Saturday, October 10, 2009

More Fun with Digital Textie Design

Here are more experimenting with digital tiling for textiles. I sent this out to Spoonflower in two different color schemes for fabric swatches in different types of cottons. I also ordered a color chart on different fabrics. You can order the color chart here I am still trying to figure out how to download their color chart into my swatches palette in Photoshop.

Below is my pencil sketch of a Chinese peony motif. I designed it to look a bit like flames as I am researching the last of San Jose's six Chinatowns, Heinlenville. It was brick. It was walled and it was locked. It was a unique enclave build by a German immigrant for the Chinese community in response to the arson burnings of other San Jose Chinatowns in the late 1800's. So the hint of flame, for me, alludes to a special community that emerged from the ashes of arson attacks.

I redrew the flower in Illustration incorporating strawberry motifs alluding to the agricultural economy which brought many early immigrants to San Jose. Into the flower, I inserted an image of an actual Chinese coin from Heinlenville that was lent to me by the historian, Connie Young Yu. Her grandparents had a store in this Chinatown. This coin was front her grandma's till box.

A common Japanese sashiko stitch motif was re created in Illustrator and applied in Photoshop to the initial tile image above. Japantown San Jose formed around Heinlenville. Below, De La Rosa peanut candy wrappers were added to the pattern. I spoke with San Jose Latina artist Lydia Sanchez and she told me that this particular candy represented a tangible (and tasty!) tie to her heritage growing up. I visit Mexican markets in San Jose for these yummy treats. Mexicans, Japanese, and Chinese all labored in the strawberry fields of Santa Clara. The final print tile (below and at top) is a blending of three cultures important to the shaping of San Jose's early cultural mix.

I'm working on a grant application relating to this. Here are some thoughts on it:
Textiles anchor us to cultural memories and help shape new identities. This project is rooted in the knowledge that Santa Clara county is the most ethnically diverse county in Northern California. Cultural exchanges and creative cultural blending occurs on a daily basis on many different levels. This project is an opportunity to reflect on the past while shaping a context in which to understand the present and envision the future. Digitally blending cultures and histories into innovative technologically created fabrics invites us to reflect in fresh ways on who we are as a community. These textiles honor the experiences of ethnic groups who shaped the Valley's agricultural past while also celebrate the blending of ethnic groups today and the digital economy driving it.

1 comment:

  1. These are really unique... I love the bright blue in all of the patterns! -suki