Meet, Gina Eriksson

She calls herself a nerd while growing up, trying to find her own adventure. And I would say she have found it and what an important one. By creating patterns, PATTERN ME BRIGHT aims to put light on women who have been overlooked throughout our history by putting functional design and social sustainability together. What an exciting outlook on patterns! Find out more who’s behind PATTERN ME BRIGHT and what type of pattern Malala Yousafzai would be in her world.

Meet, Gina Eriksson

Fotograf: Erik Larsson

Let’s start off with a classic opening question, where did you get the idea to PATTERN ME BRIGHT?
The idea came to me while I was studying pattern design and was busy working on my final project in 2015. It was a combination of my interest for design and a frustration I’ve felt since high school – that the history books barely mentioned women. Reports that the statistics now, ten years later, didn’t look any better resulted in me wanting to continue working on this idea and it became PATTERN ME BRIGHT. Through colour I want to highlight women who have been overlooked but who all put their unique mark on history.

Who is Gina Eriksson? Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what you work with today.
*Storytime* Gina grow up in Stockholm on a combination of the Beatles, Harry Potter, Frida Kahlo and Monty Python. A nerd basically, who couldn’t wait to get away on her own adventure. Spent her time in high school writing most reports with a feminist view. Went on to live in Bristol to study English, then decided to move to the north of Sweden and get a Bachelor’s Degree in graphic design. After realising that much snow wasn’t for her, she moved south and got an education in pattern design and graphic techniques. In between everything she also spent a lot of time making and serving coffees and cakes. Back in Stockholm she’s now trying to make PATTERN ME BRIGHT a ~thing™~ and is getting in to the whole adventure of learning how to run your own business.

She’s also an introverted perfectionist if that wasn’t clear. But she’s discovered mindfulness and found meditation a great way of balancing the more extroverted parts of the job. Apparently also talking in third person helps.

I think you have a very interesting way of looking at what patterns could be and symbolize, is it important for you that a pattern isn’t just pretty but have a message or being educative?
Thank you! Yes, that is essential for me working on PATTERN ME BRIGHT. I’m really interested in exploring what a pattern can be and I’m inspired by pattern traditions that contain something ‘more’ in some degree. Not to degrade ‘just pretty’ in any way because this world needs a whole lot more elements of joy.

I guess, pattern design for me is just a tool in trying to spread light on an, for me, important subject. I could have gone into journalism but ultimately found a life in colour more appealing. That said, I don’t expect anyone to realise what they are looking at just watching my patterns, I merely want them to be a sort of window into further discoveries and serve as an inspiration for the user.

How do you choose the women your portrait in your patterns?
That’s a good question and I wish I had an answer for you! I would really like to have some kind of method in the future. There’s a lot of women out there!

So far, I’ve gone with my gut and worked on what caught my interest. Like reading and discovering how Marie Curie’s actual fingerprints can still be seen glowing today due to radiation. I mean… that is as scary as it is fascinating. Listening to a lot of old radio clips is another way I’ve found inspiration and created both Ramaskri and Bang Bang Bolma from that basis. I’ve got a long list written down with women I would like to portrait but I’ll continue to keep all senses open and we’ll see what comes next.

Which pattern would Florence Nightingale or a woman of today, Malala Yousafzai have?
I think that depends on what the focus point would be – they both have experience of having been through some extreme dark and difficult times. Still, they are above all associated with spreading light and kindness around them. I would probably go for that contrast in a pattern – it’s usually fun to play with.

For those who haven’t seen your work, how would you describe your style?
Weird enough to start a conversation? If not, I’d say they are colourful, playful and layered. They can be quite illustrative, almost comic-like, but then again also more or less abstract. Overall, I want them to feel alive – on the surface as well as the stories inside. I like to work by hand to get that effect, seeing as I print them digitally and not by screen printing where you tend to get an effect like that naturally.

Is it some part of the process of creating a pattern that you like more?Maybe creating the report? When you got all the pieces ready and are just having fun laying a new puzzle. Although, that can quickly go south when you realize that the puzzle doesn’t have one solution but infinite ones. But really, I feel like as long as I get into that flow where you lose track of both time and space every part of the process is fun. As long as I keep the perfectionist at bay – I’m ok. (Which is of course much easier said than done.)

Who is your dream customer?
Maybe not so much a dream customer as a dream ‘effect’ maybe? I would love it if my patterns in any way could bring someone inspiration, feelings of empowerment or just work as a conversation starter. There was this one girl at the very first market I attended who bought a backpack with Ramaskri I’d made – because she’d just written a report in school based on the very same story! I loved that! Her smile made my day.

But to answer your question, in order to get that effect on a larger scale I would love to collaborate with people who share my ambition in bringing together functional design and social sustainability. Any interested parties out there?

Any favourite pattern?
Too many! ‘Kaivo’ or ’Siirtolapuutarha’ from Marimekko is definitely on the list. Marianne Westman’s ‘Mon Amie’ as well and just about every black-and-white pattern from 10-gruppen.

What are your big hopes and dreams for the future?
To be able to continue working on this and develop PATTERN ME BRIGHT further. As time goes I’m learning and discovering more and more, especially about running a business and getting a grasp on that. The plan so far has basically just been to dare try my hand at this or otherwise risk regretting it later on. But meeting a lot of different people through courses and social networks I’ve realised that it never really is too late. You just have to start.

But I truly hope that we’ll see a more equal society in the future and if I had even a tiny little part in that somewhere I guess I’d be quite pleased.

Let’s end with some quick ones,
Stripes or dots? Dots
Colour or black/white?Black/white for myself. For my designs: colour!
Romantic or geometrics? Geometrics
Drawing on computer or by hand? By hand

Last but not least, where do we find more information about you (links)?