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Ethnic Hanging

My client wanted a hanging in an ethic style for a conservatory filled with huge leafy plants.

Avoiding many of the cultures most commonly perceived as 'ethnic', I decided to draw upon the culture of the Polynesian peoples - mainly I have to say because I am a huge fan of Paul Gaugin's paintings of the Polynesian islands.

I had expected to find lots of the brightly coloured costumes and flowers associated with Hawaiian dancers and I must admit to being a little disappointed when this turned out not to be the case at all. Real Polynesian art has little in common with Gaugin's paintings it seems.

I did find plenty of useful source material though, particularly tattooing, which actually originated in the Polynesian islands. Also, some of the wood carving looked promising and I imagined I might be able to incorporate this into the hanging mechanism. The most useful source however was the decorated tapa cloths (made from the inner bark of the Paper Mulberry and Breadfruit trees) which the Polynesians used in many of their rituals.

It was from one of these tapa cloths that I derived the geometric shapes and stick figures used in the hanging. The colours were inspired by 'La Orana Maria' a Gauguin picture of 1895.

I had decided to use appliqué on felt as my main manipulative technique and had done some samples with heavy machine stitch which distorted the felt into bubbles, rather like the circles on the tapa cloth.

I made six separate panels using this technique and also appliquéd silks with layers of organza to get the colours I wanted from the picture. These panels were then joined with a layer of organza and stitch and the whole thing stitched onto a backing of grey felt.

The hanging mechanism was a felted piece of doweling joined to the fabric by wool cords and tiny pieces of manipulated felt.

Ethnic Hanging
Top Panel
Top Panel
Middle Panel
Middle Panel
Bottom Panel
Bottom Panel
Workbook Page
Workbook Page
Workbook Page
Workbook Page
Workbook Page
Workbook Page

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