The impressions of leaves can be found on sidewalks as their natural tannic acid seeps into concrete. Prehistoric rocks show the traces of ancient peoples who left imprints of their hands with pigment. And printed cloth has long been used in many cultures to commemorate events, communicate personal messages, and convey identity in political arenas. In contemporary practice, the processes of dyeing and printing on cloth likewise leave the marks of the artist's or designer's intent-transforming a plain surface to one saturated with color, imprinted with graphic content, and infused with meaning. Cloth is a chameleon-like material. It accepts natural and manufactured dyes through direct painting, resist techniques, and various printing processes. It responds sensitively to physical and chemical manipulation, shifting from two dimensions to three. And as a flexible substrate, cloth infused with imagery and pattern offers unique opportunities for the artist or designer to communicate meaning, drape interior environments, and fashion the body.
This course explores the processes of dyeing and painting that saturate cloth with color and pattern rather than those that lie on its surface. Mechanical resists such as clamping, stitching, and binding impart unique textures, edges, and surface memory, while direct painting techniques produce effects ranging from crisp line to soft watercolor washes. In addition, students are introduced to screen-printing techniques that add a characteristic graphic sharpness. Working on a variety of textile surfaces, the conjunction of fiber content, weave structure, multi-layered processes, and aesthetic intention contribute to the complexity and meaning of final compositions.