Faculty Involved:
Pippa Drew and Dorothy Wallace

Pattern: An interdisciplinary course in textile design and elementary group theory.

This course will focus on the interplay between the art of designing repeat patterns and the mathematics of analyzing those patterns in terms of their symmetries. The exercises the students will do in the class emphasize discovery through cooperative and individual work. This class is 50% a studio art class and, therefore, requires the production of designs in print media and paint. Sufficient time and instruction is provided for students to acquire the necessary skills in this area. No previous art classes are required.

Pattern Syllabus 1996

Course Contents

  • Lesson 1
    Math part |  Ritual Geometry, the Mandala and its Symmetries
    Art part |      A look at the Mandala as an art form
  • Lesson 2
    Math part |   Mandala Symmetries, Group Elements, Lusona
    Art part |      Color Theory
  • Lesson 3
    Math part |   Groups and Groups Acting on Sets
    Art part |      Block printing in class
  • Lesson 4
    Math part |   Klimt and the Computer
    Art part |      20th Century artists who use symmetry to explore color theory I
  • Lesson 5
    Math part |   Islam
    Art part |      Islamic art
  • Lesson 6
    Math part |   Penrose and Rice
    Art part |      20th Century artists who use symmetry to explore color theory II
  • Lesson 7
    Math part |   Escher
    Art part |      Escher
  • Lesson 8
    Math part |   Hundertwasser & Griffeath
    Art part |      Relationships between Pattern and Modern Painting
Final Project

Students' Works


© Copyright 1996, Pippa Drew and Dorothy Wallace, Dartmouth College


All figures on this database are copyrighted through Wheelock Books of Hanover, NH and have been reprinted for classroom use only through special permission with all rights reserved.