Last year, Anna Wahlers, Astek’s Associate Art Director, spoke to a class held at Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design. When asked about her experience as a student, she recalled a lack of “real-world experience.” Before graduating, it’s rare for students to have experiences with outside vendors and working professionals. This was when she decided to get in touch with Jeannie Winston Nogai, head of the school’s Illustration-Surface Design academic track.
Considering this issue, several of Astek’s creatives (who also happened to be ArtCenter alumni) collaborated with the institution's Intro to Textile/Surface Design course to let students dip their toes in such an experience. This course explores different printing techniques and styles of patterns. Enrolled students previously toured our facility to better understand the overall process from designing to printing. Seeing designers’ specific roles was key for the instructors, putting students in a working professional’s shoes.
Course instructors then created a “mock project” where students designed a half-drop repeat pattern, meaning motifs are staggered to avoid looking repetitive. We provided many options for materials to print on, giving students creative freedom. Because many of the students had no experience with their work being printed, this part of the process was the most challenging. All projects were then printed and brought to the class by our team members. Faculty, students, and Astek members looked at the designs together, appreciative of the unique experience of learning and exploring.