Turning Formline into Complex Patterns

Long ago in the foggy reaches of the distant past, when I was a student at the Sheldon Jackson College here in Sitka, Alaska, painted a repeating pattern of killer whales and eagles similar to the one below. I started by drawing a grid of diamond shapes into which I placed my repeating killer whale and eagle designs.

It was quite a stunning painting, if I say so myself. Linda encouraged me to enter it into a juried competition hosted by then Baranof Arts and Crafts Association, juried by Jim Schoppert. The painting won honorable mention, and it ended up being purchased by Alascom for their Anchorage office. Back then I didn’t even bother to keep photos of my work.

In my “Establishing Basic Lines“, I talked about dividing a surface area, and then subdividing it for details. The top left diamond is the very basic sections for the killer whale, which is more detailed in the central design. I just wanted to show the three stages of formline development I employed here.

  1. Create the very basic blocked out areas for the different body parts: head, tail, fins (or wing).
  2. Round off the squared edges and create the formline shapes.
  3. Color in the primary formline, so it will be easy to then fill in the secondary formlines.

Tlingit Formline in complex patterns

When you fill in an entire page or canvas with repeating shapes like this, it is eye-popping!

This one just may become a quilt, or felt applique blanket. More to come…

For anyone interested, you can actually upload an image to create fabric from drawings on Spoonflower.com

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: