This post comes to you from Natalie Servant, designer of the stunning Nalina hat and cowl set from our newest issue. Learn all about how she was inspired by a building in Guelph Ontario, and how a blurry photo became the chart for this lovely pattern. You can learn more about Natalie by checking out her blog, here.
I am a huge fan of Art Deco art and architecture. When I am going to be traveling to or through a city I tend to Google first to find out if there are any interesting buildings to see. If there are too many, I narrow things down to the ones that I find the most beautiful.
What I really love are the amazing details that I get to see in person. There are tons of pictures online for the more well-known buildings, but every time I see one in person there are decorative flourishes that I get to focus on that didn't show up in the other pictures. It's kind of like the difference between watching sports on TV and being there in person: you get to look at what interests you.
When I visited my parents in Guelph, Ontario in the summer of 2013 I was finally there on a weekday instead of a weekend. This meant that I had a chance to peek inside the old post office building: Guelph's Dominion Building. It was built back in 1935, in the Depression era, as part of a government works program. The outside looks fairly innocuous from across the road:
The best bits of the outside are the metal spandrels:
I had to ask permission to take pictures inside. Sadly I only had my cell phone, but I saw some lovely details. There was a metal grille, some lovely work on the ceiling, and then I saw the metalwork.
Sadly, the only picture that didn't turn out was the one that I worked from! In 2014 I want to create a design based on this beautiful metallic lotus, and worked until I came up with a chart. I had to kind of squint at this.
It wasn't until the Twist Collective submission call for the issue that I finally printed the chart and started knitting in July 2015:
It's kind of funny to me that I knit the swatch in super bright contrasting colors and then the final design used tone-on-tone colors that are a lot closer to the original metalwork of the inspiration!