Look around when you go for a walk next time and see what you can see? Colors and shapes in your street, at the shopping center ... Study shapes, shades and colors right there in your garden or if you live in a flat, go to the nearest park! Have fun!

Ideas and Computer
I am fascinated by the possibilities of computer technology in design work. You can sketch or paint your design, scan it and with a graphic program, convert it to a cartoon, which your printer can print out. Depending on the size, you may need to sticky tape a few pages together, but that is not a problem. Or you can use photos and/or pictures to create a montage to incorporate things you want in your design without having to be able to draw or paint yourself. Zdnet, Cnet and msn have lots of info on multimedia (graphic programs, clipart, graphics, fonts, printers, scanners, digital cameras).
If you like surfing the web, and are looking for ideas, check out photographic pages, travel pages - some have beautiful landscapes, national geographic, NASA space shots ...., get a fractal screensaver. Actually there are quite a few screen savers which come up with interesting shapes and color combinations and can be downloaded free to check them out.
Design Technique
When designing for a tapestry, you need to consider your weaving technique. If there are a lot of vertical lines in your design, you can weave the tapestry from the side (which then makes the lines horizontal) to avoid a lot of sewing up of slits or continous connecting of colors. If there are fine details you need to keep your epi in mind. Will you have enough warps to create the details? The same applies to shadow and light areas. Will you have enough warps to be able to weave the shadows or change shades to create the lighted areas? It is a good idea to experiment on a sampler, if you don't have enough experience to judge how your weaving will compare to the design details which you are not sure about. Some fine details can be expressed in a different way than weaving all the detail. For example by using textured warp (boucle, slubs and so on) or using rug knots to make fluffy areas. Shading can also be achieved by using variegated yarn which can be easily manipulated over small areas to shade without changing yarn. Handspun variegated yarns work especially well because the handspun is more randomly variagated than commercial yarn.
Other Ideas
If you don't have the time or inclination to learn how to go on about it with your computer, you can still create your own designs, without having to be a painter or artist. Look through magazines,calendars, travel brochures and so on. Cut out the parts of pictures/photos which you like and put them all on a piece of paper. Arrange, re arrange, snip here and there, till you are happy with it. You can use double sided sticky tape to securely fasten the cut outs to the paper. Then go to your library or newsagency and photo copy it to the size you want to make the tapestry. You may have to cut your paper in equal pieces and enlarge those to the maximum size and then sticky tape the papers together to create a larger design.
Then, back home work out the outlines of your shapes by using a 6B pencil. If you change your mind you can rub a line out with an art eraser (soft lumpy kind). When you are sure, copy all outlines with a pointed marker pen (Artline 70 - for example) to enable you to see the outlines through your warp in order to copy them onto the warp.
In general it is ok to use a part of a picture or photo from a magazine. If you want to use a bigger part of a picture you should ask for permission (always in writing!). Photos in books are often a good source of ideas. The same applies to calendars and diaries with pictures or photos. Write to the editor explaining which picture (page) and what you want to use it for and ask for permission. In most cases you will get permission. It is wise to keep the letter which gives you the permission. You need to mention if you are weaving the tapestry for yourself or intend to sell it.
If you are a beginner, check out books on tapestry weaving. Most give you one or more designs to try out. It is also ok to copy other tapestry weavers work (though it is nice to ask permission) as long as you do not sell the copy.
Old paintings are royalty free but if you wish to use a living artists painting as your design, you need to ask permission first.
On webpages always check that the available pictures/photos are royalty free.
If you like working with the computer for design work, it is a good idea to invest in a Clipart library (Corel, IMSI, Adobe...) Apart from drawings which you can work with, you always get lots of photos which you can use.
Check out copyright laws in your country and international copyright laws.


Text and Graphics are copyright of Vermiro - Vera L Hazelgrove, but you are welcome to print this page for your private use.
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