Inspired by your hipster Nana’s cozy boho rugs and chic throw pillows, wrap up baby or shiny up your space with this gunmetal and copper geometric collection.
My Design Process: Istanbul Inspiration
I’ve always been a traveler, watching miles of desert fly by the car window or rivers float underneath the belly of the plane in my childhood years.
My favorite thing to shop for in college wasn’t clothes – it was plane tickets.
I spent my cash to visit far-flung friends and dabble in international travel. I longed to taste something outside of my American comfort zone – and did I ever! The first European city I explored wasn’t London or Paris… it was Moscow.
Talk about culture shock!
Experiencing new places and cultures influences me in such a positive way, even if I encounter mishaps along the way (and boy do I have my share of hiccups and scrapes!). Despite these (mis)adventures, travel is totally worth it.
Before moving back to the US, our family explored Istanbul for a few days. Since that trip happened to be my first taste of the Middle East, I found myself drinking in every new sight, sound, and smell.
But, I wasn’t prepared for the incredible beauty of the mosque interiors.
Islam adheres to aniconism in art, meaning it’s forbidden to portray the image of God, prophets, and really any sentient being. Because of this, artists adorn spaces with intricate geometric and calligraphic patterns. You can find these elegant designs on everything in the Islamic world as well as on rugs in every corner of the world.
These mosque designs and carpets inspired me as I researched the theme of Turkish kilim for a Spoonflower design challenge.
In the sketching phase, I drew shapes and motifs from my own photos as well as from traditional symbols (see my kilim Pinterest board here).
I’m finding that I really enjoy geometric designs, both as a consumer and an artist. Unfortunately, that does NOT mean it’s easy! I went through four or five design revisions before landing on my final main kilim design.
Such is the life and process of the artist!
From Bold to Muted Color
After finalizing the layout of my design, I dove into the black hole of color palette research.
At first, I envisioned a pale pink rug I had seen in my grandmother’s house. But, what I had in minds eye didn’t translate to the computer.
For the sake of time, I mostly abandoned that idea and moved on to try the color scheme of a rug I own and love. I ended up using something of this palette while still holding on to Grandma’s blush pink. To be honest, I wasn’t 100% happy with the colors, but I was out of time.
As the main pattern of this collection began as a Spoonflower challenge entry, I only had so many hours to research, draw, complete, and submit the design. I entered the contest, proofed the design, and left it for weeks.
While it’s not as bold and outrageous as the original, I feel this new metallic-infused palette works much better.
I’m on a journey as a designer, and one of the fabulous things about this wild ride is all the things I am learning about myself as an artist. Along with my geometric pattern self-discovery I mentioned earlier, I find that I enjoy working with a more limited color palette.
Here’s the main print of my new Boho Baby // Middle Eastern Metallic print collection in the final color way.
The coppery sienna and gunmetal gray give an indulgent yet relaxed vibe. The metallic and neutral tones pair well with many color schemes. I’m happy with the versatility of this palette, and I envision it on everything from swaddling blankets to leggings to notebooks (as you can see above).
Scorpions – What?!
Developing collections instead of one-off prints stretches me as a designer. I want to think through exactly what each pattern could be used for, and what the sewist or maker would need to round out their project.
And, what a bonus when the coordinating collection designs stand on their own!
This first supporting pattern pulls from a motif in the hero (main) pattern – a traditional scorpion symbol.
Far from attracting these pesky (and dangerous) arachnids, artists and weavers adorned their wares with the scorpion to represent protection against not only the creatures themselves but all forces of danger.
While I do NOT want anything to do with scorpions, I actually like the look of the symbol and am so pleased with how this print turned out.
Earrings or Trees?
For the next pattern, I isolated the feather-shaped cypress tree motif and diamonds from the hero print.
For some reason, these elements together remind me of jewelry, specifically Native American earrings. I can just see a Navajo woman wearing long, pointed silver earrings with a diamond-shaped turquoise stud at the top.
Geometric Floral & Wood Lattice
Next up – stripes!
The geometric block flowers served as the stripe for this collection. While this print can support a lot of projects, I had the idea of hair bands.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a headband mockup, so you’ll just have to imagine.
To round out the collection, I focused on the big shapes that establish rhythm in the main design. As I pieced together the pattern tile, the coppery metallic forms began to look like wood lattice to me. Middle eastern artists create amazing and intricate designs in wood, so it is very fitting that a nod to their craftsmanship should round out this collection.
The entire collection can be purchased as fabric, wallpaper, or giftwrap from Spoonflower. All patterns except the stripe and lattice wood designs are available on a host of products through RedBubble or Society6.
When beginning any new design, I envision its end use.
But, I’m only one person with my own unique habits, style, and preferences. I’m not the only consumer out there, and I would love to hear from YOU.
Where do YOU see this collection being used?
And, I would even be curious to know where you think it would not work. I value your opinion (really!), and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below.