Pattern Occurring 101 - Tie-dye

This summer we have an intern from the Seattle Children's Theater staying with us. She and her fellow interns had a Tie-Dye party last weekend. I was so impressed. Come On Now Get Your Pattern Occurring! Woop Woop!

Tie-dye is a process of tying and dyeing a piece of fabric or cloth which is made from knit or woven fabric, usually cotton T- Shirts here in Seattle. It seems to be a trend that comes back time and again.  It is a modern version of traditional dyeing methods used in many cultures throughout the world such as shibori in Japan. Tie-dyeing is accomplished by folding the material into a pattern, and binding it with string or rubber bands. Dye is then applied to only parts of the material. The ties prevent the entire material from being dyed. Designs are formed by applying different colors of dyes to different sections of the wet fabric. Once complete, the material is rinsed, and the dye is set. Then you are ready for any folk festival on the West Coast! TA DA! Here is a cute video to show you the process.  Now go play with pattern.

Pattern Occurring 101- Indigo

Yesterday I spoke about the fantastic packaging for Starbucks Kati Kati blend and It started me thinking about indigo dyeing.  Here is a super little video about the indigo dyeing process.  Shame you can't experience the pong! 

Indigo is one of the oldest dyes to be used for textile dyeing and printing. Many Asian countries, such as India, China, Japan and South East Asia have used indigo dyeing for centuries. It was first farmed on a commercial level in India and It was a luxury item imported to the Mediterranean from India by Arab merchants. The Romans used indigo as a pigment for painting and for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. Because of its high value as a trading commodity, indigo was often referred to as Blue Gold.

Pattern Occurring 101 - William Morris & John Henry Dearle

When commencing my Pattern Occurring 101, I thought it only right to start is with one of the greatest textile and surface designers ever, William Morris and his apprentice/co worker John Henry Dearle. Predictable I know, but very essential.  I have already covered a few of my favourites so be sure to check those out if you haven't already Lucienne Day, William Killburn and Anna Maria Garthwaite.

WIlliam Morris (1834- 1896) Is one of the major contributors to what is now known as the Arts and Craft Movement. He was profoundly influenced by the Pre Raphaelites, Medieval arts, the writings of John Ruskin and poetry of Tennyson. Morris rejected industrialization for hand craftsmanship. Elevating the craftsman to artist and creating affordable hand-made goods.  Morris's unequalled genius continues to floor me and is is still cherished and adored world wide today.  His vast legacy includes poetry, writing, manuscript illuminations, calligraphy, tapestry, stained glass, furniture, textiles and wallpapers. It can also be credited to Morris, the huge a love affair and respect for print and pattern in the UK. His influence is also clearly seen through the works of several other designers such as John Henry Dearle.

You may be forgiven for not knowing John Henry Dearle. Beginning in his teens as a shop assistant and then design apprentice, Dearle rose to become Morris & Co.'s chief designer by 1890.  Dearle created designs for tapestries, embroideries, wallpapers, woven and printed textiles, stained glass, and carpets. Following Morris's death in 1896, Dearle was appointed Art Director of the firm, and became its principal stained glass designer on the death of Burne-Jones in 1898. 

Morris's reputation overshadowed Dearle's work throughout Dearle's career: Dearle exhibited early patterns under Morris's name and Dearle designs continue to be sold as Morris patterns. Critical assessment of Dearle's work then underwent a significant change, during the final decades of the twentieth century, recognizing Dearle's mature work as having a unique artistic vision of its own. Dearle always remained close to Morris's aesthetic, however should be more readily recognized in it's own right.

Pattern Occurring 101-Wood Block Printing

Wood block printing is a technique for printing text and images on paper, leather, wallpaper and textiles.  It has it's origins in China but spread throughout East Asia and then to Europe. Woodblock printing went on to be the method for printing wallpapers right up until early 20th century and is still used by a few traditional firms such as Farrow and Ball and Cole & Son.

To create a wood block print the wood block is carefully prepared as a relief pattern, which means the areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block was cut along the grain of the wood. It is necessary only to ink the block and bring it into firm and even contact with the paper or cloth to achieve an acceptable print. 

For colour printing, multiple blocks are used, each for one colour, although overprinting two colours may produce further colours on the print.