Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Putting a plan together

I found a photo on the web that I wanted to manipulate to use as the basis of one of my plant hangings but it belonged to a commercial library in America, but oh the wonders of e-mail. I mailed the company who, after a few reasonable questions, have given me permission to use it in a non-profit making context. Without e-mail I wouldn't even have tried to make contact!

I'm very fortunate in that I have access to a data projector at work which allows me to project a computer screen onto a white surface. So with photo reversed, some backing material masking-taped to the wall and washable marker pen in hand, I've been able to trace the enlarged, manipulated image onto the fabric.

The full design marked out.

A closer view, the dashes represent leaf veins.

It's strange but because I haven't drawn the leaf myself this feels like cheating and yet people use commercial patterns and stencils all the time in their work so why do I have this hang up? I think it goes back to schooldays where we compared our drawings - if anyone was believed to have traced their picture it was definitely looked down upon. I experienced the same thing recently when looking through a textile artists portfolio that was available for browsing at her one woman show. At the time she was working with computer manipulated images and a friend and I were discussing what processes she worked through. I happened to look up whilst browsing and there, hanging on the wall, was a full size replica of a computer graphic in the portfolio. Again I had that sense of 'Hey isn't this cheating?' but because this was a well respected artist I could stand back and see that her original input was in choosing and manipulating the image as well as in the 'manufacture' of the hanging. So on the basis of "What's sauce for the goose.... " I thought I'd try it myself! (Don't know where that came from, it's a phrase my mother used to use many years ago!)

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