When The People's Print and Bags Of Love all-over floral print T Shirt competition popped up in my Facebook feed I wanted to enter immediately. I've been playing with making repeat patterns for fabric recently, but repeats can feel quite regimented and restraint. There is something gloriously free and endless about an all over print.
This competition is inspired by a Paul Smith floral shirt, but more widely by the sublime impulse of nature to bloom. Tis' the season when green, green foliage suddenly erupts with pinks, oranges, lilacs and reds. As I'm pushed for time at the moment, I thought I'd just take a few sneaky photos of the flowers I saw in other people's front gardens as I went about my business in my local area.
This gorgeous tub is parked right outside my nearest Marks & Spencer.
I hadn't really opened my eyes to the floral glory of Hackney's front yards until I started flower spotting. Flowers, brick walls, cats and discarded cans of Nourishment drink must be the top four material objects most present in any square metre of my London borough.
When I sat down and read the tutorial for the competition properly I realised I needed a different plan. It asks you to cut holes in coloured paper and thread the stalk of your flowers through. I definitely was not prepared to walk round Hackney with a pair of scissors stealing flowers from other people (Though I know this thing sort of thing happens in Waltham Forrest - my boss has had a whole lemon tree stolen from her front garden).
I've been collecting a bag of fake flowers that have been rejected from my place of work, Bag Books. We use red and pink ones to make a smell page (scented with rose oil) to represent Hyde Park but reject ones that aren't voluptuous enough ,or are an unusual colour.
They may be fake, they may be rejects, but they are still beautiful!
My first idea involved using a colour gradient for a background. I wanted to design a dip-dye style T shirt. But I realised quickly that my beautiful, chunky flowers were going to totally cover the background anyway.
Instead, I cranked up the brightness and lightness of some of my flower images, creating a subtle (maybe a bit too subtle!) ombre effect with the flowers themselves.
The design template on the Bags Of Love site allows you to add text so I thought I would experiment with the tools available and add the word 'fauna,' intending to create the impression of flora and fauna together, one represented by pictures, the other by words.
I love the way my design came out. When I have more time, I'm thinking of creating a matching one, with a collage of animals and the word 'flora.'
This is my winner's fantasy (please note my huge biceps, real of course).
You can see my design and all the other entries by looking at the competition page. There is also still time to enter as the competition closes on June 9th.