Yesterday, my friend Teresa came by to pull me out of my studying cave for a few hours. We went to her friend Carolyn’s house, where we made these fine works of art.





Then, we chopped them up and applied some of her beautiful stamps to the painted backgrounds, and we made these:



Aren’t they fun? I love how the watercolor works in the background, and how “professional” those sloppy paintings ended up looking.

This was a fun exercise in roughness for me. I was introduced to that term last semester in one of my classes; a man named Christopher Alexander created a list of 15 principles of beauty, and roughness was one of them. I summarized it in my final project this way:

“Roughness is a characteristic of natural environments. It is created with a sense of freedom and abandon, and is an elegant solution to the question of how to fit regular items into irregular space. By breaking mathematical regularity, roughness allows misalignments and imperfections to coexist with pattern, and creates a more dynamic piece.”

I do really love symmetry, but most of the time am more drawn to organic, natural feeling work. Still, it’s sometimes hard for me to break the regularity of a pattern and introduce roughness that is unplanned. This project was fun because we worked the other way around; we created a lot of randomness, shuffled it up, and then created order and symmetry working from that. It’s always fun to switch up your work order and see what it teaches you about the creative process. I know I’m excited to have a fun new tool for playing with random elements!