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Ria Sharon

Practice Makes Better. riasharon.com

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Ria Sharon: Surface Patterns

This is the third assignment for the From Pattern to Portfolio Challenge.

INTRODUCTION
I studied art in college and have spent most of my professional career in graphic design and marketing but my true love is illustration and I took this class to explore ways that my art can be incorporated into surface patterns and hopefully, fabric, home decor and gift items.

I'm naturally drawn to and forever fascinated with stories and the telling of stories through art. So using a book as the format for my portfolio feels like the right fit for my personal “brand.”

I love the wonderful blend of off-the-screen and on-the-screen creation that the experience of surface pattern design has been for me so far and I look forward to creating more collections in the coming months and years.

PROCESS
At first, I was a little intimidated by seeing Bonnie’s hand-bound portfolio and whether I could do something that was also hand-bound but not derivative and really expressive of my own aesthetic and style.

A friend of mine recommended that I take a look at swatchbooks. I absolutely fell in love with the vintage swatchbooks that I included in my mood board and I knew right away that was the direction I wanted to take with my project.

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I also wanted to be practical and consider that I’m still in the process of creating collections -- so how could I make something for this class that would also allow me to expand it as I finished my collections?

In my sketchbook, you’ll see how I came up with a “system” of doing single signature books -- each one being a complete collection -- including sketches, mood boards, spot graphics, collection story, and product mock-ups. So every time I finished a new one, I could add it easily to my portfolio. I also have a separate signature for the “bio” section that includes my social media overview, résumé, a couple of images, etc.

I'm not sure if this was intended or whether I was supposed to include the sketches I used to come up with the pattern collection versus the ones I did to come up with the portfolio solution. You can see my collection sketches here.

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I was enamored with the idea of incorporating ribbons into the binding of each collection signature that coordinated with the color themes of that collection. So when you see the whole portfolio together, it’s an absolute treasure of textures and colors!

Then it was a matter of finding the materials in the real world that matched my vision!

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Instead of buying book board, I thought it would be cool to find a vintage book to use for that purpose. I’m in love with old books! By some miracle I found a Butterick Publishing Co. book in an antique store for $5 and even more amazing, a friend of mine gave me an old dry goods ledger from 1914 and when I looked inside, it had listings for... yes, Butterick Publishing Co. Is that crazy?!

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I used the actual ledger paper to display the pattern collection on the physical portfolio, with each pattern cut and glued by hand and using tape to label them, just like they did on some vintage swatch books.

I used an image of the ledger paper to use in my digital portfolio. As you can see below, I’ve done a bit of digital collaging to replicate the feeling of the physical piece as much as possible.

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FINISHED PORTFOLIO
I’m really happy with the final product. I realize from the AMA session with Bonnie that I will probably need several copies but after going through this process once, I have a template with all the measurements marked clearly -- like a sewing pattern except for the portfolio. I’ll have to find a way to make reproductions of the book cover but I have some ideas.

Here’s the finished product. Hope you like it! :D

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