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Printing Courses

Last updated on Mar 11, 2023

Printed cloth has long been used to commemorate events, communicate messages, and convey identity in political and personal arenas. In contemporary practice the process of direct painting, resist dyeing, hand printing, and silkscreening on cloth likewise leaves the mark of the maker’s intent—transforming a plain surface to one saturated with color and imprinted with graphic content. As a flexible substrate, cloth offers unique opportunities for the artist or designer to communicate ideas, drape interior environments, and fashion the body. In these hands-on courses, students work with pigments, chemical dyes, and plant-based colors on a variety of fibers and fabrics.

At the 2000 level this course is open to students in ALL majors without previous experience or prerequisites. Continuing and advanced students at the 3000 level focus on developing content and skill through in-depth investigations.

The following selected courses have been offered by the Textiles Program on a rotating basis in the last several years.

Interiority Complex

Dating back centuries, wallpaper was once a hand-printed and hand-painted luxury based on the practice of hanging expensive patterned silks and pictorial tapestries. However, through the mechanization and industrialization of print processes, the cultural cache around commercial wallpaper diminished. In this course, students re-engage the lexicon of printed wallpaper and interior fabrics to explore notions of "interiority." How might surfaces (walls, beds, tables, floors, windows) be draped with printed fabrics to materialize interior landscapes and imagined worlds? Using analog and digital processes, students create interior fabrics that convey decorative, social, sexual, linguistic, political, intimate, and/or cultural narratives. Now that this course will be taught fully online, students can expect to engage their ideas using the Adobe Creative Suite. Using hand drawn or photographic imagery to explore engineered and repeat patterns, students explore fine arts and design-based applications.

Taught by rotating faculty.

Print Witchery

Drawing from the well of mystic folkloric tradition including witchcraft, Tarot, and ritual arts, Print Witchery explores printed cloth as strategic studio spellcraft. Working in the synergistic space between creative and spiritual practices, students design and print engineered compositions as poetic gestures and personal incantations.

Along with symbol and form, this course investigates herbal potions and natural dyes—including magical indigo—to conjure deeper meanings. Students use hand and/or digital methods to design imagery and intentional print placement, produce color-separated sets of stencils, and print objects that may include clothing, accessories, and home textiles. Print layout and controlled strategies of block and screen printing are emphasized, with some construction coaching provided to produce finished items.

Taught by Rachel Blodgett

Engineered Prints

An engineered print is a self-contained composition placed in a controlled position and scaled to fit a shaped textile. Differing from a repeat pattern that is structured on continuous tiling of artwork, examples of engineered prints include classic Hermes scarves and the iconic Dali-inspired lobster gown of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In this course students design and print several objects that may include clothing, accessories, upholstery, curtains, and more. Working within the architectural shape of each canvas, students design and draw engineered compositions and produce color-separated sets of stencils. Layout and printing strategies will be emphasized and some construction coaching will be provided to produce finished items. This course is open to all majors, but may be of special interest to Fashion, Furniture, and Interior Design majors.

Taught by rotating faculty

Wet + Wild

Not for the faint of heart, this class is a bold and experimental introduction to dyeing, painting, printing, and surface development on textile substrates. Through a range of layered processes including the use of thickened dyes, textile pigments, paste resists, selective color removal, and Thermofax technology, we will explore themes around gesture, abstraction, and mark making. Readings, lectures, and class discussions will highlight histories of color, alchemy, decoration, and taste in our quest for exuberant cloth expressions. This class is suitable for designers and fine artists alike. Bring an apron, and prepare to roll up your sleeves: we are about to get messy.

Taught by Josh Faught

Flower Power

Flowers, fruits, and birds have long been a source of inspiration for textile artists and designers. From Indian “chintz” prints to William Morris’s Arts & Crafts designs to the 1960s Finish design house Marimekko, flowers have been cultivated on the body and in interiors for centuries for their graphic beauty and symbolic meanings. Research will include the Victorian language of flowers, Chinese flower symbolism, and other cultural meanings. Using the Oakland campus as a site of field research, students will tour the Oakland campus and learn about its flora, research the botanical properties and symbolic meanings of specific plants, draw botanical renditions on site, design engineered prints and draft repeat patterns in Photoshop, and silk-screening lengths of fabric.

Taught by rotating faculty

Commemorative Cloth

For centuries printed textiles have commemorated special events such as campaigns, elections, inaugurations, coronations, birthdays, anniversaries, and festivals as well as tourist destinations such as monuments and natural wonders. They have also logged routine gestures on suites of mundane objects such as kitchen towels and underwear printed for each day of the week. This intermediate/advanced print class explores the historical implications of commemoration through cloth, retro-chic aesthetics of the mid-twentieth century, and the role of souvenir artifacts in the accumulation of family history. Prompts include engineered prints such as kitsch towels, aprons, handkerchiefs, pillow covers, tablecloths and napkins, as well as banners, flags, and T-shirts. Techniques include dye and pigment preparation for fabric dyeing, printing, selective color removal (discharge printing), and dye sublimation heat transfer printing.

Taught by rotating faculty.

Image artist credit: Matthew Branciforte