History of pattern, with hands-on pattern making with Francesca Herrick

Ref: S1D31802

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About this course

Explore the history of pattern through archival wallpapers and textiles. Often used as markers of status, they have also expressed personal tastes and identities. Take inspiration from the past to make your own block-printed patterns.

Course Description

At a time when boldly patterned wallpapers and textiles are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, we trace the story of pattern in UK interiors. We identify the major international influences on tastes and trends over the past four centuries, with a focus on designs coming from China, India, the Middle East and West Africa. Case studies will range from the hand-painted Chinoiserie papers of the 1700s to the jazzy geometrics of Art Deco. We will investigate historical debates around pattern and ornament and understand why they have been contentious topics at times.

During the afternoon session, you will learn the basics of repeat pattern design. Your tutor will demonstrate how designers could generate intricate wallpaper patterns before the aid of digital technologies. Participants will produce their own printing block/s that could be applied for wallpaper or fabric. Our designs will celebrate the artistic and unexpected effects that come with handmade processes.

Course aims:

• Use pattern as a way to explore changing patterns of production, consumption and taste

• Highlight human stories behind patterns and show how wallpaper/ textiles can add layers of meaning to an interior

• Encourage direct connections with history through practical activities

• Create a friendly and positive learning environment where everyone contributes to discussions about design

Participants will come away with:

• An overview of how pattern has been applied in interiors in the past 400 years

• Understanding of the global origins of patterns

• Appreciation for the wider social and cultural contexts of patterns

• Tips on sourcing and incorporating historical patterns

Practical outcomes:

• Everyone will take home unique pattern designs that can be developed for different applications

• How to use historical patterns today

• Tips on sourcing and incorporating historical patterns.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • On this course, the college will supply some of the materials, including block printing ink, paper to print on, materials to make a simple printing block, a pencil, ruler and paper.

What students need to bring

  • Apron
  • Any imagery/pattern inspiration you would like to work from – magazine cuttings, etc.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Francesca Herrick

Francesca Herrick is the module leader in Historical and Critical studies at the KLC School of Design.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.