I suppose it’s because they all have pattern in common. But what is pattern exactly and what about it appeals to me so? Pattern as a simple definition is a set of lines, shapes, colors, sounds or movements that are repeated regularly.From birth we are pattern forming and pattern seeking creatures as we look for repeating qualities to make sense of the world. Recognizing and forming pattern is vital to our creative imaginations. In one of my vintage books, Pattern Design, by Lewis Day, he more vividly describes pattern in the following way:
So infallibly does the repetition of simple units, resulting no less from elementary processes of handwork that from mechanical production, end in pattern, that wherever there is ordered repetition there it is. Take any form you please and repeat it at regular intervals,and, as surely as recurrent sounds give rhythm or cadence, whether you want it or not, you have pattern. It is so in nature, even in the case of forms neither identical nor yet recurring at set intervals. The daisies make a pattern on the lawn, the pebbles on the path, the dead leaves in the lane; the branches of the trees above, the naked twigs against the sky, the clouds that mottle the blue heavens by day, the stars that diaper their depths by night, all make perpetual pattern. The grain of wood, the veining of marble, the speckling of granite, fall so obviously into pattern that they have been accepted in place of intelligent design. Your footprints, as you walk, make a pattern on the pattern of dewy grass; your breath upon the window-pane crystallizes into pattern. Technically speaking, however, we understand by pattern the recurrence of similar forms, but their recurrence at regular intervals.
Pattern to me is what compels me to collect such wonderful quilts and textiles where the repetition of design is always unique, creative and surprising. As I look at my quilt collection, I try to imagine what inspired the women to choose their pattern, their colors and their fabrics. Were their pattern choices inspired by nature? Fashion? Color? What were their resources? How did they make their decisions to create each one of a kind work of art?
Where women before us used feedsacks, used clothes such as men’s shirts or other recycled materials, today we have so many wonderful choices of fabrics and patterns, making the possibilities endless. We can go online and experience the many new designers who are creating fun new fabric designs using fresh colors and patterns.
Whether admiring the vintage quilts found at flea markets or antique shows made so carefully by our mothers and grandmothers or making new patterns ourselves, pattern is the common thread that excites us. This fall, I will be attending the Quilt Show in Houston to once again get inspired and excited about all of the new quilt fabrics and see first hand the incredible quilt designs by talented women across the country. (Some examples from former years can be seen in my Inspire Gallery!)Whether you are a collector of quilts, textiles, or other patterned finds, I hope that you are as inspired by the love of pattern as much as I am. Let me repeat myself, I love pattern!