Repeated Pattern: Motif

In the late ’70s, when I was a girl, a neighboring family had a half bath in their San Mateo, California home papered with persistent, full-frontal sketches of a 1920s-era Rolls Royce.  The washroom was tiny, and artificially lit; and the toothsome grills and buggy head lamps stretched floor to ceiling. As if this wasn’t dramatic enough, the graphics were white on black, with gold embellishments. It was awesome!

Subway tile and honeycomb are proper examples of pattern that reliably show up in design or in nature. A motif can fill a void, serve a purpose, even comfort. The structural integrity of pattern often instills confidence, like chain link or chicken wire. And I’m endlessly impressed with organic pattern; bamboo “knuckles,” DNA, atoms, shark teeth, feathers, etc.

Each of these motifs had humble enough beginnings, and they all served their individual purposes in whatever project they were developed for. This is the first time I’ve considered them as a collection, making an intentional statement about design.

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