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Medieval Stock Photo?

I wove a “medieval head sampler” in anticipation of my billedvev workshops at Vesterheim in September.  I looked through many images of old Norwegian tapestries and chose some of the charming faces.  A queen and a king seemed appropriate. I started clipping and combining in Photoshop.  Photo editing software is useful for getting disparate elements to the same scale.

For an unknown reason I thought of contemporary stock photos in magazines and annual reports, and how they are often tailored to show just the right combination of people of many cultures and ethnicities (and of course it’s a good thing to include a variety of people in magazines and ads…). Who would a Norwegian medieval ad agency add to a stock photo tableaux? Certainly the Sami were an ethnic minority underrepresented in Norwegian medieval tapestries. A google search led to a Sami man wearing a wonderful blue hat.  I added him, switching the photo face to a medieval tapestry face.

I simplified the lines, and chose billedvev colors.

I prepared the black and white cartoon.

It was an enormously instructive piece, and led to a detailed handout for my students, about all of the weaving choices to make along the way, and how to learn from my mistakes. Seriously, I mismanaged the king’s right eyebrow. The weaving is still on the pipe loom, and hopefully will improve with blocking and finishing.


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