave - Lily & Hopie Stockman

Made my May Instagram pick just under the wire this month! I just love Block Shop scarves and one of the sisters behind the company is Lily Stockman. I thoroughly enjoy her images of her colorful studio, paintings, her dog, and her travels. Take a look at her site and feed and enjoy!

And if you want a double dose of awesome images, her sister Hopie's feed is equally wonderful. If you love textiles, color and travel both feeds are worth a follow.

All images are © Lily Stockman

Source: https://www.instagram.com/lilystockman/

Oh Vienna...

I so wish I was heading there now. My friend invited me to join her on a trip to Berlin, Vienna and Budapest (happening next week)—but unfortunately I had to bail. I had hip surgery recently and wouldn't be able to handle that flight, let alone be mobile enough for sightseeing! What a bummer. Boo hoo for me.

Anyway, since my grand hopes of viewing any Weiner Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) art or textiles I could find there have now been dashed, I resorted to an internet search instead. There are many works of art from that company of artists, and the range and scope is incredible—from art, to postcards, to textile and furniture. My eyes are happy.

Vienna Workshop

 

 

 

Weirdly Wonderful

This is just too cool not to share. Zeitguised, a design company based in Berlin, Germany offers so many captivating things that are different from anything I've ever seen. Check out their website here. It's worth a look around.

Some info on the video below as described on their website:

“Void Season” is a simulated fashion project.

Part dreamlike theatre, part lateral cargo cult hustle, a quick succession of bold garment designs acts as an ersatz runway show. In a minimal set of solid backdrops, radiant colors and oblique choreography second the exquisite design of costumes that have been entirely artificially generated.

A wealth of custom procedural surface detail emphasizes the uncanny rift between the realistic presence of the guises and the abstract vacancy of the digitized human movements.

I find these clips weirdly genius. 

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

Katja of Sweden

Katja of Sweden

I love that I am following in the steps of another Katja in textile design and I also love that her designs resonate so much with me—their bold patterns and bright colors really speak to my own design aesthetic.

Katja was born Karin Hallberg in Sweden, and later lived in NYC, where she went to Parsons School of Design. She created wonderful patterned fashions and later designed home textiles as well. 

I didn't realize the connection before, but I have a picture of myself standing in front of a Katja Bedding display in the window of NYC Macy's. The picture was taken in the early 80s and I'm pointing to the large sign of her (and my) name in the window display. It was the first time I'd come across my name anywhere in the United States. I was very excited about it and now I know whose designs they were advertising!  I later bought some of her towels and sheets for my dorm room in college. Funny to think of that now. I wish I could find that photo to share  with you. 

You can read some more about her here.

Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden
Katja of Sweden

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! 


Stella Jean Fall 2016

It's no secret that I have a real love for folk-inspired design. I have always been a big fan of Stella Jean and her past collections of vibrant African wax fabrics and mixed prints. The new Fall/Winter season is just as inspired. I love that you can't tell exactly where the inspiration comes from. Is it Scandinavian? African? Slavic? Aztec? It's all in there—geometric shapes, wraps, bright yet earthy colors, tassels and emblems. It's global. Even the choice of models makes for an exciting united design nation.

 Credit: Regis Colin Berthelier/Now Fashion

Credit: Regis Colin Berthelier/Now Fashion

Designer Spotlight: Agda Osterberg (1891-1987)

Sometimes you come across an artist's work that just makes you shout out loud! This is how I felt when I saw Swedish artist Agda Osterberg's amazing weaving. Behold her skillfull craft in incredible shapes and colors. I often paint florals and rounded shapes; this group of work has inspired me to stretch myself and try some more geometric designs. 

Too bad I don't have the budget for that $66,000.00 runner on the right!

 

Agda Osterberg
Agda Osterberg

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

 

 

 

 

Overwhelmed by Offers ?

Are you overwhelmed by all the offers, courses, classes, DIY, Must-Do's! out there? I sure am. I have a hard enough time trying to get one thing in front of me done, without getting distracted by ads that scream "Skills You Need to Have ", "You've Got to See This", "You Must Try This!", "Learn How To Make Your Life Exactly What You Want It To Be With Zero Effort And Make A Million Dollars Doing It." Although many of the courses teach valuable lessons, most of them come at a high price. 

As a creative person, I'm always up for learning more. I love tutorials, marketing classes, instructional videos. However, I don't like spending money on every single thing I come across. I've found some great free PS tutorials through this site PHLEARN like these here. There are many ways to do the same thing, but I love finding a way that's more efficient. Even if something doesn't pertain exactly to textile design, you can still learn tips and tricks that are transferable. 

Here are a few I found pretty interesting. Do you have any favorite free tutorial sites?

http://phlearn.com/how-to-use-step-and-repeat-in-photoshop

http://phlearn.com/how-to-color-an-illustration-in-photoshop

http://phlearn.com/apply-wallpaper-to-walls-in-photoshop

http://phlearn.com/use-refine-edge-tool-photoshop

 

 

 

 

 

An Icon Lost

Bowie
Bowie
Bowie

The death of David Bowie is still with me a week later. His passing has probably affected me more than any other celebrity in recent years because of his influence on me in my life. I grew up with his music through all the various stages of my youth—from my pre-teen years onward.

My older brothers introduced me to him in the early 80s by giving me a copied cassette tape of Scary Monsters with a handwritten DAVID BOWIE scrawled across it. As a twelve year old his music scared me a little. It was moving and different, and I was pressed to listen to it and almost had to learn to love it. And I did. 

His influence in music, fashion and his courage to be different, permeated the universe. The day he died, I imagined his music being played all around the world and rising up in to the air. I think we are drawn to talented people especially when they are as courageous and forward-thinking with their creativity as he was. 

Bowie
Bowie

Happy New Year 2016!

This quote really moved me when I read it. I often get caught up in thoughts of my past, how wonderful things were—how I thought nothing could be better than the years I went to NYU, or lived in Paris or first arrived in San Francisco. I think about how young, pretty, talented, healthy and strong I was. But wait! Aren't I still all of those things just more grown up and with more amazing stories under my belt? Maybe I have a few extra creaks in my bones and extra pounds around the waist, but I'm still those things. 

I have decided to commit myself to living as healthy and vibrant a life I can—full of creativity, time with family and friends and things that matter. I will always cherish my past experiences—all the moments I can relive, and the stories I can tell—but I'm so ready to see what comes next. I have a feeling the more I open myself up to finding out what the future holds, the more I will experience. Bring it on!

I wish you all many new experiences and some new stories to tell in 2016. Happy New Year everyone! Much joy to you in the coming year. 

My Inspiration this Week

I'm always inspired by world cultures—from the Sami people of Lappland to the Omo tribe in Ethiopia. I also love how tribal and folk wear is so prevalent in today's world of design. Below are some images that really drew me in— can't get enough of the colors, the patterns, the fabric! Some are authentic folk wear and some are modern interpretations, but each of them feeds my creative soul. Click to see more on my Pinterest Folkology board.

Around the world folk cultures. My personal inspiration using images from Pinterest. See more on my Folkology board.