Katie Kerlen

Date of Award

Fall 12-12-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Professor Forsythe


Going into this project,I knew I wanted to do two things: work with surface design on fabric, and explore the textiles in different countries. As I am nearly 75% Dutch, Holland was an obvious place to start. Shortly into my research,I discovered the company Vlisco: a textile manufacturing company based in Holland that produces African printed fabric. They use an imitation wax batik technique and create designs based on traditional African imagery and symbolism. Although it is hard to determine, the Dutch do not seem to have one particular style depicted in their textiles due to major outsourcing to other countries,but they do have a rich history of tile design. Seeing as both tiles and textiles are a form of surface design,I decided to compare and contrast these two things. I found that in the same way African symbolism often referenced back to every day, mundane tasks and objects, the Dutch depicted similar images in their own context. I thought my project would turn into a historical comparison of two very different geographical locations. Instead, it took an unexpected turn,as I realized the process of making in the styles of these cultures became so much more important to my work and to myself,as an artist.