• Natascha Mehrabi process Oceania Artistic Process

    One of my favourite themes to explore has always been the creation of organic forms. There’s something so beautiful and necessary in the unpredictability of free flowing art. For me, embracing yourself in nature’s organic art brings a moment of elation like no other, whether it be the way cloud formations light up during sunrise, the ripples formed by rain or viewing a horizon of peaks and valleys created by centuries of tectonic movements.

    Natascha Mehrabi process

    I find the organic flow of water particularly incredible. When forces act on a body of water they create the most amazing sculptures that last only for a split second. I wanted to try and capture some of these fluid forms, ones that disappear too quickly for our eyes to properly appreciate. So I began experimenting with macro photography.

    Natascha Mehrabi process

    Using inks of different density and recreating natural currents in water I tried to capture the fluid movements. The swirling patterns and contrasting colours were mesmerising and forever changing before my lens.

    While reviewing the photographs I found they reminded me of biological organisms, I saw seahorses, jellyfish and anemones in the patterns created. Using fineliners I wanted to bring these organisms to life with illustrations. I began playing with the balance between the organic flows and the geometric patterns found in organisms.

    Natascha Mehrabi process

    Through using digital manipulation I was able to merge the illustrations with the photographs and create the prints you see on the scarves. The illustrations add boundaries to the organic flows while the flows provide inspiration and direction for the geometric patterns.

    Natascha Mehrabi process

  • Ernst Haeckel Natascha Mehrabi Haeckel’s World

    I was first drawn to Ernst Haeckel’s drawings while studying the evolution and anatomy of organisms in Oxford. While informative, there was a certain magic to his work I hadn’t seen with other scientific illustrators. It was as if I had been transported back to the world of 19th century Art Nouveau with its organic lines and unruly representation of nature.

    Ernst Haeckel print

    Ernst Haeckel was a biologist and philosopher from the 19th century who discovered, described and drew thousands of new species. He was prolific in his work and made great contributions to science, yet his illustrations are so much more than a documentation of organisms. They capture the symmetry and incredible detail of life in a way that has them dancing across the page.

    Ernst Haeckel Natascha Mehrabi

    Most inspiring about his work was the way in which he brought the strange, the microscopic and the unheard-of organisms into the homes of designers and artists everywhere. At a time when science was stuck in the physics and equations of animals, Haeckel provided a picture of Nature’s entirety, inspiring creators from all disciplines to do the same.

    Natascha Mehrabi illustration

    I wanted to base my first collection on oceanic organisms. Even today, the world beneath the waves remains a mystery to us in so many ways. As Haeckel had done, I wanted to bring life and beauty to some of the lesser-known species. I drew inspiration from many of his plates; trying to balance the scientific accuracy with organic flow of lines.

    Natascha Mehrabi illustration

    The process was one of great concentration, drawing thousands of tiny dots and lines to try and capture the energy and movement of each organism was a challenge, an exciting one. As each organism came to life on the page and ultimately on the swirling silk it was magical.