About Penelope Prints

Charlotte with baby Penelope, our model and our muse!

Charlotte with baby Penelope, our model and our muse!

A Lifetime relationship with pattern

Charlotte's childhood artwork.

Charlotte's childhood artwork.

Throughout my life, I have been entranced and mesmerized by pattern. As a child I had difficulty learning to read. I would sit in total absorption for hours drawing patterns for clothing, unaware of time. Pattern provided me with my own vocabulary from which I could draw my world.

During my adult years working in the surface design industry, I became keen to notice and mentally categorize the pattern that surrounded me. One day I saw the same print on children’s pajamas, an umbrella and a friend’s living room sofa. The scale and the colors were varied, but the companies that made these products had purchased copies of the very same artwork. I started to realize how little original artwork there is on most of the products we use everyday. Many of the patterns that surround us are historical replicas, detached from their cultural context and void of human emotion to achieve mass appeal. These computer generated forms give the impression of modernity yet lack the mark of the human hand leaving designs looking more controlled and less spontaneous, imaginative and visually arousing.

PATTERN CREATION PROCESS

The hand drawn prints and patterns on the items in this shop are an attempt to create designs stemming from a subconscious source, perhaps born from the collective human unconscious. This exploration began in 2012 while I was pursuing my MFA in the Design Department UC Davis and felt enormous pressure to come up with a completely new design idea that would revolutionize the industry and blow everyone away.  Paralyzed by the self-imposed stress, knowing I just needed to start somewhere I gave myself the assignment of drawing one pattern a day for a hundred days.  Each design was a spontaneous response to and an expression of a moment in time.  I found the process not only visually arousing, but therapeutic and I have continued the process as form of meditation.  As I sit down to put my mark onto paper, I simply start drawing without any idea of what pattern will emerge. When I become immersed in the creative process, I am able to achieve a state of flow, allowing the colors and materials to direct my hand rather than any preconceived image.  These small oil pastel, marker or gouache drawings/paintings are then scanned, put into repeat, combined and manipulated to create original fabrics. We use the company, Spoonflower, based out of North Carolina to digitally print the designs on high quality fabrics.  This process is zero-waste and uses non-toxic water-based inks.


What I enjoy most about this process is the playfulness it brings into my life. I believe the patterns reflect the playfulness of a newborn and that is why I believe they are perfect on products for little ones. My first daughter Penelope was born last Christmas eve and this line of products was created to fill her nursery with the bold colorful prints to reflect her curious and jovial nature.