one dot does not a pattern make

soft blue spotA little while ago I was asked to give a lecture on the principles of pattern.

I called the talk ‘One dot does not a pattern make, Nor one straight thread a warp‘, the rhythm of my lines being based on these of Richard Lovelace:

Stone Walls do not a Prison make, Nor Iron bars a Cage;’

from his poem ‘To Althea, from Prison’ written in 1642 – all too apt for these days of isolation and the arrest of the usual day-to-day.weaving, warpsMy workshop students will have often heard me talk about, and seen me demonstrate, pattern as the accumulation of marks. Following this idea, a pattern is a gathering of many single marks organised to make a whole – just as a community is built of many individuals co-operating to make a cohesive entity.woodblock pipsThese months are particularly momentous for societies around the world, pivoting on the current and unprecedented pandemic. Both globally and in each of our own more personal communities, co-operation for the greatest good – for survival – is paramount. The welfare of the community is dependant on the health and goodwill of the individual. We are connected, whether apart or together.soft dotsI’ve based this blog on my slightly poetic reflections about pattern that I read out at the talk. 

pattern as pulse – continuum                                                                                                                          continuum                                                                                                                                               pattern as rhythm – beat                                                                                                                      heartbeatpattern as accumulation – many marks make the wholemexican dotspattern as community – co-operation

pattern as celebration – joyMexican Dancerspattern as comfort – depend upon it clockface             pattern as structure – organisation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pharoah wool shawlpattern as beauty – look at the flowers                                                                                                                          sunflower scarfpattern as decoration –  repeat again                                                                                                                  strawberry thiefpattern as identity –  we belong                                                                                                                         kente_demspattern as protection – moths and tigers                                                                                                                butterfly-camouflagepattern as messenger –  nature beckons, nature warns                                                                                                                       bee and foxglovepattern as salesman –  look, love, wear 

new linen coat

pattern as predictor – of behaviour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    people being peoplepattern as revelation – negative – or positive?positive negativepattern as life – infinitely renewing                                                                                                                              springtime

Here it is as uninterrupted text:

pattern as pulse,    continuum

pattern as rhythm,    beat

pattern as accumulation,    many marks make the whole

pattern as community,    co-operation

pattern as celebration,    joy

pattern as comfort,    depend upon it

pattern as structure,    organisation

pattern as beauty,    look at the flowers

pattern as decoration,    repeat again – for fun

pattern as identity,    we belong

pattern as protection,    moths and tigers

pattern as messenger,    nature beckons, nature warns

pattern as salesman,    look, love, wear

pattern as predictor,     of behaviour

pattern as revelation,    negative – or positive?

                                                    pattern as life,   infinitely renewingred leaves and insectsThis is sent from my so-far-so-good cocoon – separate, protected, alone but not really isolated I hope, and busy thinking, reflecting, making, doing, inventing, painting, planning – and maybe even sorting out some of the thousand boxes!Dali's kissTake great care of yourselves, wash your hands, keep your distances, be very precautious, be sad, be glad, be kind and be well. Let’s hope for a far more equitable and imaginative society for all of us when we emerge.

sun moon and stars, thanks Miro

47 thoughts on “one dot does not a pattern make

  1. Lovely…..inspiring, reading your words help me feel connected even in isolation! Stay safe, much love,X

  2. This is absolutely fascinating. Thanks so much, Sarah for sending the link. I’m so glad to have read it. Ruth

  3. so so so glad to hear from you again, Sarah! and thanks for sharing your compassion and your brilliance!! xxx jeanne golly NYC

  4. Oh Sarah – what a wonderful and uplifting series of patterns to uplift one in these odd times. So many thanks, love Deryn

  5. Hi Sarah The mind dishes up all sorts of patterns some of which are mood related.
    I wondered if you would include patterns of pain and if so whether that would be another lecture.
    Lots of food for thought.

  6. Just read your wise words mixed with spreading such colourful ideas and the surety that everyone’s creativity is only a thought away.
    Keep well and indoors.
    Warm wishes from Jane. (hat)

  7. Cheery-up stuff thanks. My daughter Charlotte has sent me swatches of yours to make cheery cushion covers , to stop me getting too much cabin fever. I am enjoying it but had forgotten how pesky zips and sewing machine feet could be. Mary

    • aha – I wondered what you’d be making with the fabrics; yes, zips are a pain – I can only do envelope backs when I make cushion covers for myself – otherwise I get them made by someone who knows. Hope you’re all well and safe. xx

  8. Hi Sarah,

    Lovely piece. Thank you.

    Been thinking of you. Wondering how you are.

    Keep well and keep safe.



    From: Sarah Campbell Designs
    Reply to: Sarah Campbell Designs
    Date: Saturday, 28 March 2020 at 16:09
    To: Martin Jacques
    Subject: [New post] one dot does not a pattern make

    Sarah Campbell posted: “A little while ago I was asked to give a lecture on the principles of pattern. I called the talk ‘One dot does not a pattern make, Nor one straight thread a warp’, the rhythm of my lines being based on these of Richard Lovelace: ‘Stone Walls do not a Pri”

  9. Thanks Sarah, you always send such positive and lovely newsletters, keep well and safe, love from us all

  10. Lovely post Sarah – good to know you are forever creating – only way to survive now – that’s what feeds the soul. Here’s to a virtual coffee – Lots of love Christinexx

  11. Brilliant Sarah, very needed at this time. I loved it and will reread it again and again. Take care. Rohan

  12. Thank you Sarah for all the real and metaphorical colour you bring with your blogs, and this one especially. keep safe and good luck! Annabel x

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