At the moment I am obsessed with patterns, everywhere I go I’m seeing prints, tearing off corners of wrappers, newspapers and cutting out magazines collecting inspirations for my #100daysofpattern project where I make a repeat pattern everyday. What’s great about the 100 day project is that it forces quantity, when at the start of the design process quality is missing. It’s quite frustrating when you first start creating, there’s a gap between what you’re making and what you want to be making. Your work is falling short and — worse — you know it. This short film sums it up brilliantly.
This is especially true for me designing repeat patterns, (probably what caused some serious procraftination to get started) is that as someone who sews I’m exposed to so many great fabric designs, nearly everday. Instead of getting paralysed in fear of how many great designs are out there, I wanted to look, I mean really look at great print design companies, understand what I like about their work and how I can translate these elements into my own work. So here it goes and first up, is Rifle Paper Co.
Rifle Paper Co. is a stationery and lifestyle brand based in Winter Park, Florida founded and owned by husband and wife team, Anna and Nathan Bond. It was built on the principle that life’s personal stories and moments are best told through the gift of a handwritten card or note to share these moments with others. I have been on the receiving end of one of these notes and too beautiful to discard, I’m treasuing this card as a bookmark.
In the past I might have been sceptical about a stationary brand, firstly, because it seems like such a saturated market, secondly, because it seems simple, trivial even, but perhaps in my old age I’m becoming increasingly more sentimental and now see the value of a handwritten note. The strength of the brand comes from the strong signature style, florals. The repeats are densely packed and overlapping, you can’t see the background, it’s this busy print that really makes them stand out. Standalone, the motifs are beautiful and are sold as individual prints.
I love the bright florals on the dark backgrounds, it reminds me of canal boat folk art. I think it’s easy to think of florals are exclusive to softer, dare i even say pastel colours, but the use of the strong dark colour really makes the details stand out and is a confident choice.
The floral repeat patterns on dark backgrounds translate really well from stationary to fabric. As a sewer I’d spotted these Rifle Paper Co. prints crop up with a collaboration with Cotton and Steel made beautifully here by Kate Eva Designs. Although such densely packed florals are not something I wear at the moment, I think they make beautiful garments to be worn all year round. You can buy the fabric on Minerva Crafts here & here.
Aside from florals, the collection has a strong focus on craftsmanship, you can see brush strokes, pencil marks, etchings and where the repeats have been screen printed. For me, there is a lot of charm in showing the process to the print production, rather than seamless and at times souless digitial repeat designs.
Last but not least, there is a sense of fun, without being too much like crafty quilting cotton, which just isn’t my bag. I love the dogs wearing sunglasses and the vespa prints give an insight into personality without being too cutesy, quirky or defining the brand.
I really enjoyed looking through the Rifle Paper Co. collection, it was interesting to see how prints translated from fabric, to stationary to wall art and what I found appealed to me. I found the whole exercise inspiring and it reiterates that although the stationary market seems over-saturated, there is no one doing your own unique style and it is a reminder of how important a strong signature style is.
We’re working on it.
All for now.
Claire & Co.