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The process I use to create work for PROGRAMMATIC is rooted in the studio's ideal of harmonizing computation and craft: to create traditional decorative arts that  bring delight but also carry deep deliberation and meaning. Transforming data into textile patterns and art prints is a way to imbue a two dimensional design with a million meanings. Data can encode anything: a memory, a message, a movement. Here I outline how I go about my technical studio work. Look deeper into each of my projects in the studio journal.

Data-driven patterns

Data is the fuel behind many of the products and designs I create for PROGRAMMATIC. Using data to create deterministic designs allows me to encode layered meanings behind my work. For example, the below image is a spectrogram of a very meaningful sound for me- cicadas singing at the height of an east coast summer. Using samples from this data, I can code up a Python or JavaScript program to translate my hand drawn shapes whose imagery captures the spirit of what I'm after.  I feel that this multilayered meaning brings such delight and wholeness to the designs.

Spectrogram of 17-year cicada chirps recorded from my back porch. I often use sampled spectrogram data to translate hand-drawn shapes to create designs and patterns.

Spectrogram data is manipulated by custom software to create a composition for a repeat pattern.

Pen plotter positives

My AxiDraw pen plotter executes much of the work for PROGRAMMATIC. In my view, its uniqueness exists in its ability to execute digital instructions with precision, with any mark-making implement one can rig to its arm. This harmony of organic mark translated according to digital instruction core of PROGRAMMATIC's ethos. I use the AxiDraw to create editioned prints as well as positives for exposing, or burning screens with.


AxiDraw pen plotter hard at work.

The AxiDraw creates many things at my bidding- print editions, one-off hybrid manual / digital paintings as well as positives to expose screens for printing on fabric.

Screenprinting with mordants

To transfer a design onto fabric with natural dyes, I create a paste with a mordant, essentially a metallic salt suspended in vinegar and guar gum, and squeeze it through a silkscreen mesh with the design burned onto it. The mordant-printed textile then has to undergo a few more steps (chalking and "dunging") before it is ready for the dye bath.

Natural dyeing

A dye bath is prepared with ground dye extract (pomegranate and buckthorn are ones I use very often). The prepared textile is submerged and cooked in the bath for a certain amount of time. After the dye bath, the textile is "finished" and dried and ready to be used!

Pulling a mordanted "squiggle print" textile out of a pomegranate bath. Showing color progression throughout the dye bath.

Finished "squiggle print" yardage.


Swatches dyed with buckthorn and pomegranate, showing after-bath treatment with iron.

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