Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham set up Patternity back in 2009 as a way to inspire positive living through pattern research, design and experience. Both its image archive and creative studio has seen Patternity collaborate with a range of multidisciplinary partners across the world from working in areas outside of design like science and spirituality. In 2015, Anna and Grace published a book all about pattern and the unexpected places we can find it. The pair also regularly host events and experiences for design and pattern enthusiasts.
With a research-led process, Patternity’s bookshelf is home to an array of fascinating tomes that have informed the pair’s process. Here Anna and Grace select five books which have helped shaped Patternity into what it is now, covering ideas such as human impact on the world, menstrual cycles and a reminder to see the beauty in everything.
Fritjof Capra: Web of Life: A New synthesis of mind and matter
So many problems of our times are because we fail to see the beautiful interconnectivity of all living things.
It was a real turning point when we discovered that physicist and pioneer of deep ecology Fritjof Capra had articulated scientifically and philosophically so much of what we had felt intuitively since we met and started Patternity. Throughout The Web of life, Fritjof outlines the value of adopting a more holistic way of seeing – where we are all parts of a wider natural system, and how feeling integrated within an increasingly fragile web of life, has the power to transform the way we see and care for the world we all share. A message around sustainability and systems thinking that we have explored through so many of our pattern focussed projects and events – most notably our first book Patternity: A new way of seeing, which we were honoured to personally give to Fritjof on a recent trip to Berkeley California where he is based.
Bhante Wimala: The Way of the Lotus
In a world that can often feel individualistic and complex it can be powerful to discover the simple and practical messages of ancient wisdom that still resonate today. This tiny book playfully summarises many refreshingly simple basic Buddhist principles – a guide towards more compassion and contentment in modern life.
Written by “travelling monk” Bhante Wimala, Way of the lotus is an uplifting and gentle journey exploring the patterns of thinking and doing that shape our lives and perspectives. Fundamentally it encourages us to become more aware, appreciative and alive to the wonder of everyday life.
This reminder to see beauty everyday and in everything – from the mundane to the magnificent – has been a core part of our guiding philosophy and built our resilience both as individuals and as a wider organisation since we started out as a visual archive back in 2009.
Yval Noah Harari: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
The environmental and social repercussions of an age that has placed perpetual economic global growth above the sustainability of its people and planet are fast becoming clear.
In a world that often sees time as only a very thin and isolated line, Sapiens is a refreshing and cautionary tale inviting us all to take a step back and take a wider look at the repeating patterns, rhythms and cycles of behaviour that have shaped history as we know it.
It is frightening but essential to realise that we are at a tipping point in time where Yval Noah Harari outlines our collective and unconscious patterns of thinking and doing may well be making our own species extinct. However it feels like there is hope. As we finally realise that material wealth and more “stuff” does not lead to increased wellbeing we are seeing a huge increase in the interest in exploring happiness, creativity, and an increased desire to dig deeper and understand our inner patterns of being. Since launching in 2009, ways to research and empower positive living have been a core area of our mission and will continue to be as we embrace the next phase of the Patternity and live through the changing patterns of our times.
Alisa Vitti: The Woman Code
Nearly 80% of UK business start-ups in the last year were initiated by women. We feel very fortunate to be women in business today – we have such gratitude to those who have paved the way for equality, to feel heard, acknowledged and respected. We’re at a time of global reawakening – re-establishing the divine feminine, and reconnecting with our natural selves as we once did in ancient cultures many moons ago.
The Woman Code is a simple and concise introduction (for women and for men!) into greater awareness and deeper understanding of the menstrual cycle through biological, nutritional and practical information.
As an in-house team of women, we take responsibility and pleasure in understanding our personal cycles. Recognising these phases and showing support to one another – when we are feeling at our brightest (and exploding with creativity or confidently giving a talk to 300 people) and when we are feeling at our darkest (working from home, organising a filing system or to just simply be alone researching something that feels nourishing) – we believe that understanding our physical and emotional patterns and working with them is the gateway to unlocking our individual purpose, which in turn becomes the collective purpose of our business.
Lance Hosey: The Shape of Green, Aesthetics, ecology and design
Patternity’s mission is to better understand life, and inspire positive living through pattern research, design and experience. We began as a visual venture – our image archive was and still is, a space for creative contemplation, inviting the viewer to browse beautiful imagery that speaks a language of harmony across disparate disciplines. We are continuing to explore this harmony across the full spectrum of our senses, through our projects and partnerships we seek to balance ethics and aesthetics to create simple, useful and beautiful outcomes.
The Shape of Green has been a fundamental guide to our design thinking and approach. It’s an exploration into the designed world through one simple lens: beauty. What it is, why it is important and how working with it enables us to become better designers. It is often said that nature is the ultimate designer (and ultimate beauty!) We have a fascination with the patterns we seeing recurring in both the inner and outer, for instance the fractals of our lungs, mirror the fractals of a tree, which mirror the fractal density of a Jackson Pollock painting. It’s an unspoken symmetry that is embedded in the universe. The Shape of Green scratches at the surface of this intriguing way of experiencing the world and understanding our place within it.
About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.