Organic Designs

Recently I asked several designers a short survey, several came back with a description of their designs as organic. When I think of organic, I think of a way that something is grown. not the way a design is put together. So I decided it was time I figured out what an organic design was, heck maybe I am an organic designer and don’t know it.

Let’s start with the definition of organic:


adjective or·gan·ic \r-ˈga-nik\

1. archaic :  instrumental
2. a :  of, relating to, or arising in a bodily organ
b :  affecting the structure of the organism

3. a (1) :  of, relating to, or derived from living organisms <organic evolution> (2) :  of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides <organic farming> <organic produce>

 b (1) :  of, relating to, or containing carbon compounds (2) :  relating to, being, or dealt with by a branch of chemistry concerned with the carbon compounds of living beings and most other carbon compounds

4. a :  forming an integral element of a whole :  fundamental <incidental music rather than organic parts of the action — Francis Fergusson>

 b :  having systematic coordination of parts :  organized <an organic whole>
c :  having the characteristics of an organism :  developing in the manner of a living plant or animal<society is organic>
5. :  of, relating to, or constituting the law by which a government or organization exists

While in general I don’t think the dictionary really helped in this case, I think my general understanding of an organic design is one that was inspired by nature. Which I had pretty much thought would be the case. 

I then did a google search on organic designs. The primary return was a shop called Organic Designs in Costa Mesa, CA. The shop creates arrangements using succulents and air plants. The owner said she was surprised at how much joy a piece of living art brought to people. So in this case an organic design is an arrangement of living plants.

So at this point I am pretty sure that an organic design in knitting is one inspired by nature. Next step is to test theory by doing a pattern search in Ravelry. The search returned 2,962 knitted, crocheted and loomed patterns. It seems in a lot of cases the term organic is referring to the material used, such as an organic cotton yarn. In others, it does appear to be a design that was inspired by a tree, plant or landscape picture.

Therefore I must conclude, sound like Spock don’t I, that organic designs are ones that are inspired by nature. Organic is a fun word, so the next time I designed that comes from looking out my window I will have to use Organic in the title, it is just a must.

Organic Playlist for your pleasure

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