Over at Spoonflower (the fabric design on-line store), they are hosting their fabric of the week contest with the theme of Flight... and/or Birds. It is a limited palette contest: grey, teal, green, & yellow. It is being sponsored by UK craft magazine Mollie Makes and they're planning to use the winning fabric in a cover photo. You can vote this Thursday here.
Technical Stuff: The Process
About 2 weeks ago, I did a little pencil sketch on a scrap of paper. Working in pencil alludes to a planning process. This is already a stray from my typical working directly in ink.
I prefer to work around the unexpected and see what happens. So, I decided to start again, but true to form, in ink.
Then, I scanned it to try to work out the repeat. I did a free form brick repeat so the 'sun' would tuck into the cusp of the cloud. Then I printed it & traced the negative space onto fresh bristol paper & filled that in with more bird elements.
As I drew, I stopped accepting things I didn't like & simply outlined the area again to start over.
I struggled with the limited color palette. I struggle with adding color to my ink drawings in general because I don't really care for the 'paint by number' look. However, I think it turned out okay.
The Guts: The Meaning
This design became very meaningful to me which made many of the elements become more intentional than my usual art. The large mother bird represents me. The little one clinging to her represents my son. He's very, very, very clingy. But, he's trying to move on. The medium sized yellow bird represents my 3 year old. She's independent. Confident. Ready to go. The migration is the events that lead up to my son & daughter. I was 33 and already considered to be of advanced maternal age. It took 3 years to experience a successful pregnancy. Then, when my daughter was 10 months old, I found out I was pregnant again. The clouds are the gloominess of infertility as well as the challenges of motherhood while the flowers & sunshine are the hope & happiness. The sleeping birds represent the dream babies, all the failed embryos that refused to implant. The small, malformed birds represent the miscarriages. I think there is certainly more happiness than sadness in my mother migration but the work is endless.
See the full repeat pattern here.