Friday, September 6, 2019

We're All Ears :: September Inspiration :: Dotty

The first time the words "polka dot" were used together to describe the beloved pattern was in 1850. They never really had any connection to polka dancing, but these dotty spots have been called that ever since.

At first they were found in small doses, like in men's bow-ties. But with the turn of the century and textile technology advancing, it quickly became an iconic fashion statement to wear polka dots. Over the years this pattern was further popularized by fashionable entertainers and Hollywood stars, like Marilyn Monroe or Lucille Ball. Even the fa-mouse fashionista Minnie Mouse made them a pop-culture trend in the 1930 - all the way to present day Julia Roberts in the movie "Pretty Woman." Polka dots are seen as sweet, feminine, classic, playful, fun.

Close up of A Sunday on La Grande Jatte By Georges Seurat - National Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C., online collection, Public Domain,
Artists have long used dots for impact in their paintings. George Seurat's most famous work A Sunday on La Grande Jatte in the style of Pointilism (essentially dot painting) is masterful and scientific in its precision. Damien Hirst, a British contemporary artist, once exhibit 300 dot paintings in all eleven galleries at the Gagosian. These paintings were mesmerizing. One featured over 90,000 hand painted spots. Amazing!

Jemima, 2016 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.
All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2019.
Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd

I originally wanted the Spots to look like they were painted by a human trying to paint like a machine. Colour Space is going back to the human element, so 
instead you have the fallibility of the human hand in the drips and inconsistencies. There are still no two exact colors that repeat in each painting, which is really important to me. I think of them as cells under a microscope. —Damien Hirst
Yayoi Kusama, Whitney Museum
Yayoi Kusama was a Japanese artist who turned her lifelong experience with traumatic hallucinations into wild immersive art installations punctuated by dots on every surface. In 2012, Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton created an array of dotty accessories inspired by Kusama's work. 

Collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama, 2012

A polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is the symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing. Polka-dots can't stay alone; like the communicative life of people, two or three polka-dots become movement. Polka-dots are a way to infinity. 
--Yayoi Kusama

Let's celebrate the polka-dot! Make some dotty-spotty earrings for the reveal on Friday, September 20th!

[Please remember that all artwork shared here is for your inspiration only, and not to be used in your designs.]


  1. great, let me see what dotted prints/components that I can dig up.

  2. I have been inspired by dots and strips on ceramic clay spirit hole discs which I make. During the MLBS Bead Hop sponsored by Beadalon, I will be doing a Makng an Easy-2-Wear Pair of Earrings Workshop at Blue Santa Beads in Media and using these hand formed discs as the focal bead -