Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tapa-Inspired

I've been dying to post photos of my new Pacific Tapa cloth-inspired shawls, but as hard as I try, I cannot get any good photos after three sessions with two cameras. So, for the time being, I thought of posting giant "thumbnails" of the designs. The colors are approximate, but this is the fruits-and-vegetables warp.

Back in June, Anna White of the Suter Museum, and curator of Re:fine, informed me that I was selected to participate in the exhibit, but asked me to continue working on the Pacific-inspired designs. My first thought was of creating a tapa-cloth-inspired shawl. I looked at all kind of tapa cloth, on the Internet, in books, and what I can find in town. I didn't want to simply transfer tapa designs onto wool, but I wanted others to recognize tapa straight away.

After eight weeks of not getting anywhere, I forced myself to doodle with my design program, and the one above was the first design I came up with. It's a feminine rendition of tapa, because the design unit is smaller, and there are fewer obvious squares and rectangles commonly found in tapa designs. The reverse side is very warp-dominant.


A few days later, I designed some masculine designs. At the time, I thought these were too simple and straight-forward, and didn't think they would work. But as I watched the first design growing on the loom, I thought, when displayed in a big space, and the venue is big, bold designs may look good from the distance. So I chose this one.

As you can see, this is refreshingly strong and clear. This piece looks good from the distance, but is intricate close up. I also like the two faces of this piece. Though I always try to create interests in both sides as I design my shawls, this is the first time I have been able to make a cloth where the difference in the two sides is more than just that one is the opposite of the other in color and texture. In this piece, they convey very different moods, and it gives me a whole new consideration in designing future pieces.

These two designs, I am in the process of recreating, in different yarn combinations and setts and scale; I've never been tempted to do this with my original designs before. There is a third design that I wove that is still sitting on the loom; the jury is out on that one.

I regretted that in the ten weeks I was given to weave for the exhibit, I produced only two new pieces, (and third, iffy one, on the loom), but in terms of quality, I am pleased with these two.

I would love to hear honest opinion on these designs. Please!!

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