San Diego Jewish Academy
High School Humanities

Pattern: 1. a decorative design, as for wallpaper, china, textile fabrics, etc. 2. decoration or ornament having such a design. 3. a natural or chance marking, configuration, or design. 4. a distinctive style, model, or form. 5. a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement. (Webster's, p. 1423)

"The key to creativity is nothing more than following a systematic process, allowing random connections to take place, and using your intuition to develop unique solutions.

Oh, by the way, it's much easier and much more fun when you work with others throughout the process." - Doug

Shape vocabulary - just as we develop a vocabulary of words to make statements to express our thoughts, shape vocabulary does the same thing through the use of, you guessed it, shapes. On a more basic level words are made of letters or characters. Similarly, shapes are comprised of smaller units of points and lines.

Points and basic shapes - the example below shows basic shapes and simple orientations. Certainly, many more possibilities exist and as you develop your own shape vocabulary these possibilities will grow.

Lines - the thickness, length, and "shape" of the line affects its evocative qualities.

Combine points, lines, and larger shapes to create patterns. Keep in mind color also plays an important part in the pattern.

Pattern Grid - Start with a solid organizational foundation, the grid. Use this square to layout your pattern. | Top

Create repeat patterns by dividing the shapes on the diagonals. Accuracy is critical.

Note: When cutting linoleum blocks:

  • Remember, the print is a reversal of the art on the block.
  • Cut away what you do not what to print.
  • Create designs that do not rely on accurate or complex cuts.
  • Use squares, rectangles, and straight lines for best results.
  • Use thick lines when possible.
  • Avoid circles, ellipsis's, and intricate curved lines.

The pattern below should not be tried on linoleum

Repeat the single block until you achieve the desired result.

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Field Patterns - result when symmetrical repetition takes place in two directions, thus forming a two-dimensional pattern that covers the plane. There are seventeen (17) systems which mathematicians classify as symmetry groups. The core of which focus on: translations, reflections, glide, glide reflections,rotations, reflections + reflections. (© 1997 The Textile Museum & The Math Forum)

Page Grid - as with pattern grid the page grid provides a reference foundation for placing images, graphic devices, and text. The red area below represents the "dead area". No text and only art that is specifically crafted to bleed should go into the dead area. See Layout Rules of Thumb.

Additional resources

Symmetry of Rugs - About Symmetry and Pattern - - provides definitions and examples of symmetry and pattern, asymmetry and symmetry-breaking, the four basic symmetries, border patterns, field patterns, and grids and tessellations. This site does a great job of explaining how to create patterns.

Aon Celtic Art - - this particular page deals with creating Celtic knotwork manuscript design, but make sure you check out the gallery and other links. This is very cool.

Tessellations Home Page - - "Bringing together art and mathematics to make the puzzling fun" a site that provides lessons, examples, and other cool stuff about creating tessellations.

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