The secret flowering of the Italian language

Heeey, how’ve you been? Busy? Have you made anything over the past couple of months?  I haven’t done as much as I would’ve liked, but I made a few things. I have so much catching up to do here! Just thinking about the job at hand paralyzes me. So I’ll start small and just show you what I made TODAY.

It was a pretty good day, in spite of the stifling, humid weather…I stripped down to my undies, poured big tumblers of ice cubes and water, and spent the day playing with something I got the idea for months ago:

You know that “Prints and Patterns” hoard that you started when you were 16 and that now takes up two filing cabinets and 8 boxes? All the designs you loved and saved—out of magazines or photocopied books, traced, photographed, clipped from wallpaper samples, taken off the net and printed on bond—yeah, THAT hoard, the Tossed Pattern Salad from Hades. Haven’t you always wanted to gather those designs together in a way that was both useful as a reference later on, and beautiful to look at? I have always wanted to transfer all those designs into one big book of patterns that I love.
make your own pattern collection slash coloring book

No, I’m not going to aim for that control-freak’s archive, I’d never get through it all! But I did spend my afternoon copying one little fragment of a pattern…then a second little fragment—

just doodling, no pressure or real purpose, freehand and using a black marker straight away…no pencil lines, no measuring or erasing…not trying very hard to be accurate or faithful to the original, letting my moods and thoughts find their way into the process

—onto the slightly yellowed pages of a large old Cambridge Italian Dictionary (found on a rubbish pile in the city!), and then coloring the pages, using the exercise as a way to explore new color palettes…kind of like hand-drawing your own coloring book,before you do any coloring.

the secret flowering of the Italian language

You know what? I love it. I love the look of the pages, the fragmented patterns and the wonky lines, the oversized, outlandish flowers blooming across the words. Quite by accident the first page I decorated this way started with the word abbell·ire tr. to embellish; to beautify; to adorn; to gild…


6 thoughts on “The secret flowering of the Italian language

  1. oh you help me work through my italian language classes. its all about loving it, making a story around the experience and then the learning somehow just happens naturally without much strife. i love it, process and release. 🙂


    1. Thanks, Denise! It’s so nice to set a post to publish at midnight, and come back the next day after work and find a comment from you! 😉 And to think it’s been—what?—two months since my last, really bad post…LOL I don’t deserve the few readers I have, really, but you make me realize that it might make a difference if I did write more often. How’s that for a “from the heart” reply?


      1. I totally understand how it can be when you just don’t have time/energy/etc. to post projects online! But personally, I feel like the projects are more important than the blogging & I love to see what you do, so I’ve email subscribed, that way no matter how much time passes between posts, I’ll see them!


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