Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Words To Live By

Too Much of a Good Thing

Texture and Pattern in Harmony

When I was in graduate school in Switzerland, I had a teacher who reminded me that as a designer, you might find the perfect solution for a problem; but it might be a solution for a different problem.  That is, you discover something which is successful visually,  but does not work for the project you have in front of you. 

Well, you have to go back to the drawing board so to speak and somehow put that experience out of your mind; which is very difficult, because for a while your mind will return to the scene of the crime and keep coming up with similar solutions until you work yourself away from that original thought.  Its hard to leave something that works well even if it is the “wrong” solution for the problem.  The best strategy I have found is  to make note of this new look or solution for another project which I can start as soon as I finish the one I’m currently trying to solve; in this way I can get my mind off of that new design, and move on to another solution for the problem at hand.

In my collection I always aspire to create a rich contrast of materials as well as sizes, colors and finishes.  This being said, the Pomeroy customer is not a gift shop, gourmet store, furniture store,  garden center, or a home store, they are all of these, which makes creating a variety of themes and directions essential to remaining vital to our customer.  Not to mention the fact,  that only original design will do.   I cannot simply go to China and pick things that might or might not fit into the collection.  That is not really in the Pomeroy DNA.

We are constantly creating new shapes in iron, glass, ceramics , etc. to set us apart from the throng of showrooms offering “market goods” .  The exciting thing about this business are the possibilities that lurk just beneath the surface at the factory level.  Every technique, color and shape usually can be combined and altered to fit into a collection and bring a new breath of fresh air to a coastal collection; or a rustic country collection.  These are often accidents waiting to happen; good accidents that is.  

A new trend which seems to have legs at the moment is jute in all its forms; wrapping, weaving, and handles for lanterns, and luminarias.  As this technique has already proliferated every factory by now, the challenge for Pomeroy, as always, is to create something unique which will stand out against all of the goods already being proposed in the marketplace.  Do we wrap, or weave or both around glass vessels, iron vessels, ceramic vessels, and do we have rope handles as well, or is this too much of a good thing.  Each idea creates with it a myriad of questions and problems.  There are times when I will say, “you cannot have too much texture and pattern”, but then I see someone wearing plaids and stripes together (in a bad way) and I remember the axiom, “you CAN have too much of a good thing”.  That is when I remember my Swiss training and begin again, adding detail, texture, and pattern until the next bit is simply too much and I know that I should stop.  Every texture, pattern, and design detail, like jute is workable on its own.  Literally everything can be used successfully if approached cautiously.  It’s always simply a matter of working the problem with creativity and playfulness, while remembering to be disciplined about when too much is really too much, and having the discipline to stop when you need to stop.  

After all, “less CAN be more”.