For the elective Textile Cultures, our second action project was to design and print our own patterns that told a story. I decided to tell the story of all the travelling and moving I have done in my life, so I used adaptations of Kente symbolism as representation of this. This was printed onto my fabric by screen-printing, something I really enjoyed since I have wanted to learn it for a long time. Below is a picture of the final textile and my artist statement.
Screen-printing ink on cotton blend
6 feet by 45 inches
The motifs in my pattern are a combination of symbols used in Kente cloths. The story I wanted to tell was travelling and moving throughout the world, something I have done a lot in my life, so the symbols I used represent elements related to that. The crocodiles (which look like turtles) represent adaptability, and I combined them with the symbols for changes in life and independence. I also included variations on the symbols for perseverance and transformation.
The colors I chose to use also reflect my story. White is an obvious choice since in Eastern symbolism it represents travel; purple and gray represent transformation and maturity, respectively, both in the West. These colors work well together because gray and white are neutral, which emphasizes the purple.
The textile my pattern is printed on is a cotton blend with acrylic and polyester. I chose this kind of fabric because I like the light feel of cotton, but this blend adds a little stretch without losing its structure. My pattern is printed on it in a one direction, overall arrangement in a block repeat layout type. I used dye to turn the fabric gray, then screen-printed the white and purple pattern. I had one screen but I taped portions of it to keep the ink out. After drawing out a grid, I first printed the white circles, then the purple.