Category Archives: Textile Cultures

Textile Cultures

Textile Books

March 9, 2013, by

The final project for our Textile Cultures class was to use the textile we had printed to create some sort of sculpture, installation, or garment. Since the theme of the pattern I created was travel and change, I chose to make six books that would each represent a place I have lived. It was a lot of work, but it was really cool learning how to bind books. Below you can see a picture of the books I made along with my artist statement.


World Books
Cotton, ink, cardboard, paper, glue, thread
Six books, between 3×3 inches and 11×9 inches

I created six books using the cotton blend fabric I screen-printed a pattern onto last unit. To stay consistent with the theme of the symbols in my pattern (travel and change) my books represent the many places I have lived in my life. They are a sculptural installation the audience can interact with, since they can look at three lists I made and try to order the books based on those. One list is of the locations themselves, another of the dates in which I lived in each place, and the last one is what each place means to me. Judging by the various shapes and sizes of the books, the audience can guess which corresponds to which, then open the books to discover the answers.

After brainstorming this idea and creating a blueprint of the books, the process of going from a textile to books began with turning the fabric into covers. I measured the pieces needed for each book, then glued kozo paper to the back so it would stick well to the cardboard. The next step was to wrap the cardboard with the textile, and cover the extra space with paper. I included maps of each place on the inside covers of the corresponding books. Once the covers were complete, I bound the pages inside using a number of different kinds of stitches: pamphlet, long, and coptic, plus one with accordion-style pages.

Textile Pattern

February 22, 2013, by

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.

Edited - photo (15)

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.

Printing- Textile Cultures ~ ZF

February 19, 2013, by

In our last project in Textile Cultures, we printed our own fabric. It was a challenging yet rewarding process, and I learned a lot. Below is a short explanation of my experience.


Zoe Friedland
Growing from Each Other
Screen Printing on Cotton/Spandex blend
2 yds x 45 in.
My Grandmother turned 89 last week. We took her out to tea, and I watched her, in a long skirt and tights, climb up a large staircase with nothing but a railing to steady her. She is no longer as tall as she was, but she used to be 6 feet tall, and I don’t think she was ever very comfortable in her height. My pattern is a message to her. As one tall girl (I’m 5’10”) to another, I think she is beautiful, and the more she grows, the more beautiful she is. My pattern has four separate motifs, the flowers, the clouds, the grass, and the eyes.

The flower starts out small- budding, but alone- no other flowers to keep it company. As it grows, it is still alone, but every step it stands straighter and taller, no longer looking for others to validate it. The grass connects the ground to the ground of the repeated pattern, showing how the flowers really do grow from one another’s strengths. The clouds are there to show our dreams, that they are never unreachable, we just have to reach a little higher to get to them. And the eyes, the eyes are the most important. With the eyes, you see them blinking and becoming older. I love my grandmother’s eyes, and I think they are one of her most beautiful features.
I used three colors for my pattern, green, blue and yellow. The green fabric represents a base of growth and youthfulness, even in old age. The blue is all about calmness and clarity, and the yellow is a symbol of energy and light.
My creative process was pretty simple. I just thought about what I think my grandma would appreciate, and what I wanted to tell her. I designed the eyes first, and they were going to be the main part of the design, but it was hard to incorporate them into a pattern if they were so big, so I used the flowers to get my point across without being too disarming.
I chose my fabric because of its structure and its stretch. It is a cotton/lycra mix and I like it a lot. My pattern is laid out so the flowers grow out from one another, the floor connecting the two sets of prints. It was hard to do this without making the pattern look disconnected, but I am pretty proud of the final product.
I made my pattern through three main steps. First, I printed the stems by taping up the flower petals and just printing the stems in blue. Second, I printed the opposite part of the pattern, with the yellow flowers. This was a difficult task to line up the stems with the petals, and it took a little time to do. My last part was to print the outline. Like with the petals, it had to line up with the stems and the flowers. It was mostly just a time consuming process, but it wasn’t terribly difficult. I loved doing this project and I would love to continue working with this medium.

Textile Stories Action Project ~ ZF

January 26, 2013, by

For our Textile cultures class, we wrote a story of our favorite or most meaningful textile. My story is about my many pairs of tights. I love wearing tights as a fun and interesting alternative to pants. Above is my story and a presentation of some of the history of tights and pantyhose.