A peek into the inspiration and process behind our newest bandanas.
After a rainy winter, California was in bloom this spring. A “super bloom” some called it. There were showy fields of poppies a day’s drive from LA, but it didn’t take a road trip to experience the spectacle. The city was bursting with grasses, voluptuous bougainvillea, and chest high mustard. Pollen accumulated on our windowpanes. Mini meadows sprang up in sidewalk cracks. Empty lots looked more like pastoral fields than urban neglect. The days got blustery in late March, and it wasn’t a mystery what caused my sudden severe allergies. A couple weeks later we took a birthday trip to Carrizo Plain to see rolling hills blanketed in yellow hill daisies and purple phacelia. Still sniffling, I spent the day snapping photos in between nose blows. My allergies made the super bloom seem all the more pervasive. I couldn’t get flowers out of my head, literally. And so, there you have it, the only print I could have designed- so bombarded with blooms as I was.
As with all my bandanas, the patterns are hand drawn originals inspired by historical textiles and patterns. This keeps the aesthetic grounded in something that I hope will never look dated. By looking at historical textiles for inspiration, I know I’m creating something that will stand the test of time. This intention is an important component to our sustainable practices.
Biodiversity being a theme with my real life experience, I looked at multiple sources with a celebratory floral focus. The airy sprigs at the center of the design stem from these French textile sample books. While the denser border reflects the exuberant folk flora seen on the painted houses of Zalipie, Poland.
I will usually sketch florals as separate objects in my notebook first, then refine a bit by inking onto tracing paper. I scanned in these drawings to the computer and played with layouts in photoshop. When I was a student they made us do our pattern layouts & seamless repeats by hand, using tracing paper, a ruler and triangle. That experience makes me appreciate this step of the process so much more. After many hours drawing, it’s a relief switching to a medium with ctrl+z.
This pattern took a long time to perfect in photoshop. So many little sprigs and twigs to manage. When the layout is done I get the file ready for screen printing.
Meanwhile, the bandanas were being dyed. (A blog post for another day.) When it was time to choose print colors, deciding a white print on the blue cotton was a breeze.
I had a tougher time with the logwood dyed silk. When flipping through the Pantone book proves overwhelming, I started looking for bits of color around the house. My trusted screenprinter helped me tweak the color formulas. He’s been doing this for over 40 years and can write match colors perfectly on the first try.
In the end, I decided to move forward with both a navy and henna-brown. Both are available for the time being. Do you have a favorite?