Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When Once is Not Enough

Once the students experimented with making patterns from letters they were set.  They created their own naturalistic "biomorphic" shapes.  Then, using rotation, reflection, glides, and other symmetries they created their own compound shapes. 

At this point in time, they are able to understand how negative is just as important as positive space.

Initial Voyage

Pattern making is a great design exercise.  Using simple symmetric devices such as rotation, translation, reflection and glide reflection, students discover a sort of "magic trick".  This homework assignment was to create a letter of their choice and it did not need to be from my alphabet.
The students had to experiment with the letter using the four above named symmetries and then they were to create a design and ink it in.  The bold contrast between black and the white made the images all that much more compelling.

I love the variety in this design.

This design is made from a letter from the Burmese alphabet.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yellow is the Darkest Color

Just home from an evening at the Hirshhorn Museum attending a "conversation" about Josef Albers with design great, Ivan Chermayeff, museum director, Richard Koshalek, and curator, Valerie Fletcher.  Currently on exhibition until April 11th is Josef Albers: Innovation and Inspiration which includes close to sixty works that spans his long career in visual art and design.

Josef Albers

This is the  beginning of semester break so this event marks the kick-off!  I have not seen the exhibit yet, or the exhibition, ColorformsI could not pass up this opportunity to see and hear Ivan Chermayeff talk about his former teacher, who was head of the design department at Yale University

My notes in the darkened room are not entirely reliable so I will not use quotation marks.  He said that Albers was concerned with magic and opening your eyes.  If 90% of how humans learned was through their eyes, hence they need to see well in order to understand the world.  He did not really teach theory so much as observation. He also sought to open the eyes of others to emotional content.

Albers allowed all types of students into his studio.  His classes were open-ended and enjoyable creative sessions. He related his work to a larger context and cautioned that things are not always what they seem, so look and think.  Students should not be easily satisfied and should be willing to reject their own work in order to reach a more satisfactory outcome.  Perhaps the most heartening bit of information was that he felt that teachers are only justified in leading students if they themselves are students.  Amen.