So you see it taxes the designer heavily enough after all. Nevertheless I still call it the easiest way of complete pattern-designing. I have spoken of it as the placing of a light pattern on dark ground. I should mention that in the fully developed form of the design I am thinking of there is often an impression given, of there being more than one plane in the pattern.
Such things as these, which, as far as I know, are only found in Persian art at its best, do carry the art of mere pattern-designing to its utmost perfection, and it seems somewhat hard to call such an art uncivilised.
The first perfectly simple in manufacture, trusting wholly to beauty of design, and the play of light on the naturally woven surface, while the latter eke out their gaudy feebleness with spots and ribs and long floats, and all kinds of meaningless tormenting of the web, till there is nothing to be learned from them save a warning. So much for the colour of pattern-designing.
This has been well understood from the earliest days of art to the very latest times during which pattern-designing has clung to any wholesome tradition, but is pretty generally unheeded at present. As to the limitations that arise from the material we may be working in, we must remember that all material offers certain difficulties to be overcome, and certain facilities to be made the most of.
They are, however, discoverable by the help of Dr. Rock's excellent catalogue published by the department, and I hope will, as the Museum gains space, be more easy to see. Now to sum up: This method of pattern-designing must be considered the Western and civilised method; that used by craftsmen who were always seeing pictures, and whose minds were full of definite ideas of form.
Then suddenly the demeanour of every member of the committee was quickened, everybody listened intently to everything that was said; a couple of members would speak together; pattern-designing and the manufacture of paper ships, chains, and flowers ceased; it was as though a tonic had been mysteriously administered to each individual in the enervating room.