handwoven tapestry faces
These woven images are informed by both digital and hand technologies.
Photographs of faces are worked in Photoshop, to crop an image to the face only, then to reduce the number of pixels to a width of twenty pixels. A print of this highly pixelated face is then used as the guide to handweaving the tapestry.
In order to have the range of colors that I need, I dye all yarns used, and aim to achieve a close match to the colors of the original face. In some cases, the original photo was either black and white, or sepia toned; in these cases, an assortment of un-dyed alpaca yarns are used, in the tonal ranges needed.
The process of reducing the image to a small number of squares, as well as working with approximations of the colors, yields a portrait that sits on that tenuous edge between abstraction and representation. However, what amazes me is how little visual information is needed to trigger recognition.
Most often, when viewers are confronted with the physical tapestry, it does not immediately register as a face, unless they are far enough away, or view it via their cell phone, to take a picture. Thus the circle goes around from technology, to hand work, and back to technology.