Birds of Paradise : Textile Collection
The Atlantis Hotel, Dubai
Dubai has always captured my imagination and sense of amazement.
Through pictures, books, and TV coverage, I’ve come to envision this place as my own modernized “Never Never Land”. Thus, it made perfect sense that when my first textile design assignment called for a wallpaper design in the art nouveau style, I looked to Dubai as my model location.
In this mirrored repeat, I wanted to express the fresh and tropical atmosphere of an up-scale Dubai resort while keeping true to art nouveau’s organic (and often weird) aesthetic.
In a few weeks, after sketching ideas, compiling color stories, and endless research (I am now a huge fan of Rene Lalique and Muca) the tracing paper copy was created and assembled in a 36″ repeat. That copy was then transferred onto cold press watercolor paper, and the painting began.
Due to my previous knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, I was able to scan in my sketch and apply rough color schemes. After some consulting and tweaking from my professor, I began the more daunting task- making the colors in gauche. Although I had never used this medium, I quickly learned its properties and felt more comfortable. I began to experiment, innovate, and destroy many paint brushes. In particular, I liked an ombre stippling technique I had been playing with and introduced this to my final background.
In addition to the main print, I also made a border and coordinating stripe. This was an invaluable learning experience as I learned to expand my original motifs into shapes suitable for prints with new usage. Balancing the colors between main, stripe, and border was a likeable challenge as well.
For about four weeks this intense little project garnered all my effort and energy. I lost myself in painting this collection, devoting 3 to 6 hours every other day until all 3 pieces were complete. In a way, it was like working on a monastic scripture upon which I meditated daily.
Prior to this class, I had a little experience in digital print, but by the end, I found the hand- based process more controlled and malleable than its computer -based counterpart. I enjoyed the physicality and textures that could be achieved as well. For this project especially, an organic quality was best achieved through this process. Overall, it was a challenging experience that has effected the way I think as an artist in terms of creative process and the way I conceptualize pattern design.