The Leaf Puzzle print was one of the first prints I designed for Mata Traders as an intern in the fall of 2011. I had hopes that it would make the cut for the Fall '12 collection (like so many prints), but it had to wait until Spring '13 to make it's debut.
The story behind this print is interesting because it deals with restrictions. Mata Traders works with a few fair-trade cooperatives in India and Nepal and each one has their own restrictions on what they can produce. A designer might get frustrated by not having the freedom to create anything their heart desires. However, I love a challenge and believe that by learning how to work with these restrictions and guide lines, my designs get stronger each season.
This particular print was manufactured in a cooperative where I, as a designer, was only allowed to use two colors in addition to the white of the fabric. In the past, the designs Mata Traders had created for this cooperative, were small amounts of two colors and a whole lot of white as background. While that looks nice with one or two pieces of clothing, having too many garments with that color formula gets mundane. Also, I don't even have THAT many clothes with a white background in my wardrobe. I decided that I would challenge myself to design a print that is dense and minimizes the amount of white you see. My goal was from a distance, the eye would blur the shapes and colors together so that the overall print wouldn't seem to have any white at all.
CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! After playing with a few shapes, scale and the spacing, I believe my goal was accomplished. I focused on leaf and geometric shapes that together looks reminiscent of fabric from the 40's and 50's.