Pattern-making masterclass with MA+KE Lab design lab

During the autumn school break, VIVITA children enjoyed the unique opportunity to participate in a 4-day pattern creation masterclass with MA+KE lab designer collective. The MA+KE designers have created a unique collection of interior design products where they use illustrations of extinct birds and animals.
The team introduced their design process to the children — from the original artistic idea to a complete spatial concept. In the workshops children learned how to draw patterns, how to transfer their images onto paper and fabrics, how patterns come to life in the print house and how to exhibit their artworks in the space.

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MA+KE lab and VIVITA pattern exhibition. Photo: VIVITA Estonia

Drawing inspiration from the art of ancient civilisations MA+KE lab design studio has created their own world of patterns. By depicting birds, both extinct and threatened by extinction, the designers attempt to infuse the feathered creatures with new identity. Placing the patterns in a contemporary interior enables them to remind us of the past and at the same time is a call to a better, environmentally conscious future. MA+KE lab’s original work can be admired here.

“We had a really nice 4-day workshop together with the team and members of VIVISTOP. The pattern workshop was an exciting challenge for us as well, because we experienced how to teach patterns to others and to better make sense of our own process. A pleasant surprise were the children’s drawings which turned out really cool and were really fun to create patterns of. In many of the works, our young package-designers outdid their professional counterparts, the outcome was so wonderful and interesting that it could be used somewhere in the future. The children related to the topic of extinct animals and enjoyed such a buzzing flow of inspiration in the drawing process that the VIVITA space was full of exhilarated silence during the workshop. We also hope that they left with a small takeaway for the future as to how to tell important and relatable stories through their environment and creations.” — Nele Kont, MA+KE lab designer

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MA+KE lab designers Martin, Nele and Kevin. Photo: VIVITA Estonia

One, two, three — the pattern is ready!

The workshop series began with great excitement — VIVITA members met for the first time with the MA+KE lab team. In a short conversation the designers’ trio — Martin, Nele and Kevin, invited the children into their imaginary world of untouched wildlife where dodos, passenger pigeons, Tasmanian tigers, mammoths and other nowadays extinct animals freely jump around. After choosing their favourite animal or bird, the children could immediately start sketching. They complemented their drawings with floral, geometrical or textured backgrounds.

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Pattern-making process. Photo: VIVITA Estonia

With the help of the photocopier children could see right away how the images they created look like when repeated (in a pattern). To the viewers’ pleasure, tigers, zebras, pigeons and dodos were brought to life on paper. Kids could experience the magic of repeating patterns which create a special rhythm, shimmering and etching the images into our memory for a long time.

Wow, my design on my T-shirt!

On the second day we rolled up our sleeves and dived hands into the buckets of colors in the MA+KE lab located at Põhjala Factory. Under the guidance of the talented textile designer Britta Benno children received a crash course into silkscreen printing and could also visit her studio. The patterns the children had drawn the day before were already stretched onto frames and exposed so that the screen printing process could start smoothly without a delay.

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After a short introduction children started spreading colour onto their frames, which was then transferred onto textile or paper. They quickly got a grasp of this seemingly complicated technique and the work area was soon overflowing with colourful designs.

A patterned box

The next day, the journey of discovery into the wonderful world of graphic design continued at the production facilities of Digitrükk studio. The children were shown different samples so that they could understand the technical capabilities of various equipment and later saw it working at full capacity. It was especially exhilarating when, to their surprise, the machine started printing the very patterns the children had designed. With great curiosity they observed how these overflowed onto the paper. After all, they were their own artworks.

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The visit continued with a hands-on activity: the patterns were printed on cardboard which could be folded into a box. The children put their skilful hands to work and voilà — the box was ready! They decorated their pieces using markers and proudly took them home.

Artworks in the space

The last day began with active fine adjustments. All works found their finished form: the patterned textiles became bags and prints on paper were glued onto supports. With this the children were ready to tackle another challenge: how to exhibit their work in the space. After a quick brainstorming, the group discovered that there is an empty space located on the upper floor of VIVISTOP that is entirely empty and perfectly suitable for a pop-up exhibition.

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No sooner said than done: with a ball of thread the space was turned into a mysterious cobweb where patterned boxes, pictures and textiles could hang. The 4-day workshops culminated with the opening of the group exhibition. After cutting the ribbon everyone had a closer look at the artworks and reflected on the whole experience.

You too can explore the wonderful magic of pattern-making at home. Come up with a visual and repeat it using indigo paper. Or challenge yourself to draw the same design 10 times on a single piece of paper.
Free yourself and let the pencil guide you!

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Wonderful pattern repetition. Photo: VIVITA Estonia

Thanks to all cooperation partners: to MA+KE lab for the initiative and devotion, to Britta Benno for introducing the screen printing technique, to Digitrükk studio for the tour and to Wendre for the textile leftovers used in printmaking.

Text: Eva Liisa Kubinyi and photos Kevin Pineda / MA+KE Lab, Vera Naydenova, VIVITA.

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Kids and Youth Creativity Accelerator

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