notan

Shape shifting

In January the seeds of new ideas -shapes shifting from dark to light, and back again, inner eyes opening.

expanding the square one

expanding the square one

expanding the square two

expanding the square two

expanding the square three
expanding the square three

I am playing with shapes in anticipation of my February class at the Textile Center.

Notan: A Study in Design Mondays, February 6, 13 and 20, 6:00 - 9:00 pm Notan is a Japanese concept meaning dark-light, or the interplay of positive and negative space in design. In this workshop, we will explore the dynamics of this principle using black, white and gray paper to work through a series of exercises exploring and applying these ideas. We will discuss the applications of notan in textile design and share and discuss our studies and experiments in class.

For registration information, click here.

 

Expanding the square: stencil design warm-up

I'm beginning new stencil designs this week. To loosen up, I'm playing with paper, scissors and a glue stick, following some intriguing exercises in the book Notan: The Dark-Light principle of design.  This goal of the exercise below is to create symmetrical and asymmetrical balance by cutting shapes out of a basic 6x6" black square and expanding them outside the boundary of the square (with some guidelines).  These exercises help develop what the authors call the "dichotomy of attention" to positive and negative space that is necessary to create Notan (think right-brain).

Symmetrical.jpg

Not surprisingly, creating asymmetrical balance is more challenging. Here is one of several iterations I tried combining a rabbit form with a kale/leaf-like form (remembering the rabbits that frequented my garden this winter). It's easier to start with abstract rather than representational forms and see what emerges.

expanding the square asymmetrically

expanding the square asymmetrically


Light and dark: completed stencil

I completed carving my new stencil today. I tinkered and tinkered with the design until I was satisfied with the shapes and curves. This is a repeating design along both horizontal and vertical axes, so I had the opportunity to work on registration skills following instructions on John Marshall's new DVD, Journeys in Katazome: Stencils. It's so helpful watch these techniques. You can see several samples from the DVD on YouTube, including segments from designing and carving stencils. Here's the link to John's introduction.

minnows and mussels design © Kit Eastman

minnows and mussels design © Kit Eastman

Along the way I also came across a lovely little book called Notan: The Dark-Light Principle of Design, by Bothwell and Mayfield. According to the text, Notan is a Japanese word meaning dark-light, or more specifically the interaction of positive and negative space. The book features a wide variety of fine examples, and provides exercises that give practical insight into this principle. I have always been fascinated by the play of positive and negative space in art and design -- this is one reason I am drawn to katazome.