MATS – Week 2 – A Suzani of Dishes

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Holiday, S'Wicked Blog

On to week two of Lilla Rogers’ MATS course. This week’s industry: home decor. And, the theme inspiration? Suzanis—traditional textile designs of Uzbekistan. (“suzan” means “needle” in Persian.) Our job this week was to take inspiration from traditional suzanis and apply them to plates.

The stunning, intensely-embroidered and highly-decorative works of art provide tons of motif and icon inspiration. I got right to work on some sketches.

Suzani sketches - round 1 - by Jessica Southwick

Suzani sketches – round 1

When I sat down to start scanning in images, though, I felt I needed something more to tie all the elements together. And, with the U.S.’s Thanksgiving just a few weeks away, the idea of a cornucopia came to mind as the perfect icon for a set of plates. I also sketched a couple of additional icons, just for good measure.

Suzani sketches - round 2 - by Jessica Southwick

Suzani sketches – round 2

This week, I knew I wanted to add more of a hand-crafted feel to my design, so in addition to the hand-drawn line art, I decided to use watercolor washes to incorporate color. (Check out my old watercolor set; I’ve had it since I was six or seven years old!)

Watercolor washes - by Jessica Southwick

Watercolor washes

One of the design elements I’d been hesitant to use last week for the bolt fabric project, was texture. I was concerned that incorporating texture would increase the number of colors beyond the eight-color limit for the assignment. This week, we were not limited to a particular palette or number of colors, so I knew I definitely wanted to utilize texture. To honor the textile heart of suzanis, I decided to pull my textures from woven materials—in this case, blankets and sweaters.

Suzani project texture images by Jessica Southwick

Suzani project texture images

Now, I had all of my elements. It was time to bring them together into icons and motifs with a somewhat muted palette, and some nice variations in color and texture.

Making of a cornucopia by Jessica Southwick

Making of a cornucopia

Once I’d chosen which icons to use, I wedded them with color and texture, and then started laying them out on a square plate template, until I liked the overall design effect. Then, I mocked everything up onto a large plate I’d photographed.

Large suzani plate mock-up by Jessica Southwick

Large suzani plate mock-up

At this point, I’d hoped to dedicate a good amount of time to my small plate and bowl designs. Mother Nature was conspiring against me, though, with a nor’easter barreling down on us. (It’s gusting like mad outside my window, as I write this.) In the interest of completing the project and uploading it before we lost power, I went with a much simpler-than-planned-for design for both the small plate and the bowl.

Small suzani plate mock-up

Small suzani plate mock-up

Suzani bowl with plates mock-up by Jessica Southwick

Suzani bowl with plates mock-up

Finally, once I had all of my designs and mock-ups completed, I put them all together for class submission.

Suzani plates project by Jessica Southwick

Suzani plates project by Jessica Southwick

Phew! Another week completed. And, another just about to begin. This coming week’s industry—children’s picture books! (I don’t have a soft spot for these. No way; not me.)