A Stellar Journey: Connecting the Dots on Our Starry Bandanas
Last summer, I took a camping trip. As the sun set and the first stars appeared, I watched the stars blink on with new appreciation. Looking up at the night sky, the constellations appear flat. But in reality, these stellar figures drawn out by our ancient ancestors have an almost unimaginable depth. They are made of stars that are millions of light years apart- far from us and far from each other. Yet we can only view them two-dimensional like dots to connect on a flat piece of paper.
A goal of each Last Chance design is to create something that feels timeless but also super special. I find inspiration from historical references (mostly textiles). One of the most exciting things about looking at these references is spotting similar motifs across different cultures and periods. When I spot these similarities, it’s like a constellation appearing just after sunset– I only have to connect the dots to create something new. Such was the case when researching and designing our Starry bandana.
Keep scrolling to join me on a trip through our historical influences that all came together to form these two stellar bandanas!
Can we begin by discussing these glistening Byzantine mosaics dating back to the sixth century? Is it heretical to suggest that the beauty of these man-crafted mosaics rivals the true heavens?
Made from small pieces of glass, stone, ceramic, gold leaf, and precious stones, these creations were all about idealism and creating a feeling of overwhelming awe. The representation of stars here, real gold shimmering on deep blue ground, is so appealing and timeless that I knew it could be the start of a beautiful bandana.
THE FOLK IN OUR STARS
To bring these stars down to earth, I began researching starry depictions in American folk paintings. I was taken by interpretations by painter Morris Hirshfield (1872 to 1946). Similar to the details in Byzantine mosaics, Hirshfield had an aversion to overlapping objects–each subject and detail occupies it’s own space.
Repeating elements are used to fill both subject and ground with minute and dazzling patterns. I love the directional changes he employs in his patterning, it feels intuitive and therapeutic to execute. Indeed, the thought of spending hours just drawing stars appealed to me, so that’s exactly what I set out to do.
THE STARS ALIGN
Part of what make up a real classic bandana design is a sense of organization defined by balance and symmetry. I knew I needed to find a way to gently align these stars. We had recently switched printing processes, which allowed me utilize more colors than ever before. Employing color was one way I was able to categorize my stars. Additionally I could use density and value, and I knew I had the perfect reference.
I looked to a handbooks of quilted patchwork patterns, which depend on light and dark value to bring out the design. These handbooks are printed in black and white and use density of dots to represent the various shades in a give pattern. These graphic arrangements were translatable to how I could organize my starry sketches.
I can't always make the stars align to my own liking. Just this once, I could make them fall into place on a celestial bandana that I hope you'll love!