Encoding Environment Workshop

Marantha Dawkins’s workshop on pattern building in grasshopper was a great example of how versatile parametric design can be. The workshop involved sampling brightness values from an image, then mapping those values to constructed pattern pieces in grasshopper, recreating the image though abstract shape. From there the patterns were traced in hot glue on a stretched piece of fabric generating contrast between the rigidity of the glue and the pliability of the fabric under tension. Seeing each group’s project branch off in different directions depending on the density and geometry of the patterns they chose was a really fantastic experience.

My group made the pattern from four inputs: a star, a series of dashed lines, a dense squiggle, and a blank. After printing the pattern and applying the glue, the stretched fabric was released from tension and allowed to settle into its new shape. We learned that areas left blank contracted and remained relatively flat, while areas with more glue rippled the fabric into an undulating landscape. In areas with several squiggles, peaks and valleys were formed, running up and down along the grid structure. In contrast, areas with several stars created round bulges expanding upwards. Once finished with the formal workshop, we used the lessons from the patterns to create a freehand composition with experiments such as folding the fabric, using the glue as a coloring template, and applying the glue in new ways. This resulted in a composition of free flowing, almost geographical ridges, and a spine-like figure on one side.

This project was interesting, and surprisingly fun trace the pattern with the glue. Although I probably won’t be adding hot glue drawings to my studio practice, the pattern generation from an image is definitely an idea worth exploring further.

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