Sunday, January 08, 2012

Designing a Flock of Plovers

We have six tapestry weavers who are illustrating in tapestries a story I wrote about a sand crab.    Each weaver is free to use her own style and is free to interpret the page she has selected and illustrate it in any way given a uniform palette of yarns and a few parameters to provide some unity.   The results are so interesting - so varied in style and come together quite well.  I wanted to take a moment and show the various stages I went through in coming up with the design for my latest tapestry.

I looked over the list of remaining pages of the story to illustrate and selected the one about plover birds, a predator of our heroine Rita, who happens to be a sand crab.   In the back of my mind I had been thinking of weaving a tessellation and thought perhaps I could pull off a bird tessellation for this tapestry; I have seen them done in quilts so why not tapestry?  It took me awhile to get into the swing of creating a tessellations...particularly after I had taken a look at what plover birds look like.  They did not seem to tessellate well.

The best I could come up with was on the left below.  The pieces are only 9 by 12 inches including the woven frame so there isn't that much room to fit a flock of plovers.  I could have woven this if the sett was smaller and the yarn would have been a nice piece.  But they really didn't remind me of plover birds - more like sparrows.  So I decided to try a different design.

The next iteration was not a true tessellation but the birds were more weave-able at my given sett.    Since the birds reminded me of chickadees and not plovers,  I again went back to the drawing board.  The third one were passable plover birds but the design was a bit repetitive and dull from a viewing perspective.  At some point, one must cut to the chase and start to weave...  For my final design,  I went with the one on the right; not a true tessellation but some repetitiveness and shifiting.  Once I had a design, I selected colors and off I went to weaving it up.

As of today,  the tapestry looks like this - clean, crisp and simple.

But then Rita sighs deeply, her home's far away.
A hot mile through sand, a long swim in the bay.
But from here to go there, will be such a tough feat
Because lots of those plover birds now crave a treat.

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