I am having an identity crisis. Yes, again. I don't know which of my two blogs to focus on, should they be separate or should it just be one blog???? I don't know the answer. I have been posting my patterns on my Design Healing blog when I should be posting them here. Sorry. Here are some recent works.
(all designs © 2009 Stephanie Ryan)
I am not a sketcher... especially not the shoe. I have never enjoyed sketching. So, I have been thinking about that lately and wondering why. I think it is because I am too picky about my work and the fact that it always has to be perfect and finished before I show it to anyone. In the last month or two I have been trying to change that bad behavior by putting things out there that I never would have before. It has been quite liberating to let go of all of that junk I had stored up inside of me. So here is a quick Illustrator sketch that I just worked on. I am calling it Finding Joy In the Moment because, that is what I just did : )
(image ©Stephanie Ryan)
I have been really busy lately with a bunch of different things and haven't had the time to play. I am totally bummed out. I really want to try to post regularly so here is a pattern that I worked on a couple of weeks ago. Totally different from the hand painted stuff... but I do love it. Hope you had a great holiday weekend.
Here is the painting from my previous post after I took it into Illustrator and played around with it. It went through many changes before ending up here. I still think it needs work, but am moving on. I don't want to spend too much time on the fine details, I just want to loosen up and play.
(image © Stephanie Ryan)
In 1991, I was 21 years old, had just dropped out of college because I couldn't afford it, and was thrilled to get a job working for a doll company making $5.00 an hour. The company was Little Souls, Inc. I worked there for 10 years until a devastating fire burned the building down to the ground in May 2001. Shortly after that, a couple of days before Sept 11. I left. I learned a lot while I was there, the most important thing being my love for fabrics, knits, and product making. When I left, I had no idea what I was going to do, in my mind, there wasn't much I could do without a college degree and some training. So, I put myself seriously in debt and went back to school. I majored in graphic design, and took textile design and illustration classes. It was in combining all of these things that I found my love for pattern design. My graphic design class was the first place that I started designing patterns on the computer and for my senior show I started experimenting with sewing. The pictures below show some of the dolls form Little Souls. I loved the way we would mix and match fabrics and mix in textures with knits.
These pictures show my first pattern designs and senior show. During my last year at Moore College of Art & Design, I got an internship at Lenox which lead to a freelance position. The dinnerware featured in my senior show where things that I designed for Lenox.
My freelance position at Lenox turned into a full time job and I have been there since.
I did leave for a year because I moved too far for the commute, during that time I did some freelance work and started dreaming up a business with my friend and now partner Jessica Shepherd. We started a stationery company called Blue Pumpkin Press. It was a natural evolution for me, my design style was the perfect fit. I just expanded on my designs from school. Below are some examples of our stationery designs.
A year ago, a position opened at Lenox for Senior Concept Designer- Dinnerware. My husband and I were relocating and I was within driving distance (well sort of) to Lenox, so I applied and got the position.
This last year has had it's ups and downs. The stationery company has gone through a lot of changes and I don't have a lot of time to devote to it, so it has been slow getting it out there. I am happy to say that we are almost at that point where we will be going full steam ahead with it. Back in January I was having a difficult time, my commute is very long 1hour 20 minutes on average, and the stationery company was in a weird place. I wasn't feeling inspired and didn't feel like any of my art was my own. My work at Lenox goes through so many different people, I design what they want me to design. My other design work for BPP also didn't feel right, I love it, but it's not me. My good friend Carol was over my house a couple of weeks ago, we were looking at some designs I put together to send out to some fabric companies. She liked them a lot, thought they were really nice, but made a good comment. She said that it was such a funny thing that my design work looked nothing like the way I decorate my house. I agreed. I even said that I wouldn't decorate my house with any of these designs, they are too modern, to stiff. My house is a mixture of folk/country/traditional styles. I love painted furniture, textures, and multiple patterns mixed with darker more muted colors like coral, turquoise, olive greens, and barn reds. How did I get so far away from the things that I love? Even thinking back to being a doll designer, I loved all of those same things there.
Sorry, this is going on forever. A decided to start this blog in an effort to experiment with my design work. The purpose was to play with various mediums and styles to try to find out what my true style is. I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it, it has taken me weeks to get it going, and I didn't like the direction it was going in. I didn't like the banner design because it didn't feel like me, I wouldn't "decorate" my house with it. Last week I finally had some time to play so I decided to break out the paints, I needed to get the heck off of the computer. From the second I started painting I saw it! Finally. There it was, just waiting to come out. I was definitely on to something. Below is my first painting, it's not perfect, there are a lot of composition problems, but I was just winging it. I am trying to loosen up and not be so stiff. I took that painting and put it in the computer and played with it and that is how I came up with the other patterns.
There is something there, I do like it. I am really excited about refining it and exploring the possibilities.
So here I am. Renewed and excited about what comes next. Divine timing is behind this, I have had this vague idea in my head for a while now. I tried getting it out on canvas about two years ago, and couldn't do it. This time it just poured right out. I took this last picture of my new paintings, and designs and put them together with some old paintings, pillows I made, and a screen printed fabric I made in school. I was so happy and surprised to see how they all went together. I can't wait to play with this some more, I hope that you continue to visit my blog and walk down this new path with me. Thanks for visiting.
( all designs © Stephanie Ryan and BPP designs © Blue Pumpkin Press)