TYLES Tuesday: Souk -- "Original" and "Renovated"

Welcome to the very first TYLES Tuesday! We will take you behind the scenes and show you the inspiration and process behind our patterns. Every TYLES pattern is conceived of and hand drawn by yours truly, so of course there's a process behind each. Every other week there will be a new blog post, so stay tuned.

Original Souk and Renovated Souk

I'm starting with the "original" Souk pattern, where it all began. As the lore goes, I was in desperate need of a solution for my not-yet-tiled backsplash. It just looked unfinished, and boring, and that's not what I wanted when I welcomed guests around the holidays. In trying to find a product that would be able to be removed without damage -- because I did intend to tile the backsplash eventually -- it hit me: perhaps I could use the same vinyl material that I'd used for tradeshow signage, but as a pattern on my walls. Once my supplier confirmed that it was an option, I drew out my pattern. At two in the morning. And as most things go at 2am, I went directly to my main inspiration -- Moroccan tile.

For our honeymoon (12 years ago now), my husband and I went to Morocco and Barcelona. Morocco was, in a word, enchanting. I loved everything about it. The people, the food, the history, and most especially, the amazing beauty. The feel of the riads. The intricacy of the rugs. That tile! The color and the pattern and the handmade process perfected over the centuries. It's just mind blowing.

Moroccan tile inspiration 1

Moroccan tile inspiration 2

So, that was where my mind went. In no time, I had drawn out what looked like Moroccan zellige -- individual pieces of tile that would be set together. In real zellige, the pieces of tile would be placed into plaster. In my version, the cut vinyl "tile" would be set on their backdrop -- the paint on the wall. I didn't want it to look faux, I wanted it to be its own thing.

Souk pattern drawings 1

Souk full pattern drawing

The process of putting up my backsplash was featured on Apartment Therapy, so I won't bore you with that. But I was so thrilled with the result, and the response to the Apartment Therapy article, that I thought I should make a line.

The original patterns, which were sold on Etsy for a while to test the waters, were a lot of fun. Unfortunately, they didn't last long. When I went through the process of finding a higher-production vinyl team, I found out that the patterns were too complicated. Too many colors, too many cuts, too much to get done in an efficient manner (and one that wouldn't cost a fortune). I had to really pare everything down, create new patterns and new ideas. But I so loved my original Souk pattern that I found it hard to let it go. So, I decided to rejig it so that it worked for the production team, my bottom line, and my buyers. 

I took the separate pieces from the original Souk pattern and pulled them together to form new shapes, without losing the Moroccan feel. I knew I had to keep the patterns in one or two colors max, so I worked on a few colorways before settling on the final two that are available now. And since this pattern was a little different, it deserved a different name. Which is how Renovated Souk came to be. 

Renovated Souk colorways

So, now you know a little bit more about how I came to the idea for TYLES, how I work, and how I come to final decisions about the patterns in my collection. Every TYLES Tuesday, you'll be able to read about a different pattern and how it came to be. And, if you're a newsletter subscriber, you might just get a treat. =) So, join that list (below in the footer!) and in two weeks, you can get a treat too!! 


Nicole Block

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