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The process I use to create work is rooted in my ideal of harmonizing computation and craft: to create traditional decorative arts that  bring delight but also carry deep deliberation and meaning. Transforming data into textile patterns and art prints is a way to imbue a two dimensional design with a million meanings. Data can encode anything: a memory, a message, a movement. Here I outline how I go about my technical studio work. Look deeper into each of my projects in the studio journal.

Data-driven patterns

Data is the fuel behind many of the products and designs I create. Using data to create deterministic designs allows me to encode layered meanings behind my work. For example, the below image is a spectrogram of a very meaningful sound for me- cicadas singing at the height of an east coast summer. Using samples from this data, I can code up a Python or JavaScript program to translate my hand drawn shapes whose imagery captures the spirit of what I'm after.  I feel that this multilayered meaning brings such delight and wholeness to the designs.

Spectrogram of 17-year cicada chirps recorded from my back porch.

I manipulate the translated shapes with more custom software, and by eye, to create a composition for a repeat pattern.

 I use sampled spectrogram data to translate hand-drawn shapes to create designs and patterns.

Pen plotter positives

My AxiDraw pen plotter executes much of my printing work. In my view, its uniqueness exists in its ability to execute digital instructions with precision, with any mark-making implement one can rig to its arm. This harmony of organic mark translated according to digital instruction is at the core of my current practice. I use the AxiDraw to create editioned prints as well as positives for exposing, or burning screens with.


AxiDraw pen plotter hard at work. The AxiDraw creates many things at my bidding: print editions, one-off hybrid manual / digital prints, as well as positives to expose screens for printing on fabric.

Screenprinting with mordants and resists

To transfer a design onto fabric with natural dyes, I create a paste with a mordant( essentially a metallic salt suspended in vinegar and guar gum) or a rice paste resist, and squeeze it through a silkscreen mesh with the design burned onto it. The mordant-printed textile then has to undergo a few more steps (traditionally called chalking and "dunging") before it is ready for the dye bath.

Natural dyeing

A dye bath is prepared with ground dye extract (pomegranate and buckthorn are ones I use very often). The prepared textile is submerged and cooked in the bath for a certain amount of time. After the dye bath, the textile is "finished" and dried and ready to be used.

Pulling a mordanted "squiggle print" textile out of a pomegranate bath. Left and right images show color progression throughout the duration of immersion in the dye bath. Bottom image shows finished print.

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