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design notes: sunflower

I guess you could say that I am a designer with a feminine bent. Flowers are my thing and I have always, always loved pink. When I gave birth to a son (and then another, and then another) I came to terms to a life without tu-tus or tricked out doll houses. There would be no daisy themed birthday parties, no floral murals on the nursery wall. I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that what mommy did for a living (drawing flowers) would be as engaging to them as what my dad did for a living (investment banking) was to me.

sunflower | Snow & Graham

As luck would have it, my boys like what I draw and they have inspired me to draw things I might not have otherwise. (See Sledders, Nutcrackers and this Donkey) And were it not for a request from my first born sun son, I may not have ever gotten around to drawing sunflowers. His exact words were “a big, big sunflower…..for your sons!”

Some designs come from a pure place of love, from an affection that has been nurtured and cultivated over years and years. My Garden Roses are a nod to the days I spent at the hip of my Grandmother tending to her rose garden. The scent and softness of rose petals will always remind me of her. But this is the story of how I came to be inspired by sunflowers, and it is a little less romantic.

Snow & Graham | sunflower

I had to dig deep to find sunflower inspiration. I had to approach it like a research paper. I had to go to wikipedia. And that is where I read about the mathematical way to model the arrangement of a sunflower head. It is important to note that I did not use this model…..but it got me inspired. Reducing complex forms to simple graphic icons is how I would best describe my approach. Thinking about math is complex for me, but I love the idea that problems can be solved in tidy and definite ways. In design it can feel like there are endless solutions. Like the work is never done.

Perhaps my biggest hurdle to loving sunflowers is their color. You say “sunflower,” I think “yellow and brown.” The other tid-bit that I took from wikipedia was that sunflowers posses inflorescence, which I confused with fluorescence, even though wikipedia told me not to. This design was transformed for me when I played with this fluorescent color way.

With fall in full swing, the markets are filled with this bright and happy bloom. It is near impossible for me to not head home with a bunch for my sweet suns.

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