These symmetrical and abstract designs are inspired by the actual garments worn by the Ainu people of northern Japan. Students have been looking at patterns and tessellations — specifically the artwork of M.C. Escher, a Dutch artist who was inspired in his cross-European travels to Southern (Moorish) Spain — and they are basing their designs on the various motifs used in Ainu culture and are also adding an original motif of each student’s own design. The children are using their sketchbooks to plan their ideas and are now constructing the garments out of fabric.
Previously, the students began creating their own, personalized tessellations based on Escher’s artwork. The students saw various examples of the work Escher did before and after his cross-cultural journey, such as these. In beginning their own tessellations, the students watched this instructional video to learn a method of creating a patterns of unique interlocking shapes: