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Sketch Cahier III , 2017  design  Hansje van Halem, print in 28 Pantone colours and foils;  drukkerij  Jan de Jong 


Decriminalising Ornament:The Pleasures of Pattern

Ruskin Gallery

Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge CB1 1P

1-26 November 2018


Private View: 1st of November 17.00

This exhibition, in dialogue with the International Research Conference on the 17th and 18th of November, focuses on the practice, tradition and art forms that explore ornamentation and printed pattern as a meaningful part of the illustration and design experience. The exhibition shows  a collection of works coming from current international art and design research practices, represented in the conference. 


Hansje van Halem and Jan de Jong

Central to the exhibition is a specially commissioned pattern design by the well-known Dutch graphic designer Hansje van Halem, famous for bold contemporary patterns. Van Halem’s design often defines the books printed and published by Jan de Jong,  master printer and publisher of high-end design publications  at publishing house De Buitenkant. It is their unique collaboration, presenting an experimental and current approach, that has been the main driver of the new wave of patterning and ornamentation within graphic design in The Netherlands.


For the Ruskin gallery, this unique collaboration, has been the starting point of the commission. Rare antiquarian endpapers from the collection of de Jong, and the dialogue between the designer and the printer, inspired van Halem to create a pattern which presents itself in many guises, from wall paper, where the pattern engages in a relationship with the other  work, through to an ‘Inner Sanctum’, where both the original endpapers and a range of visual translations, revealing the design process, are placed at its centre.





This exhibition will show further work by Irene Albino and Ellen Jonsson , Jo Berry, Mattson Gallagher, Amy Goodwin, Ameet Hindocha, Charlotte Hodes, Danica Maier, Christine McCauley, Michael Kirkham, Robyn Phillips, Teresa Rego, Lucy Renton and  Angelo Sitz  (revealed at the conference)

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Irene Albino and Ellen Jonsson


Knitted Artwork


Albino and Jonsson are recent graduates from the MA  Graphic Design at Central Saint Martins. Being interested in translations, the presentation of information as code and image has been a common thread in their work. Their practices focus on the socio-political aspect of design and the interlace of craft and design.

Unravel is a knitted manifesto which unravels ideas and preconceptions of binarisms: craft and design, analogue and digital, female and male, zeroes and ones.

The aim is to challenge gender stereotypes of male-dominated computer hacking, and the domestic female ‘quick and easy’ hobby of knitting, in an attempt to question the notion of gender tout court.

By looping together conceptual threads, Albino and Johnsson connect the nodes in a network composed of our research and influences. The project also explores the communal spirit of a craft; a space in which people can share thoughts and opinions: craft as a vehicle for political change

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Sequence Compilation

Digital Print


Jo Berry is an artist, lecturer and PhD candidate and works nationally and internationally as an artist and academic collaborating with a range of Microscopy and Advanced Imaging specialists within the field of life science. Through her work she communicates and disseminates complex ideas based on scientific data visualisation. Her current research and focus is to provide a philosophical and visual reflection on science, both through the lens of the artist as well as by working directly and in close relationship with scientists in their practice and field of knowledge.


Sequence Compilation and other works, part of Berry's PhD research, have their roots in a collaboration of over ten years with the School of Life Sciences, Nottingham University and their project Advanced Imaging and Microscopy. In this work Berry explores the philosophical engagement with science through her arts practice and examines scientific data for its potential towards alternative expressions. Working directly with experts in the field of Cellular Biology  it allows the emergence of a changed interpretation and application of scientific work. Current Collaborations are with the Centre for Cellular Imaging (CCI) Sahlgrenska Academy Gothenburg University, Chalmers University and the Biofilms, Research Centre for Bio-interfaces, Malmo University; Core Research Laboratories Imaging and Analysis Centre, Natural History Museum (NHM), London and COMPARE, a partnership with The Cell Signalling and Pharmacology Group, University of Nottingham and Cardio Vascular Sciences, Medical and Dental Schools, Birmingham University.


A. Mattson Gallagher

Rules, borders, ornaments: An Ornament Alphabet

Relief, letterpress, Portfolio of 36 prints



Mattson Gallagher is a graphic designer and a MA student Graphic Communication at Central Saint Martins, London.


Arguably an obsolete process today, letterpress printing continues to be used by printers and designers developing new techniques and visual languages, working within the constraints of decades-old equipment and materials. This project explores the possibility of creating lettering within that typographic medium. Using printers’ ornaments—pieces of metal type containing decorative illustrations or patterns, rather than letters—as the building blocks of letterforms, the prints investigate the relationship between ornamentation and communication.

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Amy Goodwin


Digital Prints



Amy Goodwin grew up travelling with a steam fairground and now works as a traditional signwriter and fairground artist, alongside undertaking a practice-based PhD at NUA. Her enquiry is to re-establish identities of fairground females by constructing a series of archives of illustrated space, consolidating their fragmented narratives.


Embedded within fairground heritage, Goodwin’s upbringing established an appreciation for the rich history of the fairground, which is reflected in her practice which blends traditional signwriting and illustrative storytelling. Ahead of her PhD enquiry and drawing on the history of ornamental typography’s popularity within the fairground industry, this work which consists of a series of signs was produced in order to explore the expanding the definition of illustration. It demonstrates how signwriting, often viewed as a craft, can be employed as illustration. The underlying concern is of ‘communicative decoration’, how signs can convey stories that build in tension as the viewer unveils them. This experience demands that the viewer becomes a participant in unveiling the hidden narrative content.

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Ameet Hindocha




Ameet Hindocha is a geometer, artist and designer. He has a long-standing obsession with the expression of mathematics, nature and pattern in the visual arts, with a focus on Islamic geometric design. As well as teaching, delivering lectures and undertaking commissions internationally, Ameet also teaches regularly at Camberwell College of Arts and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts.
Through practice-based research into Persian and Moroccan geometric design traditions, Hindocha has identified vocabularies of compatible forms which are based on mathematical principles. The language of ornament which can be expressed with these simple shape vocabularies is complex and infinite and allow me to explore the archetypal beauty of pattern in nature.
The pieces displayed in the exhibition are part of an ongoing body of work undertaken in drawing, printmaking and animation. In this project Hindocha develop new processes which draw on traditional methods of construction and extend them using digital techniques leading to new ways of expressing these ornamental languages.

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Charlotte Hodes


P25_LethargyLR  and PO25_Master_LR_cut ver 

Ceramic plate and print


Charlotte Hodes is renowned for her large intricate papercuts and ornate ceramic vessels. She has held solo exhibitions at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Marlborough Gallery, Clara Scremini Gallery Paris and The Wallace Collection. She won the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2006. She is Professor in Fine Art at London College of Fashion, UAL.
Hodes work on exhibition has been informed by the 1856 book The Grammar of Ornament by architect Owen Jones and forms part of her series, ‘Grammar of Ornament’, consisting of 37 papercuts and 37 plates. These correspond to, and are numbered according to each of Owen’s thirty-seven propositions that formed the ‘general principles in the arrangement of form and colour in architecture and the decorative arts’. Each proposition provided a starting point, in some cases the entire proposition was taken on while in others, a single phrase, or merely a word triggered visual associations. Hodes’ women appear as a protagonist serving to undermine and disrupt the rigidity of the hierarchical system as presented by Jones.

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MichAEl Kirkham 

Incidental Drawing Pamphlet

Printed Booklet



Michael Kirkham has been illustrating and teaching since graduating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2006. His clients include The New Yorker, The Guardian, Google and Faber & Faber and he is represented in London and New York by the Heart Agency. A consistent theme in his commissioned and personal work is the relationship between people and the spaces they occupy. 


'The Drawings That Happen While We're Thinking About Other Things' is a self-published pamphlet. The consistent characteristic of the drawings which it contains is that they were made whilst primarily engaged in another task. Working this way, with my analytical mind otherwise occupied, allowed me access to an unselfconscious creativity. The resultant drawings are a surprise to me, seemingly miraculous in their conception. Particularly surprising, in the context of my rather spare commissioned work, is that they carry such a strong focus on the rhythmic and the decorative. Compiling and considering this body of work has inspired me to bring more of an unselfconscious, rhythmic approach to my otherwise highly analytical illustration practice.  

Four Glory Holes (detail), Danica Maier,
Danica Maier


Four Glory Holes 

Pencil drawing on Mylar mounted on aluminium


Four Glory Holes uses a historical fragment of an original artwork from a quintessentially British textile designer Laura Ashley as its source material.  Each rotation focusing on different details, creating four ‘originals’ that are all unique yet each is of the same repeated image.   Multiple readings of the work unfold as the viewer moves within the space: from the printed image, to stitch, to the drawn line, to text.

Christine McCauley

Forgotten Women; South Park Street Cemetery Calcutta

Illustrated book, centre spread



 ‘Forgotten Women’ pays homage to the remarkable women who undertook the voyage to India in the 16th & 17th Centuries. They lie interred in a green and crumbling necropolis in the heart of modern Kolkata. The expectation of survival was just two monsoons and death called most long before their hour. “In this inclement clime of human life.”

The classical European decorative motifs and architecture of their gravestones evoke a far away homeland. Amongst the tropical plants, are Romanesque cupolas, Grecian urns, pyramids, obelisks, cairns and sarcophagi. Their final resting place a mix of Gothic and Indo-Sarecenic decorative styles

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Robyn Phillips-Pendleton



Graphite on Stonehenge White



The graphite narrative portrait drawings is part of a series of three that discuss the theme of “Impermanence” — one of the essential tenets of Buddhist philosophy. In “Hoodie,” the visual symbolism discusses the uncertainty of the journey of a Black male youth to adulthood.

In her portraits  Robyn uses layers of ornament and pattern to create lingering moments or time lapses between dominant and secondary imagery in the visual narratives. They are subtle and sometimes overt displays of depth in the composition, taking the viewer on a journey within the created space—a gentle nudge into a fantastical subtext. Ornamentation is part of the duality between realism of the human form and surrealism in the  visual work. Often spontaneous it infuses the narratives with cultural symbolic references from various origins and experiences

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Teresa Rego

“Nature & Buildings Interaction – Case study St. Dunstan Church in the East”




Teresa Rego has an MA Architecture from University of Minho, Portugal and recently MA Illustration at Camberwell College of Arts. She is shortlisted for World Illustration Awards by AOI (2018) and has participated in exhibitions, conferences across Europe. Teresa´s work is site-specific and inspired by the particular qualities of locations, their history and background in order to produce illustrations reflecting located qualities through textures, colours and shapes. 


The purpose of this project is to represent an articulation between nature and human construction, where St. Dunstan Church in the East is presented as a case study. The aim was to create a truthful illustration (although not realistic), using the visual language and natural ornaments from the site.  Characteristics such as textures, patterns & shapes. All these features that compose the church start to exist as patterns of its individuality, as we can see a replication that continues through the seasons and along the construction. In this place, Nature works as an ornament that defines the identity of the place. There is a meaning that contributes to its character and personality, making this ornamentative nature a very relevant part of the building and responsible for its visual language.

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Lucy Renton

‘A Bit of Skirt’

PVC fabric


(Photo credit:Ellen Brady)

Lucy Renton studied Fine Art at St. Martin’s School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She has exhibited widely, in Europe, UK and beyond, working in a range of modes and media including sound, performance, film, video and more recently sculptural installation. Member of research faculties at the Universities of East London and of Kingston, she co-curated artist residency and symposium ‘inside inside’ as part of the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennale in 2016.


A Bit of Skirt’ is a site-specific sculpture using printed patterned fabric to explore ’skirt’ and ‘skirting’ as terms that are active and passive, gendered and neutral, decorative and functional. 
While seemingly partial, or incomplete, the work uses its reduction to hint at an excess of patternation, and the human compulsion to decorate apertures and borders. 
Skirting around floor and wall, it occupies the marginal tectonic territory between space to be looked at, and space to be walked on. Subverting the polite domestic function of concealment that characterises both skirts and skirting boards it actively seeks our attention with brash mass-produced colours and seductive pleating.


to be revealed at the conference 17th of November

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