Travelling Patterns

By Tara Books

Aditi Jain, Ruchi Shah, Verena Gerlach, Henning Wagenbreth

Patterns are made up of repeated icons that suggest their meaning. They feature in the graphic arts and are used decoratively, or as elements that tell a story. Diverse ways of pattern-making have endured in India, and this book takes inspiration from one of them: the remarkable tradition of block-printed patterns on cloth.

Inspired by the wooden printing blocks used to create these textile patterns, four artists—from India and Germany—set out to play with the language of patterns. Travelling Patterns features each of their journeys through four distinct visual narratives, as they tease apart and reassemble patterns and motifs:

Aditi Jain takes the viewer through the process of Indian spinning and weaving, using traditional block-printing icons.

Ruchi Shah builds a narrative around nature and the city, drawing on two kinds of traditional forms: geometric and organic.

Verena Gerlach creates her own motifs using objects and typography, assembling them together to evoke everyday life in a south Indian coastal city.

Henning Wagenbreth illustrates an ironic narrative of travel for our times, setting the images within elaborately patterned borders.

Travelling Patterns is a unique visual assemblage—in which pattern-making travels from textile to paper, from the decorative to the narrative, and from one context to another. A celebration of print-making in various forms, the book has been letter-pressed on handmade paper. The cloth cover—hand printed using wooden blocks—pays homage to the traditional blocks from which the artists drew their inspiration.


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