Digitally designed textiles featured in exhibit of original student work

Apparel design is not only just about designing garments, but also includes designing the fabrics and prints themselves using digital technology.

Graduate students stand beside brightly colored designs
Graduate students and teachers stand beside digitally designed textiles in the Gustafson Gallery Exhibit.

As part of their final assignment, students from Colorado State University’s Department of Design and Merchandising are showing their original designs in an exhibition entitled “The View from Here: Graduate Work in Digital Textile Design” in the Gustafson Gallery.

Advanced level class

The gallery exhibit consists of original textile pieces made by graduate students and a few undergraduates enrolled in DM 542, a textile design class that teaches students advanced design principles with computer-aided design or CAD, software.

Textile designs were printed on silk or nylon Lycra spandex using state-of-the-art digital textile printing technology. However, the process in creating a textile design can be very challenging, as a large amount of time and a multitude of steps must be taken in order to create just a few designs.

“Students begin the semester designing using CAD software and do a series of test prints, “ said Diane Sparks,  professor in the Department of Design and Merchandising. “Students can often spend days or even weeks designing their prints.”

Student inspiration

Green fabric with orange camel print
This green and orange pattern indicates how different inspirations can lead to different kinds of aesthetic beauty.

Sparks says that textile design provides a unique window to experience the dynamics of color, pattern and variety in approaches to aesthetic beauty. As part of the creative processes and assignment curricula, students were required to construct and design 12 textiles around a specific theme or idea as a means to stimulate visual senses and elicit conversation among gallery visitors.

Students drew inspiration from a variety of influences. Some related their work to pressing modern-day issues like environmental sustainability, while others related their work to more spiritual themes like Buddhism.

An open venue

Located on the third floor of the Gifford Building, the Gustafson Gallery

A close up shot of pink fabric with circular designs
The fabric of a pink shawl, using a dynamic pink color.

features changing exhibits of student and faculty design work throughout the year. At the opening reception for “The View from Here,” the gallery served as a place for professional and interpersonal growth, as students took the opportunity  to mingle with gallery attendees and have their work critiqued by others.

“All of their designs have come a long way, and it takes a lot of courage to stand up there and be questioned as well as having your work critiqued,” Sparks said. “I could not be more proud of them.”

Planning your visit

The Gustafson Gallery is located in room 318 of the Gifford Building at 502 West Lake Street. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 4p.m., Monday – Friday. Admission is free. The exhibit runs through Sept. 14.

The Gustafson Gallery is under the umbrella of the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.

The View from Here: Graduate Work in Digital Textile Design