Thursday, April 3, 2014

Principles of Modernism: Celebrating Science

Atomic by Tibor Reich, 1951

Pattern artists have always been inspired by nature, but in 1951 a group of British designers copied the natural world in designs based on x-ray crystallography.

Lesley Jackson's book From Atoms to Patterns
discusses this cooperative work between
scientists and patternists
 for the 1951 Festival of Britain

Flamingo, Tibor Reich 1957
Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum
The interest in scientific images was encouraged by screen 
printing using photographic processes.

It looks like pattern designers have been looking for ideas through
microscopes for generations.

Early-19th-century prints in coral style.

This one from the Powerhouse Museum files....

With better microscopes, a closer look:

Fabric by S.M. Slade, 1951
based on the atomic structure of the metal afwillite.

Read more:


  1. This is so wonderful!!! I have ordered this book right away!
    I am so looking forward to it. Thank you so much for posting about it.
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  2. They look so very modern--well, 1950's modern. I'll bet they were a hit.