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Above is my final digital textile print !!! It’s all lead up to this 130x130cm piece of fabric. At this point (above) in the printing process it was drying before the washes started. While digital printing seems quicker because everything is printed from a super fancy fabric plotter, you still have to do ALL the washes. Also steaming and washing a huge piece of dark fabric is also tricky … and heavy when wet. But after a few hours of work, my piece is printed, steamed, washed, boiled, washed, dried, and ready to hang! I’ll give you a guys a peak into the process for the creation of my print.

As for inspiration for my print I kept noticing/sketching circle patterns. I noticed them again and again on our study tour. Circles were in the piles of wood, on the manhole covers, street signs, and were strong elements in one of my favorite monuments in Finland. During the study tour our primary task was to create a sketchbook documenting our inspiration. I collected and drew anything I found or saw that was interesting. Here are a few of my favorite pages, many of which you’ll see inspired my print.

Above: The yellow and oranges here were used in my final print.


I have an entire Moleskine filled from the study trip. Normally when I go on trips or look for inspiration I just take photos. I think to myself, “I have a photo, that’s enough, I can go back to it later.” But how many times do we actually go back to those photos? Not very often in my case. Drawing the actual thing, or printing the photo out and writing notes about it in a book crystallizes the memory so much more vividly. I took found pieces of design I liked, booklets, posters from the street, and combined these with drawings, color swatches and notes to create a visual diary full of inspiration. Now anytime I want to look for an idea from the trip, it’s all in one place, and having a physical object is so much nicer than photos on the computer.

So I knew I wanted to create a pattern with circles, and I’d been greatly inspired by all the Scandinavian design I’d been experiencing over the last few weeks. In the beginning a lot of my designs were very retro looking, which I liked. But this direction got away from my original idea creating a pattern that dealt with circles, in wood specifically. The rings of a tree make really beautiful patterns in wood – so why not a print ?!? So I began to move back to that direction and I came up with this final design (below).

Above: The final print and color way, dark blue background with accents of white, yellow, and light blue.

Above: Light background color way. I liked this too but thought the dark background had more depth and contrast.

Above: For some reason this reminds me of candy – like candy canes.

THE PRINTING PROCESS …

The textile prints from a fancy digital textile printer ..

Fabric is loaded like a roll of paper then printed on.

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As many of you know, I’m currently enrolled at the DIS school in Copenhagen for six weeks learning about textile design. I spent last week blogging about all the amazing designers and artist we’ve come across. Now I’ll show you some of what I’ve been working on. Since we returned from our study tour two weeks ago, we’ve been in the studio everyday printing and creating textile samples.

First we started with the heat transfer method. With this type of printing, you mix dye to create colors, then paint them onto pieces of paper. Once this is dried, you can cut out shapes, layer, and overprint these pieces of dyed paper to create patterns. Once you’ve created your design, you place the dyed paper onto the fabric’s surface, then apply heat. We used a heat press machine, but I assume this could be done by ironing at home. The nice thing about this meathod – you see immediate results, and there isn’t a lengthy wash process, like with screen printing. The bad part, when using synthetic fabric, this particular dye comes out totally different than it looks in dye form or even on the dry paper. The colors change so much when applied to heat. After much trail and error, I came up with these two designs inspired by wood patterns I kept seeing during our trip.

My first attempt at layering with heat transfer to create something tree-looking.

My finished design, using four layers. From background green to black on top, hiding registration marks.

After a few days of this method, we moved to screen printing with fabric and dyes. I’ve had experience with ink and paper screen printing so the process came quickly to me. BUT – fabric takes SOOO much longer to dry, so I quickly became frustrated by how much longer screen printing fabric takes. If you don’t wait for your layers or dry, you’ll ruin your print and the colors will mix or run. The first few days we used cut outs and open screens to create designs. This is a great way to screen print at home. It’s very similar to the method of using contact paper to create a stencil. The last few days we burned a screen to create a stencil with photo emulation. This allows for more intricate designs with finer detail. While I love screen printing, each design has to be steamed, then washed in cold and hot water (4 or 5 washes sometimes), then boiled, washed one more time, then dried. By this point your colors have likely changed and faded. One of my plaid designs I was so excited about pre-wash faded into light neon pastels post-wash. But it’s all part of the process I guess.

Above: First stripe design created using paper cutouts.

Above: My final stripe design.

Above: My paid before washing (and fading).

This design was created using cutouts, which I later turned into a series studying overlapping.

Below: After this series, I moved to photo stencils, and I created the following designs:

I wanted to create a series of 3 textiles with the same colors and different variations on the same theme.

Above may be my final pattern turned into a digital print .. but I’m coming up with some new ideas this weekend.

In this design I played with just my stencils and no solid circles of color.
The colors aren’t quite right but interesting to see.

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One designer I really liked in Finland was Kaj Franck. I’m so happy I found the packaging for these glasses (above, background). I LOVE the transparency in the pattern he created with the glass forms. Looks just like Illustrator’s “multiply” filter today – but this packaging was design in the 1950/60s. According to wikipedia,

Kaj Franck (1911-1989) was one of the leading figures of Finnish design, the teacher of several generations of professional designers in Finland, and an influential figure in design and applied arts between 1940-1980. He was artistic director of the Wärtsilä Group (later Hackman Plc, present-day Iittala Group) and artistic director and teacher at the College of Applied Arts, the predecessor of the University of Art and Design Helsinki.The Design Forum Finland awards the yearly Kaj Franck Design Prize to a designer or team of designers working in the spirit of the late Kaj Franck. The Mint of Finland will release a collector coin with the theme “Kaj Franck and Industrial Art” in January 2011. The year of release will coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of his birth.”

I like the patterns and drawings he applied to the pottery and kitchenware the most. I think the glasses are beautiful, especially the colors, but I really love the contrast between the fine lines and the application of color. At DesignMuseo, they also had a collection of his stamps designed by him/in his honor, which are also great.

 

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My new 6-week home and routine is finally starting to settle in. It’s officially been a week since I landed in Copenhagen from New York City. I spent most of the week in class, but my good pal Nefeli and I got bikes and rode ALLLLLL around the city on Saturday. It was such a beautifully perfect day. This week is also the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, so there are free concerts all around the city and in the public squares. After biking, we took a break with coffee and dessert (above) and people watched. That night we went to a friends house, a Danish native, and had a traditional Danish meal, three courses even! Last night there was a bad rainstorm, which some here are calling the worst in 30 years. A lot of basements and roads were flooded and we didn’t have power most of the day. We were supposed to go to a specific museum to sketch patterns and look at colors, but it was closed due to water damage. Instead we went to the Danish Museum of Art & Design, which I wanted to see more anyway. This weekend we leave for our study tour in Sweden and Finland! I’m really excited, as I’ve never been to any of those countries. Nefeli said that street fashion in Stockholm is amazing so I can’t wait to see that. People dress so well here in CPH despite riding bikes. Williamsburg hipsters don’t even compare, it’s like the people here ride off the posts of The Sartorialist right into the city streets. So more classes this weekend and hopefully more bike excursions into the city. I want to go on some photo expeditions so stay tuned. I’m also having dinner with a Danish host family on Wednesday after class so that should be interesting.

Part of the fort protecting the original part of Copenhagen, we found this on our first bike ride.

Beautiful building next to the fort.

I’m in LOVE with this building, I think it could be my dream home, complete with a giant crown on top!

Our Raleigh bikes, we named them Stella (mine) and Mia (Nefeli’s).

The Danish Design exhibit at the museum.

One of my favorite posters, so many great ones like this, and beautiful modern furniture.

 

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I have no idea what this sign means, but it’s right outside the dorm I’m staying in for the next six weeks. Cute right? Maybe it has something to do with children because part of the building is a kindergarden. Today was my first day of class, and we spent the entire day drawing leaves, then making patterns within them, and doing interesting things with lines and shadows. It’s hard drawing after not doing so in YEARS. I hope after this trip drawing is something I pick back up as I think it’s a good skill to hold onto, and something that must be practiced. Still trying to get used to the lay of the land here, how the money works, and the prices of things. Its hella expensive eating out at any restaurant, and there aren’t a ton of options food-wise, at least not options I’m used to finding in NYC. I think the food is actually more expensive than NYC. The main options I’ve found food-wise are discount grocery stores, or expensive ones. Not much in the middle. I bought peaches at the cheap place, and they went bad in less than two days … I guess you get what you pay for. Pray for me, if I run out of money, I’ll just be eating cereal for a month!

Leaves I started drawing in class (above).

Below are some photos of my new home I share with Josh:

My view! There’s a series of lakes right outside my window

My room, I get a desk and window with a great view, I like sitting on the table and looking out the window.

My pink caterpillar-looking bed covered with flowers and butterflies, which was randomly assigned to me ..

We have a sink in our room, pretty nice I’d say, cuts down on trips down the hall.

My Closet! Way bigger than at home in NYC.

 

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Hey everyone, I landed safe and sound in Copenhagen yesterday with my buddy Josh, also from Pratt. For the next six weeks we’re enrolled in the DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad) Textile and Furniture Design Program. I’m super excited as pattern and textile design has been a growing interest of mine for the last few months. Last summer my friend Stephanie did the same program and loved it, so I thought it would be a perfect way to finish my time at Pratt. You can read about her study abroad adventure here.

For our first two days in Copenhagen, Josh and I have been walking all around the city. I have about two days of photos I thought I’d share. Tomorrow we move into our on campus housing, so I’m looking forward to staying somewhere longer than a few nights. I hope to find a bike to rent so I can explore more quickly. I also need to look into buying my own food, b/c eating out is sooooo expensive. I bought a coke and a burger, $45 USD. Tomorrow I meet everyone in the program, so more updates coming soon. Side note, when I was at 7-11 (they are everywhere here), the guy thought I was Danish, I finally found my native land, I look like the natives! Except …  the tall blondes here are still tanner than I am!

Here are some pictures from the first two days.

Bikes everywhere! Lots of city squares like this.

Walked around the canal, lots of boats and outdoor restaurants around. People can also drink outside, good spot to do it!

Cute building!

I think this is the aquarium? Nice brick pattern

Lots of wheat pasting around the city, reminds me of NYC. Some of the music festival posters are really nice.

Name that typeface on the wall!!

Another cool music festival poster.

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