Friday, January 14, 2011

Rococo Doodle Damask

(Note: at the time of this post (1:45 EST), Spoonflower's site, including contest page, was down due to issues with Amazon Web Services.  Hopefully it will be back up soon!)

This past Tuesday night I once again worked late into the night, slinging vectors and pushing pixels to create another repeated textile design.

Spoonflower's current fabric of the week contest theme is Rococo.  Like toile du jouy, rococo was a term that I was vaguely familiar with... I knew it was a historical art/design style but had to google it for more clarity.  And then I was like, oh yeah.  Rococo is that crazy, overdone, dripping with ornate embellishments style of the late 18th century.  Think lushly decorated French salons and "Let them eat cake" and gilded mirrors and super big pouf hair topped with ships and cupid heavy Valentine's card, and so on.

After a little visual tour of what the internetz had to offer on rococo, I realized many of the rococo design embellishments reminded me of my usual style of doodling, i.e. abstract, organic, swirly and asymmetrical.  So I got out my Sharpie and filled up a page to scan in.
One thing I noticed during my rococo search was a lot of rich, textural damask fabrics, either as wallpaper or upholstery.  I decided I'd aim for the look of a damask fabric when I set about configuring the layout of my repeat. 
damask designs from google image search
Another idea I'd had was to incorporate the exaggerated fashion of the times, and I did this in the form of creating silhouettes from 18th century fashion plates.  I opened the file in Photoshop and then on a new layer, loosely traced around the fashion figure with the Polygon Lasso tool, filling the completed selection with black.  
One last 18th century thing that caught my eye was the work of Fran├žois Boucher.  While his portraits of ladies in repose au natural aren't as voluptuous as his predecessor P P Ruben's, they ARE fleshy and curvy, echoing the leisurely lushness of rococo, and my own preference for the female form.
For some reason this made me think of illustrator Coop's buxom devil girls (possibly NSFW), which got me thinking along the lines of mud flap ladies.  Therefore I doodled a Boucheresque mud flap girl complete with pouf hair and fan to throw into the mix.  Hey, playfulness is part of rococo design also...

Finally I put all the ingredients in a bowl and blended and folded and marinated and spiced and poured and baked and cut and then stored until time to serve.  And now to share.
Doodle Damask for "Rococo" theme contest
42" x 36" Yard View
The layout ended up being somewhat symmetrical, but the design elements and their placement within the main layout are asymmetric.  It was fun working on it, trying to make it ornate and intricate but keeping it simple with a black & white palette.

As I described it on Spoonflower: "both vision and discretion started to blur by 11:45... it might be a bit overdone, but if rococo is anything, it is overdone..."

Once more there are over 150 designs entered in the contest and many lovely ones.  When you get a minute head on over and vote for your favorites.  Thank you!

PS - Both my Copacabotanical and Toile du Chien designs placed dead center of the pack, and fine by me. I'm just happy for the creative outlet, and fodder for a portfolio I might one day get around to putting together.

PPS - Coincidently, the morning after working on my design, this photo by/of the stylish Vanessa popped up in wardrobe_remix and I was like, "oh oh rococo."  I asked her if I could use her picture as an example of how my fabric could be used... might it not look nice as a skirt? (I seem to think everything would look cool as a skirt.)

Vanessa's blog's byline is "Big Girl. Small Budget. Tiny Town." but the way she styles and photographs herself looks more successful & carefree urban socialite... and I mean that in a good way.   Go check her out if you haven't, she is fun. Plus what is not to love about a greying brunette not afraid to mix patterns.  :) 
Vanessa's blog & flickr
PPPS - Something must be in the air, because in the last month or so, several people have bought yardage of my Crazy Spoon Flower design.  Designers get like 10% of the profit, so once the funds go through I'll have accrued enough "spoondollars" to order a yard of something myself.  Or maybe I'll order a couple test swatches of my recent submissions. Exciting!  (Designs must be swatch proofed before offering them for sale to others.) 

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