Striking colors and innovative fabric designs, all addictive to the eye, filled the room. The students’ excitement was palpable as well. At yesterday’s announcement of the winners of the Kornit Design Challenge, Textile/Surface Design seniors shared their perceptions and spoke of the virtues of digital textile printing.
The Kornit prints out a digital image directly on almost any surface, in one step. It uses biodegradable, sustainable pigment inks and can handle small batches of fabric economically. Thus it saves time and the earth’s resources.
“It was our first time doing an engineered digital print, so it was interesting fitting our ideas into the silhouette of a garment,” said senior Elena Kanagy-Loux. “It’s an exciting day. We all put a lot of work into this.”
The awards and luncheon offered students the opportunity to hear Kornit officials. But giving students the opportunity to indulge in the technology was one of Kornit’s main goals. The company provided each of the 28 students in the competition with up to 10 yards of printed fabric in multiple designs.
“Usually for textile design it’s something you paint, but for this I folded paper since I had the opportunity to digitally print,” says Victoria Ida. “This way I could achieve a lot of dimension within the design.”
“The smoky effect in my design comes from a picture taken of polluted air over China,” says Stacey Lebron. “A friend sent it and I said ‘great it goes with the theme of my project’–that is, how air pollution is affecting plant life.”
“Digital printing on fabric is often a duller washed out color” says Emily Arlington. “The great thing about Kornit and their printing and technology, is it can yield a broader color gamut. That’s not really accessible with other printers, yet it’s sustainable. It’s hard to find the pairing of the two. That’s what made it exciting. It came out so beautiful. I loved being part of it.”
Students from two sections of Advanced CAD with Photoshop classes participated in the contest. One section was taught by Prof. Ellen Oster, the other by Prof. Kenneth Krug. “Prof. Krog knows all the tricks and short cuts,” said Lebron. “He is really amazing at all digital design and Photoshop,” said Ida.
Photoshop has almost boundless ways to create new patterns. It also connects easily to the Kornit commercial fabric printer.
Prof. Krug has long known the importance of adapting to new technology. “Very early on a client told me ‘If you don’t use technology we can’t use you anymore. I got an expensive computer and worked on it and hated it for two days. After the urging from a friend he gave it another try. “I figured out Photoshop was just another way to draw.” By 3 am he fell asleep with a mouse in his hand. “I realized I was addicted.”
“The student work is amazing” said Dean Joanne Arbuckle of the School of Art and Design. “The college is committed to sustainability. It is part of our Strategic Plan. This project is a wonderful example of engaging with industry in that effort to produce world-class designs in a world-sustaining way.”
And the winners are: Hyuna Kim, Konchok Bercholz and Elena Kanagy-Loux.
Prof. Oster, who initiated the collaboration with Kornit, noted that the display “of phenomenal textile designs showed the culmination of the students’ four years of study,” and that the competition “exposed them to some difficult realities about our planet. As part of the project they needed to research and develop a theme based on sustainability, and in that, I think many eyes were opened, not only to the negative effects of global warming and its human causes, but on ways technological advances can help.”
Photos: Rachel Ellner