Friday, August 16, 2013

Hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulphur

This week's contest theme was fireflies. I figured there would be plenty of representations of fireflies, so I wanted to do something more abstract. (Come to think of it, fireflies are themselves a fairly abstract concept to me - like the classic snowy Christmas, an iconic, nostalgic image I see referenced frequently but have never experienced myself.) I looked up what it is that makes fireflies glow, and saw that the key compound in their bioluminescence is called luciferin. So I decided to draw the molecule instead of the beetle.

As for the colors, I recently discovered a group of Spoonflower designers who formed the "Synergy Project," where they come up with their own themes and color schemes for designs. There's no time limit - you can add your fabrics to the individual themes (by tagging them) whenever you want. One of the hopes is that people wishing to buy coordinating fabrics can browse the whole theme, and see work from designers they might otherwise never find.

An additional goal of the group is to avoid treading on any intellectual property, so no explicit Dr Who or Star Trek or other references here. And as a step further, most of their themes are reclaiming over-exposed words (like "Vampire") to prove that we can make designs based on those words that don't have anything to do with pop culture.

I had been pondering joining the group, and this week ended up being a perfect opportunity, because one of their themes is "Firefly!' (having nothing to do with the sci-fi show, of course.) The colors they chose are yellow and a dark blue (plus you can also have black and white).

At first, I put my yellow and blue molecule in a denser, smaller-scale print, but that made it look like I just mashed up a bunch of circles and it didn't read as molecules. So contrary to my usual preference for making everything teeny-weeny, I decided instead to make it as large as possible while still fitting on a fat quarter. It almost reminds me of a Marimekko print.

luciferin makes fireflies glow

This came in 151 out of 246 with 62 votes. There were a ton of really good entries in this one. All the top ten are great. The trees-at-dusk pattern that came in second is also part of the Synergy set, and I also really liked the very similar, but more graphic, one that came in fourth. My absolute favorite is probably the geometric take that came in ninth. It might have been this swirly abstract design instead, but unfortunately that one is just a fat-quarter-sized illustration and not a repeat. Also making good use of transparency was this one with a magical feel. Fireflies in jars were of course a popular theme, my favorite of which was this very simple take. Another good one was the fireflies on wheat. (Huh, that sounds like a very weird sandwich...) And in the realm of very cutesy designs, I liked this glowy one and this sunny one.

No comments: