Saturday, 11 January 2014


According to Wikipedia, a pattern "is a discernible regularity in the world or in a man-made design. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat themselves in a predictable manner." Examples include symmetry, spirals, waves, bubbles, cracks, spots and stripes.

With this statement as our starting point and equipped with a selection of mediums, the attendees of May's Material Knowledge session began to generate some pattern designs.

We used a variety of methods such as painting, printing, modelling, resistance effects with masking tape, sellotape or oil based crayons, string dipped in paint, scratching into layers, building layers, spirograph and photography. A useful tip when using tape that you wish to remove afterwards is to lessen the stickiness by patting your own clothes to pick up fluff before adding to your paper. 

On researching this month's subject, I came across an essay written by William Morris titled "The History of Pattern Designing."


William Morris (1834-1896) was a famous textile designer, as well as being an artist, writer and libertarian socialist (which explains the slightly odd link address!). He was an admirer of originality and experimentation and praised the ancient Egyptians for possessing these qualities in his essay. The William Morris gallery in Walthamstow is in the house and grounds of his childhood home and is a great place to visit having been renovated in 2012 and named the ArtFund Museum of the Year 2013.



He also wrote about the strong relationship pattern design has had with architecture and craftsmanship, which in turn have been inspired by necessity and cultural identity. Historically pattern has mostly been symbolic of nature and religion e.g. the lotus scarab beetle in ancient Egypt. The oldest forms being representations of the Holy Tree or Holy Fire adorned with guardian spirits symbolising life and creation. The most prolific and long lasting is the Roman version of an Acanthus plant form.
When creating the above and below patterns, I had no previous knowledge of the history or symbolism of pattern, which doesn't matter for a free flow brain storming session, but if I were to continue exploring pattern as a theme I would definitely want to think about adding meaning to the patterns I created and develop my own visual language.
The previous two images are from the same piece of work that were physically reworked to produce different effects but the two images below are the same piece of work with the darker one being a photograph with a negative application on it and photographed further away.
The session and blog havn't even scratched the surface of this fascinating subject and could easily be cultivated into a series of works or educational workshops for all artists of all abilities and ages to enjoy.


No comments:

Post a Comment