One Step Forward (Design Ch 2)

I feel good having learned art writers are not journalist, that they are almost obliged to add their own slant, in addition to or instead of reporting what the artist says, and both perspectives are valid, though in some cases, either can be, you know, BS. Which seems self-evident now, but I never saw art writing in this light before yesterday. And in the end, it's up to me to like or dislike whatever I read, but I still would like to be able to understand some of them better.

Today was my monthly Design Mentor Day with Ali - our First Wednesday of August slot, but I got a bit confused so happened today. Regarding the design book, some exercises were fun, some tedious, but all were far more time-consuming than I expected. Once I got over trying to finish a certain segment in the time allocated completely arbitrarily, most of it was unexpectedly enjoyable. And though there are things I could have done on the computer, (and will most like do in future), like anamorphic distortion, I did them all by hand with pencil, pen and paper, which will do me good, I'm sure, in some mysterious way.

These are called supergraphs, where I was to fill tiny squares with marks, not repeating the same mark two squares in a row, but diagonals were allowed. I can do this with colors, hues, or different elements, but I chose simple marks, like X, O = and t he like. As I got used to the process, patterns started to emerge, which made the supergraphs more predictable. I like the one I did first (marked with the arrow) when I wasn't sure where I was going, as it seems to have more energy. Supergraphs can look quitte different close up vs from a distance, which is what I want to do with my weaving.

These are called counterchange patterns. I work with one basic design, and create an "opposite" across an axis; the pair is my basic unit. I repeat the unit vertically (or horizontally or both), but the grid need not be strait or regular. I really liked the examples made on wobbly grids, the top two on the left.

Both supergraphs and counterchange patterns may become my favorite pastimes in the evening, but I would source graph papers with bigger squares before I go completely blind!

Now that my books are in the new, reinforced bookshelf, (though I have to get rid of some), Ali went through what I have and picked Doramay Keasbey's "Designing with Blocks"; starting in August, in addition to the design book, I need to work through this book and produce samples. As well as, Ali reminded me, continuing with my "normal" weaving.

If anybody has a spare, or hear about a pre-loved, copy of "basic design, systems, elements, applications", by John Adkins Richardson, Floyd W. Coleman and Michael J. Smith, (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville; published by Prentice-Hall, 1984), please, please, please let me know. I'd love to have a copy of my own and I've never seen a design text book with some laugh-out-loud passages.

Edit: Ali's suggestions were:
  • Try the supergraphs replacing marks with colors, or values.
  • Can I make drafts based on sections of the supergraphs?
  • Introduce textures into counterchanges, e.g. the way I color them in.
  • Consider the quality of lines, too, wobbly/straight, thin/fat, etc.


  1. those exercises sound so cool Meg. When did you get an art mentor? Can I have one too?

  2. Sure, if you moved here!


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