Book Club > Author Interviews > Ladies Drawing Night Authors: Why Pattern Making Is So Fun

Ladies Drawing Night Authors: Why Pattern Making Is So Fun

Added March 7
Ladies Drawing Night Authors: Why Pattern Making Is So Fun

There’s nothing like a ladies’ night, especially when there’s a little bit of crafting involved. In fact, we’ve decided to schedule a monthly ‘craft night’ with our friends and the response has been so great that we’re even thinking of making it a weekly occurrence. Whether you love to knit, crochet, paint, or papercraft, we strongly urge you to set one up too. We can’t take all of the credit though. We have Julia Rothman, Leah Goren and Rachael Cole, the authors of Ladies Drawing Night, to thank for this genius idea. They recently met up with pattern makers and designers Ellen van Dusen and Lotta Nieminen for a ‘pattern night’ at Rachael’s apartment in Brooklyn. We caught up with them to hear more about their different approaches to pattern making, plus how to design your own.

Pattern play

Patterns are found everywhere in nature. Spirals, waves, cracks and symmetrical forms surround us. This may be why we find patterns so visually appealing. For centuries, they’ve appeared in various decorations, such as wallpaper, textiles and clothes.

While the three of us – Leah, Rachael, and Julia – have been creating patterns for years, we knew there was something we could learn from Ellen and Lotta. For the pattern night, we decided to go back to basics and use our hands. Our patternmaking techniques are very straightforward and require just a piece of paper, some drawing tools, scissors, and tape. This simple method for creating a repeating tile is something Julia has taught at workshops and classes, but not something any of the rest of us had tried before.


We all used the same size paper and got to work. Lotta and Ellen both decided to make their designs using cut paper. The rest of us chose to use drawing implements and filled the page as much as we could without touching the edges. Leah, Rachael and Julia all drew plants and flowers, while Lotta and Ellen cut shapes out of bright coloured paper and arranged and glued them to the page.

While we worked we compared our processes and daily practices. We also discussed why we like pattern projects so much. We then cut our tiles in half, swapping the two halves so the white edges matched up, and we taped them together. We cut the tile in half again in the opposite direction, swapping the halves and taped them together again. We went on to fill the new white space in the centre of the tile with more design. Lotta decided not to cut her tile as she was concerned her small cut pieces might fall off. She repeated her piece as it was, finishing it off by filling it in as much as she could.

Let’s tessellate

Once we had created our tiles, we couldn’t wait to see them repeated. Luckily, Julia had bought her laptop, scanner and printer to Rachael’s so we could test the repeats.

We scanned in the designs, printed multiple copies, and pieced them together with tape. As we pinned all the designs to the wall we realised how satisfying it was to see them repeated so many times. The wall was filled with colour and shapes and we began to imagine what the patterns could be used for…

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