From Sand Patterns To Land Marks

I cropped this photo to remove boot prints, strengthened the shadows a bit, and then the patterns on this beach became sharper and easier to see. The removal of a scale reference made it possible to imagine this as an aerial view of a ridge across a desert landscape somewhere in one of the great deserts of the world …. the patterns are the same or at least similar enough – though the little bivalves trekking towards the retreating waves leave a nice line+blob pattern that doesn’t translate to anything you can imagine on the greater scale.

sand patterns to landmarks startsand patterns to landmarks

Early humans everywhere observed and recorded patterns from nature on various surfaces with a variety of tools, and on every continent except Antartica, in many cases these markings were made onto the actual landscape itself.  The Plains of Nazca in Peru, rocks in Azerbaijan, overhung caves and cliffs at Obiri Australia, and the Newspaper Rock USA,  are just a few of the countless markings on the landscape – or ‘land marks’ as I’m coming to think of them.   Even in very isolated areas many are under threat from human activity by people who no longer know how to read these patterns and don’t know their connection to to the lives and possibly the beliefs of the ancients who lived in the area very long ago.

It intrigues, but doesn’t surprise me, that many of these primal marks and patterns – circles, spirals,  triangles, squares, domes and other basic shapes, are endlessly combined into patterns associated with particular groups of people, and appear on their wooden, metal, fabric, ceramic, leather and other material artefacts.  These ideas are the theme of the first art quilts I made, my Ancient Expressions series, some of which appear in a gallery  of that name on this website.   These days I frequently doodle with ancient patterns, moving closer to combining them with the concept of landscape wearing down under natural forces.

landmark sampling 1 blogI doubt this 4″ x 6″  sample will lead directly to anything, though it represents certain thinking and exploring of ideas and materials  – especially this fabulous mock patent leather fabric I found last time I was browsing in Joanne’s in either Easton MD, Kansas City MO or Greeley CO during recent family visits we had up there.

  1. As you can see, it’s very hard to photograph! … but very dramatic.
  2. The nylon organza has been bonded onto it, and though seemingly impossible to lift now, I’m a bit concerned the edges might rub loose with wear, so that’s something else to consider.
  3. Silver metallic machine stitching works well to hold the edges down here, but I don’t like the effect.
  4. Metallic Sharpie pen dots work fine, wonderfully, excitingly, on the black, but they and the black pen give a disagreeably fuzzy line on the organza.
  5. So there’s a lot to think about.

I’ve always found making a small sample is the easiest and often quickest way to make discoveries. Handling a sample from time to time helps me think about its future potential, and this process needs time to clarify.  Even though I feel my next work might be of all natural fibre fabrics, I feel this ‘patent leather’ stuff or something similar may buzz around in my mind for a while, not unlike the silver mylar coated nylon that recently surfaced from the depths of my fabrics cupboard.

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