The Intersections Project (TIP) is a collaborative initiative launched by the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. I had honor of being the resident artist for the most recent installment of TIP, working with six classes of students over the course of four days at RJ Reynolds High School, an arts magnet school located in Winston-Salem, NC. My role was to teach the students about repeating patterns, and to facilitate a collaborative wallpaper design. Easy, right?
The participants included two Geometry classes, two Art 1 classes, E-Media and Advanced Art. I met with each class twice, and day one was spent on individual warm-up assignments tailored specifically to each class’ curriculum: the Geometry classes worked with tessellations, Art 1 used foam rollers and foam stickers to create infinitely repeating pattern stamps, E-Media experimented with creating digital repeats using the existing symbol libraries in Illustrator, and the Advanced Art students used good old-fashioned pencil and paper to create a pattern tiles by hand.
During our second meeting, the collaborative designs came to life. At the end of day one, I asked each student to cut a shape out of a quarter-sheet of sticky foam. When we met for day two, those shapes became part of a giant rolling stamp made from a 3ft section of PVC pipe. The students arranged their shapes in the allotted space, and I made only minor adjustments to the layout. Once all shapes were securely in place, a three-person team (two brayers and one roller) would slowly roll the stamp down the canvas, with the brayers re-applying paint approximately every two seconds.
Part three (oh yeah, I forgot to mention part three), is what you’re looking at for Pattern of the Week #7. Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I digitized all of shapes from the class prints and combined them into one crazy-awesome design, which we will have printed on wallpaper through Spoonflower. One roll of wallpaper will stay at Reynolds, and one will remain on display at SECCA.
I think the students did an amazing job with this project - my favorite part was seeing their collective surprise and delight as they watched their large-scale print emerge from the random assortment of shapes that they created.
TIP always coincides with an exhibition at SECCA that is meant to lend context to the residency. This year’s show is Graphic Design: Now in Production, an exhaustive and exhilarating display of examples of communication design produced since 2000.