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Instead of solely using intuition, or directly trying to express feelings, I poach patterns I've discovered in 20th C philosophies and use them as series of rules to create repeat designs for fabric.
I use three rules in fact. There's a colourless layer that's tiny, almost insignificant and very repetitive. Then there's at least one, maybe two, highly coloured harmonious layers that are neither dominant nor insignificant in which each motif is related to another in that it has part-of the colour of another motif. Finally there's a very large dominant motif in a single tone (colour) albeit a variety of tint (level of whiteness). The dominant motifs push all the others into the background as they stand with authority in the foreground. I layer these rule derived patterns so that they create a complex arrangement for fabric.
Then I apply intuition and break the rules!
As a long time lover of all thing Arts & Crafts, I have a lot of admiration for the work of William Morris. Analysing his prints, I found many layers in each design. Large, medium and tiny motifs were layered on a single print. This is what inspired me to place multiple layers in my own designs. I realised that it was rare to find such a diversity of motifs and broad range of colours on printed fabric today because it costs so much more to produce!. Morris was a real craftsman who believed in taking time and working with his hands. So I felt driven away from commercial concerns, towards creating designs that had only the love and push of craftsmanship behind them.