I remember, when I was a kid, we used to have Willow Pattern designed Dinner Plates. The only thing that could make me eat the entire meal was that intricate design in the middle that I always wanted to see. Years have passed, and I have felt the same excitement today. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because of these magnificent plates designed by Graphic Designer Don Moyer. His 22 Calamityware Kickstarter campaigns for porcelain, bandanas, letterpress prints, jigsaw puzzles, and a shower curtain produced a lot of memorable products. Most of them have hit the funding goal.
These plates are inspired by traditional Willow patterns and design, but with a twist! These usually have some sort of creature that makes them super interesting to explore. These disastrous occurrences might include Pirate ships take over Victorian villages, swamp monsters grabbing traditional Japanese pagodas, and erupting volcanoes threaten to overtake peaceful towns. The two newest plate designs depict a group of zombie poodles and a soaring pterodactyl. They are currently on Kickstarter.
I am a retired graphic designer who is now free to do self-inflicted projects. I draw every day for the sole purpose of exploring visual forms and amusing myself. The drawings I like best make me laugh. Sometimes the drawings in my sketchbook seem like they would make interesting products—things that are beautiful, useful, and funny. When that happens, I use Kickstarter to find supporters for a production run. Obviously, many of my projects are inspired by traditional forms. Instead of copying old designs, I draw them several times to get familiar with details. Then I draw my own version and include whatever details I can recall. Because my memory is so poor, nothing matches the original but the result feels similar to traditional designs. And in my version, there are always monsters or unexpected creatures to add spice.
I wish I had some glamorous technique to tell you about. But all I do is sketch with pencil and then ink with a brush pen. My current favorite is Kuretaka’s extra fine. Often my finished work is a composition of these simple elements made with my brush pen. To assemble a composition like a porcelain plate, jigsaw puzzle, or bandana, I scan individual elements and then put them together inside Adobe Illustrator. If color is needed, I add it to the digital file.Final production is always an industrial process. The plates and mugs, for example, are produced at the Kristoff workshop in Poland.
One of the advantages of crowdfunding projects one Kickstarter is how easy it is to get feedback from sponsors. So I know that folks would like to have more whimsical housewares. But the beauty of self-inflicted projects is that I am free to do whatever I want. After 45 years of working as a designer for clients, it is intoxicating to do projects where I only need to please myself. Each day when I am sketching, I’m on the verge of discovering a new project. What fun.
Calamityware Kickstarter, you say?
Would you like to have one, or more of these inspiring Dinner Plates? If your answer is hell yes, then I have a good news for you. By supporting Don’s Calamityware Kickstarter campaign you will be able to get latest of his designs. Hurry up though, you only have couple of days left!