Anna Chupa and Michael Chupa

Associate Professor
Lehigh University
Bethlehem Pennsylvania USA
My tiling designs are inspired by Islamic architecture. I extract photographs of plant details, mostly floral, from their backgrounds, montage them into still life compositions and embed them into tiles called girih.
The word girih literally translates to “knot” in Arabic, and was first used by Peter J. Lu to describe a set of five tiles: a regular decagon, a regular pentagon, a concave hexagon (bowtie), an elongated hexagon, and a rhombus decorated with zigzagging lines called strapwork.
At close viewing distances, flowers are visible and distinct, but these dissolve into the broader context of geometric pattern at more typical viewing distances, consistent with the aesthetic of dematerialization in Islamic architecture.
Hellebore
90 x 33 cm
Acid dye on Silk
2012
We were inspired by the tessellation pattern at Alhambra. We utilized Context Free software to produce the tiling then randomized the color selection for the backgrounds and flower fills. What makes the work unique is the use of photographically based still life compositions within the tiles.
Subdivided Jacket
55 x 60 cm
Jacket made from acid dye on silk
2014
The background pattern for this piece is made from the girih tiles described in the artist's statement but employs a subdivision rule as a design element. The subdivision used here is based on the Darb-i Imam shrine. The tiles are filled with floral compositions which breaks symmetries present in monochromatic tilings.
San Diego Jacket
55 x 60 cm
Jacket made from acid dye on silk
2015
The background pattern for this piece is made from the girih tiles described in the artist's statement but employs a subdivision rule as a design element. The subdivision used here is based on the Darb-i Imam shrine. The tiles are filled with floral compositions which breaks symmetries present in monochromatic tilings.