2D UNIT VI: Patterning

Project VIE  Talking Patterns

To understand and apply various methods for creating patterns and textures.

To explore the "hidden voices" of pattern as found in contemporary, historical, and cross-cultural experiences.

Project Overview Your challenge is to plan and execute a paper tapestry that illustrates a "cosmology" (a metaphysical picture of the origin and structure of the universe...whew!) that you have either researched from another culture or invented from scratch.

Project References


Islamic art, Navajo weaving, Mimbres pottery, African Kenta cloth,




module, pattern, texture, cell, repetition, rhythm, adjacency, rotation, rotational symmetry, translation (also glide), reflection (also mirror), parallel reflection, orthogonal, proportion, alignment (unity by direction), transitional unity (unity by transformation), icon, tapestry



15 x 20" illustration board, x-acto knife, scissors, rubber cement or graphic arts paste, collage/montage materials (magazine images, prints, photos), ruler, paints and brushes, pens and pencils.


1. Before coming to class, review the thematic concept of Other Voices as found on the website. Also read the discussion on Patterning for Unit VI.


1. Read the handout entitled "Crystalligraphy" by Phylis and Philip Morrison.

2. Begin experimenting with different methods for creating multiple shapes. Try different techniques--paper cut-outs, rubber stamps, wood blocks, xerox machines, computers. Notice how each tool will produce different effects.

3. Illustrate each of the actions from the article and the discussion in class: translation, reflection, rotation. Experiment with different types of adjacency, grouping, and gestalt. Label and place in your notebook.


1. Develop a series of alternative compositions using multiple thumb-nail sketches, keeping in mind the overall symbolism of your tapestry.

2. Using ONE of the techniques you explored in Exercise #2, produce a final "tapestry" reflecting either your own "cosmology" or that of another culture. You may use a 15" x 20" illustration board or other larger format/material of your choice.


Critique Ideas


When you have completed your composition, divide into small groups and exchange artworks with another group from the class. Within your group, work together to respond to each print in turn. Consider the following

1. Describe the patterning techniques your fellow artists used and explain how various effects were achieved.

2. Point out any personal symbols the artist used to indicate a particular meaning.

3. Discuss ideas the artwork seems to communicate. After some sharing of interpretations, attempt to state the message of the composition in one sentence. (This artwork is about. . .)

4. Explain how the shapes, symbols, or other elements of the composition support its message.

Return to UNIT VI Overview