Thursdays 6PM — 9PM

from January 10
to February 21


7 class sessions
+ student showcase

dadageek hq

2015 East Riverside Dr
Building 7BA

Austin, Texas 78741

class information
Leah Buechley, Rural/Digital

Leah Buechley, Rural/Digital


This is a unique course that combines computer generated patterns with hands on, physical realizations of those patterns in various mediums. With a plethora of new tools for computation and digital fabrication available to contemporary creators, an essential aspect of thinking about computational art will be reflecting on the creation process itself, and making sure it is extended, rather than constrained, by the tools themselves.


This course seeks to empower artists to add computer programming to their palettes while preserving the essence of their personal approach to art creation.

Learn to add programming to your toolbox for creating physical objects

n this class, students will investigate relationships between computational processes and physical craft through explorations with surface pattern design. We will use P5.js, a Javascript library for creative code based on Processing (an open source entry-level programming language to develop visual content). We will work across both digital and physical media throughout the class, using physical processes such as block printing and collage as analogs for code processes, and exploring connections between creating with language (code) and creating by hand. Using both approaches, we will experiment with color, shape, scale, repeats, randomness, and more.

This course’s approach to computational design is grounded in craft practices. Each class session will open with time for physical material and process exploration (such as carving, stamping, cutting, folding, painting, and collaborative drawing). Creative prompts will support students in bringing personal meaning and stories to the forms and patterns they create, with reference to historical pattern-based art and design. Students will be asked to reflect on their process and their interactions with the materials. Then a programming technique with a conceptual connection to the physical process will be introduced. As they practice the programming technique and apply it to their own designs, students will be asked to reflect again on the (digital) materials they are using and to compare different approaches to creating form and pattern.

In the process of building towards a project for the final showcase, students will learn P5.js and Javascript programming basics including shape drawing, canvas transformations, variables, conditionals, loops, nested loops, functions, and a few intermediate functional programming concepts such as recursion and higher-order functions. One focus will be on achieving clarity and control of code; rather than making small modifications to large code examples, we will work from the ground up and build up complexity in different ways from discrete components. We will attempt to make code less mysterious, and support students in writing programs that reflect their unique ways of thinking about language and pattern.

Leah Buechley, Rural/Digital

Leah Buechley, Rural/Digital

For the final project, students will have the opportunity to design a pattern or pattern series and apply it to a surface of interest, with the goal of creating a cohesive final object or a small collection of related objects. We will go over print options, including stencils, inkjet transfer, digital printing, and several approaches to textile printing. In line with the themes of the course, a goal for the final project will be to achieve coherence between code and final object, and we will discuss ways to showcase both the computational process and the final product.

The course will focus on helping each student to develop their own projects through hands-on workshopping and in-class practice. The course culminates in a public showcase where students have the opportunity to show their work as installations, performances, or even collaborations with other dadageek students.



Artists, designers, makers, and teachers with an interest in surface pattern design and computational making. The programming part of the lessons will be aimed at novice programmers, but may also serve as a helpful refresher for those with more experience.

Libs Elliott

The course culminates in a public exhibition of the students’ work at the student showcase. See past showcases here.



Key skills 


Programming: P5.js and Javascript programming basics

including shape drawing, canvas transformations, variables, conditionals, loops, nested loops, functions, and a few intermediate functional programming concepts

Art and design: Explorations of pattern design

including form, color, scale, and repeat. Students will be guided through the development of a personally meaningful project, grounded in historical pattern-based art and design.

Physical craft and digital fabrication:

Options for final project fabrication will include stencils, inkjet transfer, digital printing, pen plotter drawing, textile printing, and other topics by request.





No prior programming experience

about your instructor
Natalie Freed.jpg

Natalie Freed has always enjoyed the intersection of abstract thinking and making things with her hands. Her journey so far has been all about finding ways to combine the two, and to help others find their own connections. She is an alum of Arizona State University, where she studied computer science, and of the MIT Media Lab. Since graduating, she has worked as an exhibit developer at the San Francisco Exploratorium, taught computer programming and digital fabrication at Lick-Wilmerding High School, taught electronics at Autodesk Pier 9, and has led myriad workshops on paper circuits, the mathematics of bookbinding, algorithmic design, and other combinations of tech and craft. Natalie is currently based in Austin, TX.


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