Brianne Burnell
Artist
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Pattern Party

A blog about all things print and pattern! Working through pattern development, collecting inspiration from nature, design, art, and researching pattern design trends in high fashion, children's clothing, and housewares! 

Art Development: Digital Crystals

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Over the last month or so I've been working through some feelings regarding recovery and mental illness. I "celebrated" a 2-year recovery anniversary, which is more like just sitting around thinking about how sick you were 2 years ago, feeling proud of yourself but in an alone kind of way, overall it was just a very emotional experience for me and I needed to make art about it. Without going into too much detail about my experience I will say that one thing that got me through the worst days was colour, beauty, sparkle, I leaned into the things that brought me small joy, a gem on my phone, a fluffy pompom on my bag, a soft pink shirt, glitter nails, it seems frivolous but when I was barely surviving it felt like everything to me, and the more I surrounded myself with these small things the more I felt like I could get through the painful recovery process. I started a reward system for myself based on my childhood school days when you would get a sparkly sticker for your achievements and began bribing myself with big plastic gems when things got hard. Over the first year my phone became covered in shiny magic gems that cast rainbow light onto the streetcar seat in front of me, and reminded me every moment that I was doing it, I was recovering, I was making real, tangible progress, and I could keep taking baby steps, one gem at a time. 

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I began making these gems first by painting a big pink peony. I used that base to create different kaleidoscope shapes and overlay them and manipulate them to create sparkling gems. I found a lot of peace when creating these shapes, and my feelings poured out in these soft pastel colours. I started thinking about gentle strength, being an introvert/anxious/emotional type person but feeling in control of my life, feeling strong for the first time maybe ever, and how power, strength, and resilience come in many forms, sometimes those things are soft. 

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