PR3: Tessellations to Toiles

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.

As a continuous and fluid surface with unlimited potential for use, cloth is a perfect vehicle to carry the movement of repeated imagery in space. Pattern - as a compelling visual form and a framework for holding meaning - is the focus of this silkscreen course. Students study design strategies and the principles of symmetry to create different kinds of repeat patterns such as tessellations. Compositional factors including the impact of scale, the variable results of different color ways, and the use of opacity and translucency in printing will be examined. Students learn the properties of different stencil media, the techniques of hand drawn or cut stencils, the manipulation of color separation, and the skills of proper registration. Using pattern found in nature and historical genres such as the French printed toiles of the eighteenth century as source material, students design and print lengths of cloth that can be used for fashion or interiors.