New Products in my Shop

I am happy to announce that I have a whole slew of new products for sale on my site. Visit the SHOP tab to see what's in. I'm currently adding to my list of kitchen items which include coffee mugs, coasters and travel cups. Aprons, oven mitts and tea towels are soon to come.

Next up will be some great new accessories for the home including fabric, pillows and ready to hang artwork. So stayed tuned - there will be plenty available in time for the holidays. Wait what! Holidays? Well, it's never too soon.

 11 oz. and 15 oz. coffee mugs © Katja Ollendorff

11 oz. and 15 oz. coffee mugs © Katja Ollendorff

 Travel cups and tumblers © Katja Ollendorff

Travel cups and tumblers © Katja Ollendorff

 © Katja Ollendorff

© Katja Ollendorff

 Coordinating set of coasters © Katja Ollendorff

Coordinating set of coasters © Katja Ollendorff

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

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! 


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

 

 

 

 

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. 

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

 

Les Ballet Russes

Have you ever heard of Leon Bakst? No? Well perhaps you have heard of the Ballets Russes, a dance company that was concieved by Sergei Diaghilev, that performed throughout Europe and North and South America between 1909 and 1929.

I did ballet for about 10 of my (much younger) years and I have always loved the world of dance and still go to the ballet regularly. The Ballet Russes has always inspired me because the costumes are so incredibly beautiful, and designed by artists who were very avant garde for the time—from Picasso, Matisse, Chanel and yes, Leon Bakst.

His costumes are bold and bright and I can really imagine that the simple shapes and vibrant colors would be perfect for viewing from a distance while moving across the stage. Here is just a selection of a few I loved in particular. How beautiful that must have been!


He also did set design, and created patterns for textile that were never put into production (as far as anyone knows). Here are a few incredible examples in rich palettes that I found here.

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 

Moyo Magazine - Issue 8

I've just been reading the latest issue of Make it in Design's Moyo Magazine. If you are a lover of all things patterntastic, then take a look through this great FREE online publication that the site offers. It has 112 pages of great interviews, insider tips, tutorials, Q&As with people in the textile industry, and more. Click here for access to Make it in Designs's Moyo Magazine's Issue 8 and prepare to get inspired.  

Valentino Spring 2015 Couture

Ok I'm a little late. The season may have passed but the beauty of this collection will never die. My eyes just eat this right up! There is something so satisfying to me about the rich colors and folk patterns—they just speak to my inner European. The patterns are of another time and place yet so familiar; and now incorporated into our modern lives. I love how appreciated these textiles are. I believe folk style is so loved because people want to cherish past traditions and celebrate where they came from. 

Photo credit: Gianni Pucci  / Indigitalimages.com

Getting Loose

A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon with some acrylic paint—something I hadn't pulled out in a while. I had fun making lots of splashes, daubs and strokes. This past week I spent time making some loose patterns using my playtime markings.

© Katja Ollendorff
©Katja Ollendorff
© Katja Ollendorff
© Katja Ollendorff

And here is the result of that playing. Some simple, yet bold designs in bright fruity colors.


Letting It Flow in Black & White

The "letting it flow" piece.

I was in a bit of a creative slump so I decided to just sit with a large white page for a bit. Instead of worrying about a palette, I got out some black free-flowing acrylic (love that stuff!) and just filled a large round brush with it. I wanted to see what would happen if I approached a design with absolutely no intention—no aforethought as to what I wanted the design to become. Most times I go in with an idea or vision of what I want. 

It felt really good to let the ink just flow on the page and see what would happen naturally. I had been using Sharpie's lately to draw motifs and it felt great to switch mediums and try something different. Something looser. Before I knew it, I had filled my page, and I was super pleased with the result. It actually got me excited to do more, so now I can confidently say my block is down!

Through this experiment for myself, I have learned that starting a design not thinking about the end result, allowed my inner creative voice do its thing. I urge you to try it the next time you don't think you have anything left in you, because I bet you do!

Wine Time

How cool is this!?  My friend Scott Lucas of Just Cook Foods (a super duper delicious spice blend company) created 300 bottles of a Rutherford Valley Cabernet and asked me to design the label. How could I say no!?

I created the artwork for the label and worked in partnership with Jenny Doll, a talented designer who specializes in wine labels. Check out some of her work here Jenny Doll Designs. It was a really fun collaboration.

Back in June I posted a photo of me painting outside at my friends' home. Well this is their backyard, where I did my concepting for the label. It's so fun to see it come full circle. It will be a few months before it will be ready to drink and I can't wait to try it!

Katja Ollendorff
Katja Ollendorff
Source: www.katjaollendorff.com/blog