Preparing for an art show: A brief note about iOrnament

I have an art show coming up in August at the Black Drop Coffeehouse in Bellingham. I’m super excited – but with a move coming up, I’ve been worried about finding the time to finish all my pieces. I hadn’t even nailed down a theme! Thankfully, one of my favorite apps came out with an update that makes it vastly more useful, and it will allow me to completely streamline how I design my knotwork.

iOrnament is an iOS app that lets you create lines on multiple axes at once. You can create awesome tiled patterns with it. I snagged it early on when it was free, and later paid for an upgrade that included an eraser, new brushes, and layers. Before that it was like a more interesting version of Microsoft Paint – all of the ease of use with the usual expected limitations. Here are some of the pieces I made using the earlier versions:


I really love these designs, and I learned a ton about knotwork while making them. Instead of spending hours painstakingly drawing the whole thing by hand only to find out I did something wrong, I could test out ideas and quickly see & correct my mistakes. This freed me up to do tons of experimentation.

However, I found that when I tried to use my art for commercial purposes, it was barely useful. It wasn’t in a high enough resolution to make prints of, and it barely worked well for print on demand services. It only saved images as jpegs, and not something higher quality. I got so frustrated that I eventually stopped doing much with it. To top that off, I couldn’t do anything that was not perfectly symmetrical. If I chose 4 axes at the beginning (Creating 4 distinct sections), I was stuck with that choice – which really limited what I could do.

Here is a screencap of my latest iOrnament project:

I use the bottom layer to make my guidelines. In the old version, I could only make a circular tile, but now I have the full square – which will allow me to make full size knots, instead of just wheels and circular pieces. In this piece, I am trying to create some forced perspective. I used the second layer to make the basic structure of the piece. I erased the black grid in the first layer, and I’ve just started adding dots in the third layer. The dots help me estimate where to put my lines, so that my knotwork will be even and fit perfectly in whatever shape I need it to be. After the dots are in place, I will use the first layer to create the knotwork. Then I’ll erase the second layer, trace the knotwork there, & erase everything else. After that comes the satusfying task of figuring out which lines go over or under.

From there, I could add a background and atmospheric elements, but since this is meant to be a design for use with a larger canvas, I may not do that after all. Or I might wait till after I trace it

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About MxBumblepants

Artist and helper with a lot of interests. Trying to get some projects started and sustained.
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