Draw & Print Patterns Inspired by Textiles

Find patterns in the textiles around your house, then turn them into a series of prints inspired by the glass panel installation Spin, Weave, Gather by Nancy Callan. In her patterned glass panels, Callan references North Carolina’s rich history of textile manufacturing. From twisted threads, to woven patterns, to designs of stripes or dots, the fabric around us can prompt some pretty cool design ideas!

Nancy Callan (American, 1964–). Spin, Weave, Gather, 2018, glass. Gift of lead donors Lorne Lassiter and Gary Ferraro; Judy and John Alexander, Sandy Berlin, Linda and Bill Farthing, The Founders’ Circle, Libba and Mike Gaither, William Gorelick, Barbara Loughlin, Jancy and Gilbert Patrick, Mark Ridenhour, Vicki Jones, Yvonne and Richard McCracken, Sara and Bob McDonnell, Britt and Greg Hill, and Deborah Halliday and Gary Rautenstrauch. 2019.81A-O

“I think art is both a question and an answer. We ask the question ‘What if?’ and we answer that question through the process of making.”

-Nancy Callan

Photo by Russell Johnson

About the Artist:

Glass artist Nancy Callan lives in Seattle, Washington, where she works among many skilled glassblowers. She created the piece above while working at STARworks in Star, North Carolina.

Supplies:

• Scratch art printing foam (or recycled foam trays from the grocery store)
• Paper to print on
• Water soluble printing ink or tempera paint (also known as poster paint)
• Paint brush, pencil, or blunt end to use as a stylus (you can use more than one size tip to create different line thicknesses)
• Brayer (or small paint roller or foam brush)
• Washable, flat container for rolling ink
• Tarp or table covering that can get dirty
• Damp and dry paper towels for wiping hands
• Ruler – optional

Steps:

1. Gather fabrics to use as your inspiration.

Find pillows, towels, or pieces of clothing with textures or patterns that interest you. Pictures from the internet can also be used as inspiration for the project. Printing them and having them next to you as you work can help.

2. Carve your decoration

Use your stylus or pencil to scratch patterns into foam boards, also called “plates”. Press hard enough to make an indentation, but not so hard as to cut through the foam. Mixing large and small patterns and using various sizes of foam boards helps create contrast and interest in your prints.

3. Create your Borders

To create even borders around your print, or to plan a layout of multiple prints on one large piece of paper, draw light pencil marks where you plan to print your design. This will help with positioning. You can use a ruler or straight edge, or trace around the non-inked styrofoam plates.  You don’t have to be this precise if you don’t want to.

4. Add some ink

After you have covered your work area with a tarp or disposable covering, decide what color you would like your print to be. Put ink into the flat container and roll the brayer back and forth to cover the entire roller with ink. Roll over your foam plate several times until there are no bare spots. If you are using a foam brush, dab the ink on as evenly as you can. If you get ink on your hands, be sure to wash and dry them before touching your paper to keep from getting fingerprints on it.

Print Making 7

5. Press on your design

Place foam plate, ink side down, on a piece of paper. Gently press and rub your fingers over the foam making sure the entire surface of the plate is in contact with the paper. You can use a paper towel or extra piece of recycled paper to lay over top of your foam plate before rubbing to help keep the edges of your print clean.

6. Do it again!

Carefully lift the foam plate off the printed paper. Remember, perfection isn’t the goal. If you would like to use the same foam plate with a different color, just gently wash the foam plate and the brayer with warm soapy water and dry with an old towel. Have fun; make more than one! Why not make multiple prints to share with friends and family?

Option:
If you like the way your foam plate looks with ink on it, let it dry and then glue it to a piece of paper ink side up. The plates will have a darker tone than the prints themselves.

 

Challenge:
Have friends or family each create their own unique patterns. Make a larger collage with all the prints.

 

Simplify:
If you don’t have styrofoam, try printing with a plastic sandwich bag! Brush one color of paint onto a bag, doodle designs into the paint with a Q-tip, and flip it onto a piece of paper. Gently pat, then peel off, and you’ll have a print.

 

Learn More:

Watch Nancy Callan and her team create Spin, Weave, Gather for The Mint Museum (3.25 minutes)

 

This idea brought to you by Maggie Burgan.

The Mint Museum From Home is Sponsored by Chase.