Sunday, November 18, 2012

Designing with Your Name

"But I can't draw ... " often bemoaned and heard when trying to create a pattern or an original design for textile art! Recently I had the opportunity to work with some  Design teachers, and I shared some ideas for encouraging students to explore creative design using everyday art  materials.  Both of these ideas start from using your name and are great little exercises when you feel your creativity needs a little stimulation... The resulting designs could be used to create embroidery, quilting, art journals, screen prints, mono prints, digital prints ... wherever your imagination takes you. 

Idea No 1 : Your name ... Your initials  ( image above) 
 Materials : permanent marker, cleansing alcohol, some textured surfaces and   pastels or coloured pencils. 
Step 1. Draw some lines with a permanent marker on a piece of cotton fabric. The lines could be straight or wavy....
Step 2 . In between the lines, write your initials...... Big, small, first name, family name, nickname, the right way up, upside down, any which way but fill the space. 
Step 3 . Spray with a little cleansing alcohol and let the marks run. 
Step 4: Heat set with an iron 
Step 5. Place the fabric over some textured surfaces ( these could be purchased texture sheets, some found textures, like bubble wrap, ribbed plastic, or  rubber bands stretched over cardboard) 
Step 6: Make some rubbings with crayon, pastel or coloured pencils. 
Step 7 : Reset with heat ( iron) to ensure colours are permanent. 
( Note: If non-permanent markers are used, the colours can be made to "run" with a spray of water) 
Idea No 2:  Your Name starts with ....
This works really well with a group of creative participants - any age.
Materials : long piece of paper ( I use a roll of cheap brown paper), pastels or crayons, cardboard frame cutouts, tracing paper.
Step 1. Roll out a long piece of paper the length of a table or several desks or small tables pushed together. You and a friend take a place side by side facing the paper.
Step 2: Pick one person's name in the group . This could be done randomly by number, by age, by hair colour, whatever.... so in this case we chose Susan.... the first letter /sound is "S"
Step 3 : Brainstorm and write up every suggestion of descriptive words starting with "S" .... for example, swirly, snakey, sunny, sluggish, slimey, starry,
Step 4 ; Each person chooses a word from the list, but doesn't tell the person  beside him/her.
Step 5: Give a time limit ( no more than 5 minutes) and each person is encouraged to use the pastels or crayons to make some shapes or patterns which interpret the word he/she has chosen.
Step 6: As each person has drawn on the paper directly in front of him/her, there will be a blank space between each person's drawings. Then together try to fill in that space to integrate the two/   drawings into one large art work , as in the image above. For example, the lines with circles and zig zags in the centre of the pattern  pictured  above were drawn to integrate the swirls on the lift and the snakey patterns on the right.
Step 7: Using the  cut out frames, try out different arrangements anywhere on the large art work to choose a favourite design. It might be part of  the combined section,  or your own, or your partner's.

Step 8; Trace around the border of your frame, and cut out the chosen section to use as a basis for some other art work.
Hope you can use or adapt these ideas to create something amazing! 
PS Many thanks to Gail for sharing her photos from the design workshop. 

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