SchoolArts Magazine

MAY-JUN 2007

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Middle School Studio Lesson TextileDesign for the Real World Denise M. Cassano T a much larger, more complicated design. Wallpaper swatch books provide many examples for students. They are also excellent examples of motif and repetition. Students realize there are two The Challenge basic ways to repeat a motif. Some This project challenges students designs are simply made, moved, to identify functional art in their and repeated. In effect, it is the everyday lives. same motif repeated next to the We develop a broad definition original. Others are made and then of a textile as a "woven or knitted flipped, so there is a mirror image of fabric or cloth." the original. Once Students analyze textile Typically, stuflipped, new, dents think of interesting patdesigns, then create their curtains, clothown motifs and repeat them terns create lines ing, bed sheets, of reflection. With to turn them into a much etc., however, I these reflected larger pattern. encourage them motifs, beautiful, to think about often unusual more unusual fabrics, such as those new connections emerge along the on car seats, towels, tents, banners, edges. My sixth grade students often wallpaper, and umbrellas. refer to it as looking like a kaleidoIt's important for students to scope design. understand that artists do not typiOrganic vs. Geometric cally make the entire pattern from To begin the design process, stuscratch. They actually make one dents choose between organic or small area, called a motif. That geometric shapes. This allows motif is then repeated to create them to have control over the extile design is a multimillion-dollar business that affects all of us. However, the idea of textile design is often ignored in our art classes. 30 SchoolArts May/June 2007 exact shapes they want to use. Organic designs focus on flowers, leaves, and other life forms. I usually gear students toward organic shapes because I feel it helps them with their ability to render detail. Alternately, geometric designs are favorites of students who are not confident in their drawing abilities. Students should be able to trace from circle stencils, French curves, and rulers. They gain confidence with the availability of these tools. We begin by drawing flowers, stems, leaves, and even insects, in a simplified manner on 9 x 12" (23 x 30.5 cm) white paper. This is key, because the finished piece is 18 x 24" (46 x 61 cm). You may change the size of the finished swatch, just make sure the original drawing is one quarter the finished size. This small drawing should be done in pencil, with only contour lines (no shading or small detail). This drawing, when flipped and traced, will be used to create the larger, finished piece. Remember, the success of the entire design is dependent on the

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