Upper School art students collaborate with alum Nate Dubuque ’07 on pattern design and printing

Longtime visual arts teacher Judy Novey discusses a project that started with “super humble little stamps” and kept multiplying, both literally and educationally…

The hybrid learning environment presented a challenge: how could I teach a printmaking class when kids weren’t in the studio? My solution was to use color stamp pads. We took a deep dive into pattern over the course of a month-and-a-half. Students made small stamps using Soft-Kut linoleum:

Student were presented with a new pattern challenge every week—a pattern made only with triangles, a pattern with two stamps that tesselate together, etc.). Here are pattern tags from two different students (each row represents one week’s challenge):

After making all their patterns, students chose their favorite, restamping it carefully to about twice the size of the original. I took these and made a digital file that repeated their sample pattern 16 times.

I got in touch with alum Nate Dubuque ’07 (son of retired faculty member Drew Dubuque), who I’d had in my printmaking class when he attended Waynflete. I knew he had gone on to do a lot of printmaking in college and that he was now working at Designtex in Portland (you can check out some of the amazing design and printing work they do in this video). I was hoping they would be able to enlarge the patterns and print them on fabric for us at a discounted rate, but they ended up doing the entire job for free! Very kind. And the class even got to do a Zoom call with Nate so they could see their patterns being printed.

The finished fabric prints: