If you have been involved in leather tooling for any length of time, you hear people talk about “Flow.” Many of us understand the premise behind the flow of leather floral designs, and many times we think we know what that means. But for some of us, we simply do not truly understand the concept of flow.
This article is a summary of the concept of “Flow” from our eBook “Introduction to Leather Floral Design” that I wrote in 2017.
For me “Flow” has always meant simply that whatever I draw within a pattern it should have the sense of movement and seem to be going somewhere and coming from some place.
This seems simple enough right?
When we are laying out a pattern within the boundaries of the item or the tooling window, we have to take into consideration first where we are going and second where we are coming from. These are the first two questions that I ask myself when I begin my layout.
Once we have a piece laid out in front of us and have determined the answers to these two questions, now we can determine the steps that we have to take to maintain the flow of the pattern. The flow of leather floral designs is not something that can be miscalculated because you chose the wrong direction. In floral layout, left to right or right to left is independent of flow. This means that we can have flow within the pattern no matter if one direction looks better than the other.
The flow of a pattern is set by deciding on a direction and taking the viewer on that journey without interruptions. Once the direction is decided, then the pattern layout is now bound by those directional choices as we begin layout. Decisions must be made according to the direction we have chosen.
I see flow as my ability, as the viewer, to hop onto any point within a pattern with my eye and follow the pattern all the way through the piece. If I hit a spot within the pattern that dead ends and I am left with no place to go, then the flow has ended. There are times when this is appropriate but for now let’s just agree that we would rather not see this.