Back in February the Rijks museum in Amsterdam were calling for entires for the Studio Award. The museum has photographed and digitized their collection and created a website where you can collect and download their images to create and inspire new work. The studio award was open to everyone and you could create anything, art work, clothing, videos etc as long as it was inspired by something in the museum collection. The winners of the award won a cash prize and the 10 nominated designs were put on display in Amsterdam.
I decided I would give it a go and came up with two designs, which I submitted – I’ll tell you right now that I was not nominated – However I had lots of fun creating these as I gets lots of inspiration from history and so looking through a museum database for inspiration was a kind-of heaven for me and just as important I gave it my best shot.
I found a beautiful fragment of textile imported from India and dating to around 1720. I loved the trading history behind the fabric and the floral type motifs. So I first copied out all the flowers and motifs into my sketch book, trying to find which would work best in my pattern.
Once I had rough sketches finished and the pattern decided on. I choose colours that where as close as I could get to the original and started painting the silk. Here is the finished result. It’s called “From The East”.
In the centre of the scarf is a tiny flower with two rounds of six petals and little leaf-like attachments. The stars of the scarf are two floral-like motifs. I have positioned them spreading outwards alluding to the fanning shapes of a flower and to heighten the designs prominence when worn. Round the edge I have created a border using leaves and several other small flowers. I used 12 colours and a silver and gold gutta – a first for me as I usually only use just one colour gutta.
For the second entry I wanted to design something similar and more minimalist. I chose to make a small silk cushion.
I was inspired by the blue and white colours in Chinese pottery and Delftware and the “tulipmania” that caught Europe during the Dutch Golden Age. For this design I was inspired by and have incorporated several pieces from the museum. I chose two pieces of blue and white pottery, using the shape of two vases from the 1700s – arranging them in my pattern spreading outwards. The circle in the centre of the pattern represents the circler base of the vases. Coming out of the vases I have drawn eight stylised tulips, four open and four closed – I thought it would be nice in this design to keep the painting small as I was inspired by the little Delft tiles. I have kept the patterns in the vases at a minimum, so not to over clutter the design and let the blue and white dominate. I drew lines, indicating the general sweep of the vase shapes. I used three colours, not including the white which is the plain silk, and a silver.
Both are for sale in my Etsy shop. I hope one day to design more scarves based on historical objects and museum collections.
Here’s a link to the museum collection in case you are interested:
Have a creative day!