Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Textiles as Cultural Expressions: Proceedings of the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, September 24–27, 2008, Honolulu, Hawaii


Copyright 2008 by the author.



Human designed physical patterns, while having been investigated extensively in terms of their historical, geographic and cultural significance and their aesthetic and/or mathematical characteristics, have not been fully investigated in terms of their evolutionary potential. This paper discusses an experimental art research project which focuses on human designed, physical textile patterns to explore pattern as process and investigate the potential for these patterns to evolve and become emergent.

The experimental art projects focused on lace and in particular, crochet lace pattern forms commonly referred to as doilies.1 Crochet lace patterns are widely recognized, domestically produced hand-made physical patterns created from a low-technology repetitive manual process and located for the most part within a craft context. The project explored the developmental potential of these physical pattern forms by translating them into digital media and working in the digital environment. The research created crochet lace pattern simulacra in the form of a series of digital animations written in computer programming code that illustrate how digital crochet lace patterns form.

This paper discusses the properties of lace that make it worthy of further investigation, the motivation behind the selection of crochet lace patterns, and explores the digital environment and its impact on the development of the crochet lace pattern forms. It then reports how the digital crochet lace patterns, when created in a digital environment and constructed using digital media and manipulated by computational processes, became a hybrid form – that is, an amalgam of human design decisions and computational processes. As such, the crochet lace simulacra epitomize the intersection of computational processes and human intervention which is common in the digital environment.