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Designed in Dust: Surface Design

A couple of months ago I happened upon a magazine I’d never seen before in the bookstore. Surface Design is the official journal of the Surface Design Association, an organization that focuses mainly on textile arts. The main title on the cover said, “On the Floor” and I snatched it off the shelf to find a most amazing series of artist’s work inside. The article entitled “Dirty Beauty” features the work of 3 different artists who use dirt, dust and abrasion techniques to create ephemeral installation art. Sounds gross? It’s gorgeous!! For me, it just highlights the power of and beauty of pattern. First up, Catherine Bertola

Catherine Bertola Surface Design
Catherine Bertola

Catherine says

My work is about labor, investing time in a very ordinary material….the manual labor involved adds value to something that usually gets swept away. I use dust as a mechanism for storytelling-dust is often described as being the matter of history, a residue or fragment that enables you to reflect on the past.

Catherine Bertola
Catherine Bertola
Catherine Bertola

You can read more about Catherine’s work here.


  1. The SDA looks like a great organization to join! Thanks so much for sharing this resource, Melanie. Catherine’s work just blows me away.

  2. just unbelievable

  3. This is just totally amazing and I am still trying to understand what she does.

  4. Heather Bruno-Sears

    Fascinating concepts and approach to ‘creative work’………I’ll never cease to be amazed!
    Thank you for sharing this Melanie.

  5. I am so inspired by this. Thanks

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