Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham co-founded PATTERNITY almost a decade ago. Their work encompasses a wide range of creative endeavours rooted in research, exploring interconnectivity and encouraging people to be more mindful of the fundamental shapes and textures that make up life here on planet earth.
PATTERNITY started with a very simple concept really – we wanted to share the wonder, beauty and positivity of pattern with the world. We met through friends after university (Grace studied textiles at Edinburgh, and Anna studied photography at St Martin’s) – united by our shared visual aesthetic, core values and drive to create something worthwhile with longevity. Pattern was our common language, and upon meeting in early 2009, we soon realised our combined force, vision and drive to work with pattern positively and purposefully. Crucially we also wanted PATTERNITY to serve as a platform to give pattern a new voice, blur boundaries between disciplines and to share a positive message – to encourage ‘a new way of seeing – and being’.
It has since evolved from something visually engaging – an image archive and products – to a brand that goes far beneath the surface through design, events and special projects with a core mission – ‘as global pattern pioneers, inspiring positive living through pattern research, design and experiences. We have gone from an image archive to an entire creative organisation that works across the worlds of creativity, science and spirituality in just over nine years. It’s been an exciting journey so far, and it feels like it’s only just beginning.
We’re living in a chaotic time where people are starting to feel overloaded by the complexity of modern life. We are starting to become more conscious of how our patterns of behaviour are starting to play out more collectively and how the systems of which we are a part of are becoming increasingly unsustainable. We are overloaded by stuff and feeling increasingly disconnected. The rise of mindfulness and meditation is a clear sign that people are starting to become more conscious about their inner patterns as well as digging beneath the surface to find more meaning and depth behind the material world.
We are only just beginning to value the importance of the curious coincidences that abound in the natural world. Whether digging deep or stepping back, it can be rewarding to pause and reflect on the shapes and formations that make up the world around us and have done so for millennia. They are signposts that signal the beautiful interdependence of our fragile human lives with the natural world. realising that we constitute just a tiny fragment of a much bigger, universal picture has the power to bring perspective and profound connection to our daily lives
At PATTERNITY we never put a pattern onto anything without first asking several key questions – does this pattern tell something interesting or important about the world in which we live beyond the surface? Does this pattern encourage a more positive connection to the world around us? Does this pattern draw attention to the bigger picture?”
We work very hard to find simple ways to communicate complex ideas. All our work is rooted in research, bridging the worlds of creativity, science and spirituality. “No pattern should be without some sort of meaning”, according to pattern pioneer, William Morris, and we agree. Research is the lifeblood of PATTERNITY – and it gives meaning and purpose to our projects and our own lives.
So much of what we are about at PATTERNITY is exploring interconnectivity and celebrating the fundamental shapes and textures that make up life here on earth. Whether you look through a telescope or a microscope, life is made of fundamental forms and shapes that reflect and repeat both in nature and the man-made world – it’s a wonderful thing! There is something utterly transfixing about a spiral pattern. I love showing the curious connections between micro and macro scales – seeing how a spiralling helix DNA connects with a seashell and a spiralling cosmic galaxy – right back to the spiral growth patterns of a hair follicle on our own bodies. Patterns, such as the flow of water in rivers and the blood in our veins, to fractals seen in branching trees and within in our lungs – pondering these connections is such a powerful way to remind ourselves of the interconnectivity we have with the natural world – and how important it is to remember we are all part of the same tapestry of life. Perhaps remembering this could help us all create more sustainable and mindful ways of living today.
Pattern does not only exist on a visual level, but permeates every aspect of our lives in the immaterial world – the things we do, the connections we make, the relationships we share, and the rituals, habits and behaviours we adopt day-to-day. Some of the most interesting insights and messages have followed on from our own journey into understanding our personal patterns. If we can work with pattern on an individual level, we can create powerful ripples for changes in ourselves, in systems and society, and use pattern frameworks to inspire and implement positive change.
Our first Festival of Pattern called PATTERN POWER:‘Superstripe’ was a turning point for us, as it allowed us to create so many connections across disparate subjects (from science, creativity to spirituality and technology) all united by one pattern – stripes. The festival ran for three weeks, in a 3000 sq ft warehouse space in East London in 2013. Each room was a celebration of the humble stripe – from photographic exhibits spanning nature up close to, fashion, art and the cosmos. We also created products and design collaborations and ran creative workshops, wellbeing experiences and in-depth talks. This rounded approach to discussing pattern allowed us to connect with people from many different backgrounds, to share the voice of pattern as a way of learning more about life – and it gave us great confidence to continue working in this multifaceted way, with pattern at the heart and to share this with like-minded pattern enthusiasts all over the world.
This project was so impactful to us because it opened our eyes to how educational and immersive pattern as a language and communication tool can be. Also how it can engage all ages, backgrounds and people with such varying experience of ‘creativity’. It was the greatest joy to see people in real life engaging with the space and each other and the messages we were sharing around mindfulness, well-being, creativity and sustainability with such excitement and authenticity. It was originally something we were hoping to do each year with a different pattern and theme, but we soon realised it was such a huge undertaking both financially and energetically it would require a good few years to reflect and plan the next one. Enough time has passed now though that we are currently plotting our next Pattern Power for 2019 / 2020!
The PATTERNITY mission is about helping to inspire ‘a new way of seeing and being’, and we believe that noticing pattern 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 committed to reframing the world through ‘a new way of being’ by using the fundamentals of pattern to explore ideas around gratitude and sustainability, connecting to the self, our environment and each other. By slowing down and looking at the world through a patterned lens – where everything is connected – allows us to do this and to share it with others.
Curiosity: Life viewed through the lens of pattern, inspires new ways of seeing and being in the world.
Connected: To our everyday environment, to nature and the self.
Community: To be part of an authentic web of like-minded, conscious, creative pattern enthusiasts who believe in the power of pattern to create positive change.