On the Sidewalks of Stockholm: Exploring Color and Pattern

By now it's no secret I'm from Sweden.

While soon I'll have been a New Yorker longer than I lived back home, most of my inspiration —why I do what I do and even how I do what I do — is still rooted in Sweden. Just walking the streets of Stockholm, I find motivation in the architecture: in the colors of the stone buildings, all on a more down-to-earth scale than New York's. And I see patterns everywhere.

Architectural patterns in Sweden

COLORS are intense & bright, not because they truly are, but because of the near-round-the-clock summer light. The palette feels vivid though paradoxically it’s made up of muted greens, pinks, yellows, grays, beiges, and occasional blues.

Colors in Sweden

PATTERNS in textile design are pretty simple. If you're not doing figurative work, a pattern begins by dividing up your empty space. I have been obsessing over stripes for a long while, but my Stockholm meanderings jolted me back to thinking in grids.

Grid patterns one walls in Sweden

I think and lay my ideas out in linear, geometric divides just like in these photos — mixing colors over the divided surface, finding the rhythm, choosing to repeat or not to repeat, until I arrive at a new pattern. The tile wall pictured here is reminiscent of my BRICK quilt, a pattern that came out of exploring the surface movements of a more traditional Swedish brick house.

Patterns that influence textile design

I draw inspiration from small, unexpected collisions — a circular vent breaking a wall's rectilinear expanse or a quiet moment where brick, stone and wood converge. 

- Anki Spets

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Patterns seen on Swedish streets


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