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Famous Printed Textiles Artists

Instructor: Stephanie Przybylek

Stephanie has taught studio art and art history classes to audiences of all ages. She holds a master's degree in Art History.

Do you like bold bright prints or subtle patterns in pastel colors? Who designs textile patterns? In this lesson, learn about some famous designers of printed textiles.

Why Design Patterns for Textiles?

Decorated textiles are all around us. Just look at your clothing, your bedding and even textiles used in your kitchen. Some patterns are delicate and floral, while others are bold and colorful. All of them help brighten your world.

But who creates these patterns? Textile designers are artists who create the images and patterns woven or printed on textiles. Sometimes, a company then manufactures the textile based on the design. The designer can also create the image on fabric using methods like block printing or screen printing. In this lesson, we're concentrating on people who design printed fabrics that can be used for everything from apparel to a wide range of household goods.

Famous Printed Textile Designers

William Morris

One of the most famous designers to print patterns on textiles was English artist William Morris (1834 - 1896), who trained as an architect but shifted his focus to design. As a leader of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Morris promoted traditional craftsmanship with an eye to beautiful and elegant design. He also loved nature and it shows in his work. Morris became famous for nature-inspired patterns that used vines, flowers, twisting leaves, fruits, birds and other creatures and combined them into stylish forms rendered in deep, rich colors. Morris hand-printed some of his textiles using traditional craft methods.

William Morris, textile pattern called Strawberry Thief, late 19th century
William Morris pattern

Zika Ascher

A later designer who worked in England was Czech-born Zika Ascher (1910 - 1992), who emigrated with his wife Lila before World War II to escape the Nazi rise to power in their homeland. Once in London, they started a design company. Ascher cajoled famous artists like Picasso and Matisse to create textile patterns that he made into colorful square scarves. Ascher and his wife also created their own designs, bold screen printed imagery in vivid colors and lively patterns that were used by high-end fashion designers like Dior and Givenchy.

Lucienne Day

English textile designer Lucienne Day (1917 - 2010) studied at the Royal College of Art. In the 1950s, she became known for patterns that seemed to capture the spirit of the atomic age. Day was very knowledgeable about modern art and she loved nature. So she combined the two, filtering nature-influenced images through abstraction, creating striking abstract patterns that incorporated science and botany. In 1951, she created one of her most famous designs, Calyx, a series of stylized shapes that looked like mushroom caps, but in bold yellows, oranges and black. Another one of her patterns, Flotilla, was done with abstract shapes that echoed marine life. Day created textile designs for many major British fabric manufacturers. Later in her career, she shifted her style to colorful blocks and zigzags and experimented with creating large tapestries.

Four examples of textile patterns by Lucienne Day. Calyx is at the upper right.
textile designs by Lucienne Day

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