This week, on the same day, I had not one but two friends tell me about designer Sonia Harris' "swearing patterns." Of course, I instantly became a fan. Her hidden-in-plain-sight patterns are subversive yet perfectly understated.
For example, this t-shirt's design appears to be a fancy mandala at first glance. But look closer and you'll see the words "Insufferable Wanker" cleverly incorporated into the pattern. (Ms. Harris, you get me.)
She got started drawing the patterns (using an iOS app called Amaziograph) while she was going through treatment for breast cancer, writing that swearing is a meditation for her:
Despite my desire to create and soothe myself with art, I was also very angry at the bad luck of having spent decades dealing with pain from endometriosis only to get breast cancer just as I thought there was an end to it. The disgusting effects of the treatment, the frightening and painful experiences kept on coming... Hence my patterns contained a lot of profanity. I wanted to swear and I needed to swear. If I could have, I’d have been shouting those profanities from the rooftops! But I had no strength to raise my voice or even stomp around, so that left my drawings. I could write down an exclamation of disgust, carefully and lovingly so that seeing it gave me strength, reminded me that I have a voice and I am still alive. Seeing the repetition of my words and patterns calmed me, the inherent beauty of them made me feel in harmony with life again and able to rest.
Her Etsy shop secretbean stocks all kinds of merch with these "swearing patterns" -- bags, scarves, prints, mugs, throw pillows, clothing, and more (even swimsuits!). You can also find her on Spoonflower where you can buy wallpaper, fabric, and wrapping paper with her patterns. On Roostery, you can get "swearing pattern" tablecloths, curtains, table runners, and the like. And, on Paom, you can get premium clothing with "all over prints."
Finally, go follow her on Instagram!
Thanks, Marcia and Kristen!
There are old-school DJs and then there’s DJ Amelia Foxtrot of Austin Phonograph Co. in Texas. Her turntables are antique hand-cranked phonographs and her records are scratchy-sounding 78s. Of course, I was immediately charmed by all of this. I reached out to her and she shared: I’ve been doing phonograph DJ work for 7 years. […]
I have followed the work of the brilliant indie hardware engineer, Sarah Petkus, for years. Her first projects to capture my attention were her delta robot army and NoodleFeet (see her YouTube feed for project videos). Sarah is an extremely talented engineer and artist whose design and fabrication skills are undeniably impressive. With her high-tech […]
In 2002, a mysterious man is arrested for illegally occupying a hotel room: he says his name is Ed Stone, and that he was kidnapped by aliens from the same hotel room in 1931 and has just been returned to Earth, not having aged a day; the aliens have told him that Earth will be […]
Seasoned chefs have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their cutlery. A really good set of knives has to prove its worth by being put through the wringer – and if they’re really good, they’ll still look great afterward. So it is with the Damasukasu Japanese 3-Piece Master Chef Hanshu Knife Set. Sitting in […]
With the intuitive software out there today, anyone can become a music producer. You’ve probably heard that from any number of laptop impresarios, but you still have to know how to use the tools – and Logic Pro X is one of the best platforms out there right now. In order to get the most […]
Believe it or not, PDF files have been the go-to format for contracts and forms of any type since 1993. And sure, they’re easily shareable – but that’s about it. When you need to edit or sign a document – and you will – that’s when frustration can set in. Luckily, there are workarounds, and […]