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Archive for January 2008

A learning tapestry

Sometimes something emerges from my pen that I really don’t expect. That was the case with a piece I did for the Burnaby School District. We were trying to chart the many projects and initiatives they’ve put in place to support literacy in Burnaby, and came up with the idea of representing it as a tapestry. I had an idea that I’d include words, drawings, and some collage elements (which I’ve long wanted to play with), and that the ‘tapestry’ would be built around the 5 participant groups Burnaby’s programs support. But beyond that I was pretty fuzzy.

So I rolled out a l o o o o o o o n g piece of paper — the longest chart I’ve ever done — sketched in a pencil outline of the edges, and started drawing. I sketched in the boxes containing the main categories. Then I sketched in boxes containing the subsections. Then I started adding colour…and images…and collaged in some photos of Burnaby student art…and thought, “Hmmm.” I wasn’t at all sure that I was going to like what came out. But I kept on. I added connector lines, added more colour, added texture…and bit by bit it started taking shape. I started liking what I saw after all.

By the time I finished the second section it was starting to look quite rich. Then it was time for the Aboriginal section. Instead of doing it in a square like the others, I made it round to match their Aboriginal Circle Program.

After four days of work, the tapestry was finally finished. (I had somehow imagined I’d get it done in a day — talk about underestimating the time things will take.) I added a bit of pastel to the main headings to punch them out a bit — and it was done! It didn’t (and doesn’t) look quite like anything else I’ve done in this genre, and I don’t think I really had a clue what it would look like till I was about halfway through. But I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with the final result. More importantly, Burnaby S.D. is delighted with it. Here’s what it looks like: