“Modern life can seem so overwhelming. We feel as though happiness is something ‘out there’ that we need to really strive for – but so much of happiness is really about getting into the habit of being grateful. Our journal has prompts, ideas and daily entries designed to help you take time each day to stop and appreciate life’s moments, as well as in-depth exercises, insights and playful ideas that we hope will help empower to make gratitude a key part of their life pattern.” Anna Murray, PATTERNITY…
Pioneering pattern hunters Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham are releasing a new book this month under their practice, PATTERNITY which, since 2009 has been on a mission to promote positive living through their research into man-made and natural patterns. Their new book Be Great, Be Grateful expands their philosophy into wellbeing and advocates the modern need to take a moment and pause over the everyday – specifically, everyday patterns. This covers all from overripe bananas to reflections in a puddle, grids on buildings to the crackled bark of a tree. We asked Grace to tell us a bit more about the ideas and philosophy behind the studio’s work – here’s what she told us, alongside some beautiful excerpts from the book.
When you started PATTERNITY could you foresee how much the project would be embraced by (normal) people and clients alike?
“Humans are all pattern seeking creatures – it’s how we decipher and understand the world. So we found just by using the word pattern, we could connect and collaborate with anyone – from children to designers, more ‘business’ focused organisations to our everyday community wanting to know more about the world around them. We are so grateful to the spectrum of people that have connected to what we do.”
What’s been one of the biggest / nicest things you’ve learnt in the process of making your archive?
“That the world is a fascinating place, and you don’t have to look far for inspiration! At the core of what we do is the idea that you can find magnificence in the mundane. This starts with just observing visual pattern in your everyday – from cracks in paving stones to blooming clouds in the sky. Once you start noticing, you begin making the connections between these things and to much bigger ideas – such as how objects are made or how our ecosystems work – and the archive has allowed us to make these links and visualise these thoughts. This very much is at the core of our philosophy around how we can find more gratitude and understanding in our daily lives.”
Do you now find it impossible to be anywhere without seeing the world in detail through your filter?
“The PATTERNITY mission is about creating ‘a new way of seeing’ and we believe that noticing pattern in around us is a permanent shift in perspective – people leave our events and talks saying they feel like they have a new set of eyes! We’re also keen on reframing the world through ‘a new way of being’ by using the fundamentals of pattern to explore ideas around gratitude and sustainability, connecting to our environment and each other, and looking at the world through a patterned lens helps us do this.”
How much is the book arranged according to colour – how much does colour impact what you do and how you see things?
“When PATTERNITY first started, we often designed and curated our imagery monochrome, to allow the focus to be on the formal shapes and structures that create pattern. However as we have grown, we have begun to use colour and the patterns of where it appears shapes the stories that we want to tell. The imagery in the book is mostly from day-to-day locations and nature that surrounds us, but the spectrum of colours explored is vibrant and beautiful – a testament to our idea that there is excellence in the everyday.”
Who / what kind of people do you think the book is for?
“Really, the book is for anyone that wants to seek a positive outlook on his or her day-today. We hope that the simple guidance, exercises and open-ended questions are both a practical aid to building gratefulness into our daily routines, but also an opportunity for reflection upon larger thoughts and habits that shape us all. We believe that there’s room in everyone’s lives to consider these things.”
Can you name any particular things, projects, moments that have stood out as being break through or especially exciting to you since 2009?
“Our first Festival of Pattern ‘Superstripe’ was a turning point, as it allowed us to create connections, and share our love of pattern in a host of ways – from creative workshops and visual exhibitions to wellbeing experiences and in-depth talks. This rounded approach to discussing pattern allowed us to connect with people from all backgrounds and gave us confidence to continue working in this multi-faceted way.”
When assembling your finds can you automatically see themes or life trends emerging or do you not approach things that way?
“We’ve often avoided using the word ‘trend’ as it seems so fleeting and rooted in the immediate future. We draw a lot from ancient wisdom, such as Buddhism and Paganism, as many of these cultures have used pattern throughout history to simplify ideas and express life and our connection to nature; the basic geometry, in nature and formal mathematics has shapes the very existence of our universe and so it continually re-occurs in everything. However, there are patterns that emerge when we are investigating our ideas and it’s exciting to make connections between the unexpected – visual phenomenon seen in art, fashion and design can often be linked to something deeper.”
What projects are you working on now or next?
“We’re continuing to pursue personal patterns further, developing ideas around gratitude and sustainable living through some exciting product collaborations that will launch next year. We’re also continuing our events programme, as it’s so important for us to keep exploring pattern with collaborators and our community. It’s really exciting to make the link between the physical objects and spaces that shape our lives and our wellbeing and perspective on life.”
Be Great, Be Grateful is published by Ebury Press and available to order here.