Gallery view of a row of mannequins displaying colorful formal evening dresses

Playing with Pattern

The Denver Art Museum has a long history of celebrating fashion, from Yves Saint Laurent: The Retrospective to Dior: From Paris to the World and now Paris to Hollywood: The Fashion and Influence of Véronique and Gregory Peck! Once again, we’re inspired and excited to share some ways you may find fashion relevant to your life.

Visual patterns appear in every aspect of our lives—from the architecture around us to the natural world. Sometimes artists and designers are inspired by existing patterns or create their own to add visual interest to their work. We encourage you to keep an eye out for patterns around you and explore creating your own unique patterns through these activities.

Looking Together

This dress from the Paris to Hollywood: The Fashion and Influence of Véronique and Gregory Peck exhibition reminds us of the unique quilts in the DAM collection, like Crazy Quilt. Crazy quilting is actually a term often used to refer to textile work of chaotic patchwork.

Compare and contrast these two crazy quilts.

  • What are some similarities?
  • What are some differences?
  • What are these quilts made out of?
  • Why do think types of patterns are called crazy?

Jane Mathews, DAM Crazy (Locos por el DAM), 2006, colcha de papel, 47 1/2 x 59 pulg., Colección Neusteter Textile Collection: Helen Strange Patterson Memorial Fund y fondos mediante intercambio de Katherine Hicks

Creating Together

Fashion sometimes utilizes bold and unique prints made from repeating patterns and designs. Check out some of the fashionable outfits that are part of the DAM’s online collection and look for eye catching patterns.

Next, it’s your turn to create a pattern using collage inspired by Jane Mathew’s collaged artwork called DAM Crazy. Follow along with this artmaking activity to explore layering pattern making using tissue paper and other scraps.

Another method to experiment with pattern making is by creating your own stamps. Practice repetition in this art exploration by using various textures and ink or paint to create patterns on paper.

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