Historic Patterns: VermicularApr 28, 2023
You may never have heard about this pattern style or category before, but after reading this article, you’ll most likely start seeing it everywhere.
Let me present to you: Vermicular patterns
Vermicular patterns are the highly decorative pattern type that you often find on vintage French and English printed cotton fabrics from the 18th and 19th century. There they are used as fillers and backgrounds as they create such a nice contrast and complement to all kinds of floral and plant motifs, but they can also be used to embellish the main motifs. You can use Vermicular lines and shapes in many different ways and create all types of patterns: from large scaled and complex hero patterns, to simpler coordinating and blender patterns.
ORIGIN AND INSPIRATION
The name Vermicular comes from the latin word vermiculus, which means ”little worm” which is a truly descriptive name for this type of pattern. Because patterns of a Vermicular type are characterized by irregular labyrinth like lines and shapes that resembles the worm tracks you can see on old wood, rocks and sand for example.
It’s a highly organic pattern type where the inspiration for this pattern type obviously must have come from nature. Besides worm tracks you can also find Vermicular patterns on fish, frogs, birds, fungus and plants. Some Vermicular patterns also border to shapes inspired by corals, anemones and seaweed.
You often find Vermicular patterns on 18th- and 19th century French and English printed cottons, which in turn were influenced by Indian bed hangings- so called Palampores. Vermicular shapes has also been commonly used in architecture and decorative masonry.
In both applications the Vernicular patterns were used to create contrast. In architecture for a so called ”rustification” of the bottom stones of a building and to create a contrast to a finer top part. In fabric, small scaled & fairly simple vermicular patterns are often used to create contrast to or emphasize larger more elaborate motifs.
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HOW TO USE VERMICULAR DESIGNS
You can use Vermicular lines and shapes in many different ways and create all types of patterns: from large scaled and complex hero patterns, to simpler coordinating and blender patterns.
Designs by ©Bärbel Dressler.
You can use them as simple fillers, as an elaborate background pattern or as part of the main motifs. You can include them in a range of styles, from historic to modern.
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