• Pages

    UNIT VI: Modules and Patterns


    To understand and apply the principles of "patterning" as applied to two-dimensional art. To introduce the concepts of "design process," "module," and "pattern." To explore the range of part-to-whole relationships that can result from the considered design of modules and their application to different patterning schemes. To indicate the universal aspects of patterning as found in cultures throughout the world.

    quiltsAfrican Textile


    Pattern is an orderly arrangement of things forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement or sequence.

    What is a Module?

    Andy Warhol

    While in two-dimensional art we can produce patterns comprised of repeated shapes or modules, a pattern can also be any regular rhythm in time or space. Patterns can also be used to create identical shapes or parts. Pattern makers--from dress-design to boat manufacture--are highly valued for their conceptual and design abilities.

    Replication? What are some natural patterns you can think of?

    Albert Renger-Patzsch Echeoeria

    Patterns pervade nature. People and plants grow in patterns, and so do spirals and money in the bank. Pendulums move in patterns, as do waves and spinning tops and springs. Sailors are on the lookout for patterns of sea and sky and wind that tell of bad weather. Parents look for behavior patterns in children that spell different kinds of turbulence ahead. Economists look for patterns of spending and saving.

    Andy Warhol

    Patterns are essential to perception because if we could not pick out patterns among the sound vibrations we heard or the light vibrations we saw, the entire world would be a buzzing white confusion. All animals--and probably plants--have built-in pattern perceivers as part of their innate biological structure. Indeed, pattern perception or pattern recognition is important to the survival of every organism. Our ability to perceive the most subtle of patterns helps us to navigate and understand the world in which we live.

    Consider the patterns of clouds; the ways in which water moves; the tracks animals leave; the irregular beating of a heart or the "sticky valve" of a car engine. Each "orderly arrangement of things" allow us to perceive something different about our world.

    Navajo Weave

    Sometimes the patterns we employ to perceive the world filter out other less familiar patterns, and make us literally blind to new ways of seeing and thinking. Patterns extend our perceptions and also obscure them.

    Can you think of a Pattern that has obscured our perception?

    Andy Warhol

    Do we depend on Patterns... Why?

    A pattern implies that something happens over and over again. It can help you find out where you're going, and where you've been; what's happening now, and what's going to happen next. It can be a sequence of things, a mutual force, a relationship in time or space. If one thing follows another in a repeatable way, you may think they are related by cause and effect. When two patterns collide or intersect they often create an "interference pattern" such as a moire pattern in which two patterns produce a third "wave-like" pattern.

    Islamic Dome of the Rock

    What is a Texture? Is it a Pattern?

    Texture can be understood as simply pattern that is better appreciated with fingers rather than the eyes; textures are really just very small repeated patterns. Very fine patterns or textures feel smooth to the touch. Subtle differences between textures may only be discernable through the sense of touch. Coarser textures may be readily perceived by the eyes--for example, corduroy fabric or the surface of a rasp. When creating a composition that requires intermediary tones, visual texture--such as crosshatched lines or rubbings (frottage)--can be used to provide interest and richness to a visual field.

    Andy Goldsworthy


    Design process, module, pattern, edge, alignment (unified direction), rotation, axis, symmetry, tangency, gestalt, transition


    Meet The Author


    About Me