The Woven Tale Press
(c) copyright 2013
Editor: Sandra Tyler Author of Blue Glass, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and After Lydia published by Harcourt Brace; awarded MFA in writing from Columbia University; creative writing professor; freelance editor; judge of Stony Brook Universityâ€™s national annual fiction contest. Visit her blog at http://www.awriterweavesatale.com
Editor’s Note The Woven Tale Press is a monthly culling of the creative blogging web – too many well-conceived and artful blog posts are relegated to their archives too soon. So enjoy here an eclectic mix of the literary, humorous, innovative and visual arts – blog posts ephemeral, meant to be indelible. If you like particular posts, click on their URLs to visit the actual blogs. To submit a post go to: http://woventalepress.com
The Curious Case of Benjemima Button He tells me it’s my birthday. “You’re 26 today,” the husband says. I pop some aspirin, rub a cranky ankle. “Hmm. Allegedly.” It is my birthday, yes. And I love birthdays: they are the fairest of all holidays. Because we all get one. The Jewish kids pining for a Christmas tree. Even Mars getting all pitiful on Earth Day, like “What about me?” Birthdays obliterate barriers. Regardless of time or date or species, everybody got here somehow. So we celebrate the showing up, the arrival, the start of something or someone good. You see, I dispute the number, the years. I was born because, as we’ve established, everyone is. Also today I fear this will not be the year I get my age just right. I am Benjemima Button. For as long as I can remember I’ve been old. At nine, I sat lanky-legged on my grandmother’s fancy living room floor, listening with much understanding to the various woes of the women: Which kid is acting out now? Who knew divorce was so expensive? Are we out of wine? No part of me felt the difference of years among us. With all the confidence of a short, white Maya Angelou, I’d tell this aunt or that cousin just what my wise little mind thought. My unfortunate Mickey Mouse sweatshirt or squeaky voice may have spoken to my smallness, but their big ears seemed to listen. By high school, I had a keen interest in turtleneck sweaters. I fake-sipped beer, fearing the old indigestion would flare up. My body, for all its blessed elasticity and tan glow, said fifteen. My soul said “Tell that friend you can’t come to the party this weekend. Act like you’re grounded. Find fuzzy socks and watch ‘Designing Women’.” I tried to go through the cheerleading, nervous dating, young-and-free 1
teen transitions. But my heart was elsewhere. I sneakily devoured hours of Oprah. I thought short hair was less bouncy but more aerodynamic and practical. Today I enjoy early bedtimes, watching birds doing bird-like things, and jointhealth supplements. I cordially decline most invitations from fellow twenty-somethings, but in my head I’m ranting and raving about those “damn kids” with their “hoodlum boom-boom music.” It isn’t bad to be young. It isn’t bad to be perpetually older than yourself either; I’m ridiculously well-rested and well-versed in all things water aerobics related. Plus, I’ve been spared the bad bits of youth, the gossip, the trying desperately to fit in, the glitter. But what I’ve wanted for every birthday is just to wake up with a number that fits, and perhaps this is the year I’m reaching an equilibrium of sorts; I went to a party. I refrained from telling those young punks to take their grimy feet off the couch and from asking where they were when Kennedy was shot. I real-gulped a real beer. I’m recently infatuated with The Twitter, and I’m halfproud to admit I kind of loved Justin Bieber’s song about the girl and the Dubstep and the whatchamacallit. See? I just said Dubstep. Benjemima be hipper by the minute. Maybe at 27 I’ll say “Hmm. Yes. That one’s just right.” Maybe not. Maybe at 90, when my peers are asking the staff nurse to sponge a little lower, I’ll be squeezing into that sequinned tube-top, ready to bar dance and get all kinds of “crunk” and “cray”. Maybe that nasty, cobwebby image was completely unnecessary because age doesn’t matter so much as the most basic principle of birthdays: You weren’t. This one day came along. Then you were. I’ll toast my Metamucil to that. 2
Visual Recipe â€“ Cheddar Biscuits!
g n i s g in mie w S am S
B for Bumblebee When you’re feeling discouraged, consider the bumblebee. Years ago, I read about a group of engineers who “proved” that the bumblebee was aerodynamically incapable of flight – it shouldn’t be able to get off the ground. Of course no one told the bumblebees this. Every summer, they fly happily about my garden doing whatever it is they feel they must do. They don’t know they aren’t supposed to be able to fly, that their behavior contravenes the laws of aerodynamics so dearly believed in by a certain group of humans who do “know” that they shouldn’t be able fly at all. Consider too, that bumblebees perform the very necessary task of pollinating our trees and flowers. Without them, the world would be in trouble. Hurray for bumblebees! Now ask yourself how much of what we feel we cannot do is the result of our believing that we cannot do it, or of being afraid of the risk involved? Charles Lindbergh said, ‘“Don’t believe in taking unnecessary risks, but a life without [any] risk isn’t worth living.” I say, “Go for it!” 4
I love fire. The way it dances and sways, can flicker on a candlewick. The way it romances a log in a campfire: First the sensuous, like a falling silk scarf. Then the embrace, that tightening of flames licking around the edges until the passion ignites. My engagement with fire started when I was twelve. I was as typical as any other boy at that age. I would go to the members-only club, which required a secret handshake, and look at girlie magazines with my buddies. But then I would wander off, looking for ants to burn with my super-secret spy magnifying glass. During a search for insects to torture by fire, I thought it would be something to move up to higher forms of life from lowly insects. I wandered through a field looking for the right stick. One dried and cracked, the easiest to light afire. As a preteen boy, my thought process wasn’t always on consequences. Well, it was never on consequences. At that age, what kid’s is? When I found the stick and applied magnified sun rays to it, the stick burst into flames so fast, I burnt my finger and dropped the stick. I panicked and blew on the flame. Dumb thing to do. As the fire snaked toward me, I was mesmerized. I watched it slither side to side, my focus zeroing in on the flame. I watched it reach my shoes, slip around their sides and up the soles. With enough force to snap my head forward, I was suddenly yanked away from the flame. My neck muscles complained. My chin bounced off my chest, and my teeth were mashed into my cheek. The metallic flavor of blood flooded my mouth. I spit out a piece of flesh. “Jesus, are you all right?” a man asked while hauling me upright and turning me to face him. “I ain’t never saw no one get hit by a veehickle. I thought you was gonners for sure.” I stared at him. “Mister,” he said, and began brushing me off, “Why d’you just sit there? Ya could’ve been afire in no time. Lucky for you I sawed the whole thang.” He 5
stopped brushing me off. Holding me at arm’s length he asked, “Ya’ll right?” It was a good question. I wasn’t sure if I was. I’ve been buried alive, hit by a truck, had a conversation with a woman long deceased. A woman that managed to save me from sure death. By all rights, I should be dead. Yet, I wasn’t. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I wasn’t but I didn’t want to risk an explanation. Sirens in the distance. “Why jus’ sit der with the fire acoming?” He fished around in his shirt pocket, pulled out a stick of gum, stuck it in his mouth, and put the wrapper back in his pocket. His face was pale, his hair white, contrasting with his black button-up shirt. The top two buttons were open; wiry white hairs poked out. He looked around seventy years old. “I guess I was a bit dazed. I didn’t notice the fire. But I’m doing better now. Thanks to you.” “Ya better get tuh the old sawbones for look see,” he said, his mouth working the gum. I studied his face for a minute. I thought I recognized him, but I couldn’t figure out where it might have been. Hell, I didn’t even know where I was. He probably just had one of those familiar faces. Yet…. “I’m surprised you can stan’.” He took the wrapper out, waded the gum into it, and tossed everything in the street. “I can chew too long. Stick to muh teeth.” Tires screeched, sirens screamed. Police cars were pulling to a halt and fire trucks rumbling through, followed by two ambulances. “I think we better move away and let these folks do their job,” I said looking back at the old man. But he wasn’t there. I searched the area. He was gone. (This is part of a series. Go to the blog Url to see what happens next!) 6
It Stings my Eyes and Hurts
I walked into my dying grandmother’s makeshift bedroom, my newborn in my arms. My three-year-old daughter had run down the hallway, ahead of me. On my grandmother’s nightstand were prescription bottles, vitamins, supplements; a full-spectrum light for treating seasonal affective disorder; and all sorts of salve cream tubes and canisters for sore body parts. This is the legacy of my women. This is what we pass down to one another. Winter is the worst. I’ll see people on television living in Hawaii, fishing for a living. They play tiny instruments in the sand and watch the sun set while children run around. They have so much space and so much sun. I am a dark tanner. I turn as brown as a chestnut, given the chance. I say to Kurt, “These people must live until they are one hundred and three.” He was sleeping, of course, pale and limp in the armchair. Going to work every day is harder when there is no sun, no warmth. Everything is. Sometimes I long for sleep at three in the afternoon. I fantasize about stretching out,
Forgotten Footsteps – Triptych on Upcycled Board 7
luxuriating, under the comforter, as soon as my husband is home from work. I never do, though. When it’s late, and it’s finally time to lie down and sleep, I hum with dark energy, worrying and staring through the separation in the curtains at the streetlight. Freezing air radiates from the walls. My bed is pushed into a corner and I feel like a fine fish with a wide, glassy eye. Someone has opened the freezer door, looking for something other than me. The winter in my heart causes sickness. I get headaches if I read for too long. I read entire books over a Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I just sit and watch the cars out the picture window in our little, dark living room. Everything is the same in winter. We do the same things every day, we brush against the same doorways. We walk the same footsteps to the car and back. We’ve seen all of the exhibits at the museums a thousand times. We don’t even really look anymore. We just go there because we need to move our legs. The air is recycled and dry. It stings my eyes and hurts my throat. There are no great adventures. I memorize the lilt of the light through the tiny, stained-glass window at the very top of the front door. It wavers on the stairs like water. Red and orange and yellow, like a keyhole into somewhere warm and dead, somewhere tea is served at noon in mismatched saucers. There are cakes and fine linens and there is grass growing all around.
This many-layered (at least 12!) triptych is made from three “upcycled” boards I rescued from a demolition site. When I saw the contractors throwing everything away, I knew I had to grab some of these shiny, hard particle boards for my art. I sanded each board then brushed on layers of gesso and modeling paste, before adding several glazes of color. I then threw down some silver/bronze powder and added some graphite, and worked into it with markers.This piece reminds me of a map, mixed with raindrops, skies and oceans with a few mountains thrown in for good measure. 8
Angel Wings Acrylic on Canvas
Hope is. . .
. . . the yawning mouth of the river. It gathers desire, expectation, and disappointment into a single current. It binds me into a place where my stomach growls and my throat swells. Hope is a jailer whose prison pretends to sunshine. It holds out bright open spaces and blinding joy, but it denies revelry. It builds its box one ray at a time, until the light is painful. It burns me until my skin is scalded. Hope is every childhoodâ€™s nightmare. It is the feeling of running away from the monster down the street of faceless houses. It is the certainty of escape that crashes against the pursuing evil rounding that final corner. It leaves me wandering close to home, hopelessly lost, unable to arrive. Hope is a trolling lover. It exploits. It runs alongside and suddenly lifts, but then snatches itself away at the archâ€™s apex. It offers itself but withholds consummation. It decimates me but teases, offering to rebuild, only to pull back again at the climax. I would prefer to carry my life forward hopeless, to live without expectation and dwell in the small moments. But I am not that kind. I look forward, carried up on a swell of broken glass, all sharp edges and shining promises. I prognosticate and play at the meteorology of emotion. I try to predict myself so that when hope pulls back and burns, I can control my fall and tumble back into contentment.
Works in Progress
There’s something about painting multiple works at a time that inspires and excites me. I recently opened a package of ten 10”x 8” canvases; laid them out on my dining room table; grabbed some supplies and started painting with wild abandon:
rylic paints, Supplies: Ac w charcoal, lo il w , e it h p ra g arkers and m il o ie rp a h S india ink
Mid-way poin t: light gray and buff acry lic with charcoal, graphite and india ink
Added some Nickel Az o Gold with dots and lines made with the Sh arpie oil marker Fern acrylic s a k u L e m o s Put down accent color g in h is n fi e m paint for so
10 Finished Paintings
A Writer Wonders… I am equal parts introvert, dreamer, hunter, warrior, and detective. I am a writer. I willingly spend an exorbitant amount of time inside my mind, catching sunbeams and chasing shooting stars. Where my creative alter-ego goes, I follow. She and I, the we in me, set sail and fill the blank page, in pursuit –as a hunter tracks, a dreamer dreams, a warrior conquers, a detective resolves – of the story. My brain is ambidextrous.Today the right side is creating while the left side sifts through raw material that passes through the viaducts on a daily basis. Later, Lefty will edit and cull the story, while Righty inventories the spoils mined earlier. By definition, the writer in me is a natural scavenger. I am hawk-eyed gliding through the days, diving deep within or watching patiently from the sidelines for tidbits worth plucking for my narratives. To see the world through my writer’s eyes is to observe the play of glittering light on the diamond’s multi-faceted surface transmitting 24×7 onto any exterior in spitting distance. What a non-writer dismisses, I capture and describe, catalog and treasure. Alone or in a crowd, I stand guard with my pen and pad. In line at the local barista or seated in a folding chair at the water’s edge, I see what can be: Two people standing on a London platform waiting for a Brussels-bound train. One is a writer, the other is not. The non-writer wearing dark glasses climbs onto the train, relieved to be away from a chatty toddler bouncing like a rubber ball behind him. The writer watches him board. She turns the dial of her sensory receptors to high and boards the train. To the outside world, she looks like every other traveler. She wears her jeans well, but they are an inch too long and the hems catch at the back of her heels. She’s proud of her tattered appearance. Her red cotton V-neck t-shirt is faded from age, and the black zip-up-the-front sweatshirt she borrowed from Ian, the stranger she took to bed in Dublin, is tied loosely around her hips. She stops midway down the aisle, smiles at the pear-shaped woman whose toddler is bouncing up and down on the seat. The young mother’s pursed lips relax and curve slightly at their outermost edges. A bead of sweat drips off the woman’s chin landing squarely on the larynx, cruises south, is swallowed between her voluptuous breasts. The writer continues walking down the aisle until she finds 15B, a window seat. She offers to trade places with the twenty-something in 15A, the non-writer, sporting avia13
tor glasses and plugged into his mp3 player. He slides over to the window seat, pulls his SF Giants cap down over his eyes, looks up, and offers to buy her a drink once the train leaves the station. She sinks into the warmed seat, delighted. She slips the notebook and pen out of the bag and waits for possibility to come walking by. Writers accept that this is part of the madness of being a writer. We watch. We listen. We document. We hoard life’s snippets as an extreme couponer clips coupons. For the most part, we’re content living large in our respective minds. The longer the writer writes the deeper the roots burrow, until they twist and curl around the bones and veins of the writer. There is no escaping this fate, not that a writer desires freedom. A writer accepts this without question. I know I did. I didn’t question my destiny, but when I had my ah-ha moment and accepted my calling I did wonder, and have assumed others like me had the same questions: How did I get this way? And are there others out there like me? 14
Master of Scrap Art
In Summerville, Ga.,there is Howard Finsterâ€™s four acres called Paradise Gardens. Finster made art out of what most people would throw away. He painted on old wood scraps, and was also a concrete and mosaic master.
Flying with the Eagles
When I close my eyes, I see my older sister standing beside a meadow still patchy with snow. A camera dangles from her hand. She’s gazing up at a cloudless, blue sky. She turns to me, grins, and aims her camera. I try to smile but my eyes are burning from the snow’s glare. The light is blinding. My breath is shallow in the thin air, as if I’m breathing in broken glass. That meadow is at the top of Bear’s Tooth Pass in Montana, where we used to hike. Her ashes now drift across that meadow. I remember smoothing the white hospital sheets that covered her cold body and thinking of that snow. So many nights like this one when the moon is full, she’d steal me from sleep for a drive along the beach. I’d curl up beside her, my head on her shoulder, and watch the stars race past the car windows, silver glitter scattered across a velvet-black sky. I had always thought she was racing against the moon. And I never knew why. My sister would escape into a world of beauty and grace behind the lens of her camera. Into prisms of light in a drop of water clinging to a rose petal; the gilded intricacy of a spider’s web at sunrise; a monarch butterfly dipping its black, curled tongue into the well of a flower. I see her now in the hazy dreams of midnight, where hundreds of photographs fan across the years, capturing memories that linger, like our jumping in knee-deep puddles – knowing how silly we looked, two grown women dancing in muddy water, embracing the fury of a storm. 17
And the birds. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of every species. For years, she healed the injured ones and fostered the larger birds of prey. The eagles and hawks were her favorites; she photographed them, sketched them. . . and I think, deep down, wanted to be like them. Fierce, beautiful, strong and free. My sister had an eating disorder. She had been killing herself slowly, and I hadnâ€™t stopped her. I didnâ€™t know how. No one did. She wore her loneliness like a heavy, winter coat, and I stood by helpless as those sparkling, green eyes dimmed to gray. A storm was raging, but she was no longer dancing in its rain. Something had broken insider her. She became like the wounded birds she once cared for. 18
I never should have gone to see her the day I was sick. It never occurred to me that the insidious germs I carried would attack her weakened immune system. She fell ill shortly after I saw her, but refused to go to the doctor. I should have pushed, begged, driven her there myself. I did nothing. When the call came, I raced to the hospital down darkened streets, the moon spinning past my window shield, and wondered if she remembered its pale, yellow face peering above the oceanâ€™s rim so long ago, on those drives along the beach. She was already in the dark sleep of a coma. I touched her cool hand, felt her standing at the foot of the mountain. Monitors then screamed their flatline goodbyes. A stained-glass Jesus mocked me from the window above her hospital bed, and I wanted to smash it. I lay there, adrift, beside her for hours, the white tiles of the hospital floor cold against my cheek like snow. Like the brisk air that had stung my face on top of Bearâ€™s Tooth Pass where I knew she had gone. Where she had taken flight like the eagles. At her funeral, my eulogy painted a false picture of her life so that everyone could leave the church believing she had died a blessed woman. I was a hypocrite because I knew far better than that. She had been dying inside for years. And no one had tried to save her. I had hidden the truth even from myself because I was too cowardly to feel the depth of her pain. An autopsy report claimed she died from pneumonia with a heart three times its normal size. Obesity does that. I prefer to think her heart was large because she loved so much. On the morning after she died, a Red-Tailed Hawk circled back through my yard and settled on the pine branches above me. I looked into his dark, unwavering gaze and saw my sister watching me. Her ashes, now swirling over a snowy mountaintop in Montana, will never settle. Theyâ€™ll twist inside my grieving heart until I feel the last breath of winter.
The Healing Power of Letting Go
In hindsight, it was not an atypical spring Friday in Park Place, Virginia’s favorite library; athletic shoes and outfits had been reclaimed from the back of closets and bottom drawers. The initially bizarre but then familiar buzz of a distant lawnmower cut the breeze, only to be undermined by some newly license-bestowed adolescent deciding that a particular song was worth a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar noise violation citation. Ah yes, the renewed spirit of the season was ushering in a new harvest of opportunities. The police officer was bored, as this was his third tour of our quaint facility since the temperatures had begun to mature in this Ides of March. He stood in the doorway of my tiny dimly-lit office, requisite black-flip spiral notebook in hand, staring blankly over my shoulder as I worked through military-timed camera locations. This time, a small brawl had broken out in the public computer area, and my trick to spotting the aggressors on camera is always to first locate myself in the melee – usually directing women and children away from the brawl. Hunched over, I scrutinized the tape; I could not ascertain my own whereabouts. But who was that short bald guy running onto the scene like that? Where did he get off controlling the crowd in that manner before I had gotten there? I froze the frame mid-punch. The bald guy adjusting his glasses with his head cocked to the side...was me. “Officer James!” I shouted. “Found him, sir? You know his name?” “Turn on the lights!” “Sir?” “Look dude, chill on all the ‘sir’ crap for a minute and cut the light on, man!” Click. Cautiously, I raised my hands to my head, as if there were a foreign scorpion ready to strike at the slightest waft. I caressed my crown with a touch only rivaled by the one on my newly born son’s head some years later. 20
“James…am I…is it hair growing right up in here, man? Am I balding?” A hot second passed. “Little bit.” Radio chatter. “That’s a 24. We’re good here.” Then he said, “So…can you run me a copy, sir?” Once home that night, I grabbed a hand mirror and saw the truth – on my crown and temples. I was one of them, those guys, and knew I would have to continue to fight the inevitable, or embrace it for what is was, and shave it all off. Down to the follicle. I chose the latter. I let it go. George Jefferson never let it go. Yoda, Larry from the Three Stooges, and Gandhi never let it go. They hung in there, refused the facts, and persevered. Good for them. A few more are yet holding on, like David Beckham and Sean Connery. But then there are others who continue to try, and continue to fail. They need to let it go. Donald Trump. Prince William. Art Garfunkel. Fail. Enrique Iglesias. Bishop Eddie Long. Robert Deniro, it’s time. Nicholas Cage, Hulk Hogan. Let. It. Go. Because letting it go works – I am possibly the most handsome, sexiest, and most beautiful male specimen reflected in windows I pass on any busy downtown avenue. I am confident, cute, and as bald-headed as I can be. Because I let it go.
Altered barn windows
Water in canal makes wonky reflection in boathouse windows
One of My Biggest Fears... ...is of the tiger ninja moth. I don’t know whether this is an actual real moth species, but I think it is a very accurate description of the moth I’m talking about. The species out to get me. We were in the middle of gutting our cabin’s bathroom, and literally did not have a pot to p_ _ in. We were replacing the old, pink, cast iron tub, with a modern one-piece shower unit. The problem was that the shower unit would not fit through the bathroom doorway. My husband got the brilliant idea to bring it in through the bedroom window, but that meant he had to take out the glass. Yes, it was a bit of a job, but he did get the shower through the window and into the bathroom. But there was not enough daylight left to reinstall the window glass. And when my husband left that night, he mistakenly forgot to turn off his work light in the bathroom. Like a moth to a flame, people. The next day, the place was infested with moths. I told my husband I was not moving in until all the moths were dead and gone. Moving day came. My husband assured me that he had gone on a mass killing spree and eradicated what was left of the moths from our cozy cabin. Like the sap I sometimes am, I believed that he had super-duper-moth-killing powers. I was wrong. For more nights than I want to ever remember, I was attacked by moths. I say moths plural, because they worked in pairs to torment me – either right before I got into the shower, or right as I got out. Once I was attacked while answering the call of nature on the commode. I had to stop mid-stream and run screaming from the bathroom. They were cunning. They were clever. They were huge, ugly, spotted, fury, smart, sneaky, sadistic, tormentors. They were tiger ninja moths. 23
And they were impossible to smash. The only way to get rid of them was with the shop vac; once they were sucked up, I would plug up the end of the hose (tiger ninja moths do not go down easy). One evening, I was getting ready to shower, and I spotted one hiding on the side of the bathroom medicine cabinet. This one was clever. It was the ninja in him. My husband approached it with the shop vac. I was cowering behind him, and my daughter blocked the bathroom doorway so it could not escape. Then Ninja Moth moved! It flew all around my head. I started screaming, flapping my arms like a mad woman. It was not gonna get me! I dodged and ducked. My husband was trying to calm me down, but I wasnâ€™t having any of it. I pushed him back, jumped over the shop vac, knocked my daughter out of the doorway, and ran hysterically into the other room. When I was able to hear over the sound of my wildly beating heart, I realized my husband was yelling in some really colorful language. I had pushed him back so hard, he had lost his balance and fallen backward into the shower. Well, when tiger ninja moths are after me, he should know better than to get in my way...
The Yellow Turtle
A toy at my mother’s’s house is having a bit of an identity crisis. It’s a yellow turtle shape sorter, that sports a rather fetching blue hat not too dissimilar to those of navy officers. Frequently, we may find it with its shell off and going for random walks around my mother’s living room, or lounging on the sofa watching TV. It’s not too unusual to see the turtle without his shell. After all, shells are quite heavy, right? What was unusual though, is what happened one day last week. Little Z ,playing as he normally does, came running to me asking for a piece of bread. After persuading him to eat a chicken sandwich, I relented and gave him some bread, and he ran off happily. , Shortly afterwards, I went to see if Little Z had eaten his bread and was ready for lunch. And that’s when I made the discovery: The turtle behaving a bit oddly. As if it were a duck. Same expression, same smile…but acting like a duck. Little Z sat on a chair obliging this identity crisis by throwing bits of bread to the turtle. The turtle seemed to be enjoying this new experience of being fed like a duck at a park. The two were having such a good time, I stopped short of telling off Little Z for throwing bits of bread all over the carpet. Instead, I suggested that perhaps his friend was not whom he was claiming to be. “Little Z, that’s not a duck! Its a turtle!” Little Z, in full support of his little friend, simply retorted: “It’s a duck! Duck go Meck Meck Meck.” “Ummm…you mean Quack Quack?” “No…Meck! Meck! Meck!” Hmmm. 25
Design Theory: Printed Patterns At University, I am required to study a module called Design Theory: form in art and design, through pattern and its underlying structural frameworks. Our assignment was to complete a “collection of designs which tile plane without gap or overlap.” We needed to create twelve patterns or tiling – elements cut or drawn from a regular polygon; six designs from a square; then six from either an equilateral triangle or hexagon. I initially created a mood-board of images that were to inspire my pattern designs. I researched African tribes, their culture, dress, art, huts and jewelery. I love their vivid, bold color schemes, and striking angular shapes especially of their costumes and huts. After collecting these inspirational images, I picked my six colors for the palette of my twelve pattern designs. I cut both a square and hexagon into unequal parts and went about creating my patterns using Adobe Illustrator. This was extremely mind taxing and made my eyes go a bit funny, looking at the patterns for too long! Once I had produced all six designs after very long hours spent staring at a screen, I selected one of my patterns and showed my intended final-end use. I intended my pattern designs for children’s printed teepees, in which the designs would be digitally printed onto cotton canvas. The bold prints would be appealing for a child’s play teepee,fun and eye catching, for both indoor and outdoor purposes. Although this project was very time consuming, I am really pleased with my final designs.