Ellissa Collier - Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

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Materials and Process

  • Compass
  • Watercolors
  • Graph paper
  1. In this design, rotation and reflection are present. The rotation is order 4. I created the pattern using a square lattice; I could change the symmetry by alternating colors.
  2. What inspired my choice of colors is the underglaze-painting on ceramic vessels and tiles that I saw at the National Gallery of Art's exhibition, "Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Victoria and Albert Museum."

Artist's Narrative

Having completed a BA in Studio Art at Oberlin College, I am currently attending Maryland Institute College of Art where I am pursuing an intensive one-year Post-Baccalaureate program in preparation for graduate school at Rutgers University. My interest in Islamic Art comes from the use of pattern and geometry in my own work.

Teacher's Comment

The overlapping of circles creates the petal-like forms which appear to form quatrefoils. The centers of the circles align to form a system of overlapping square grids, which happen to correspond to the underlying square grid of the graph paper. The diameter of each circle, in this pattern, is the length of four squares. But even without the support of an underlying grid that is articulated, the same pattern could be achieved just using a compass as long as the circles are of uniform diameter.

Look carefully at the quatrefoils -- which groups of four petals form a quatrefoil? Can you allow your focus to shift centers and create different groups of quatrefoils? Islamic craftsmen often played with the inherent ambiguity that is offered by overlapping circles and underlying grids that compete with one another. In weaving carpets, weavers often introduced color changes to bring out inherent ambiguities in pattern-making.

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