In my quest to design and make an appropriate header for this blog, I finished off my last post by musing about what pattern would be depicted by the weaver in the image. The tapestry should represent the inner world of the weaver, and also serve to flag a few things about the world to the viewer. So in this post I’ll plot out a few thoughts I had in this process.
What is it that I want the viewer to infer about the world?
- It is a world that was conquered, has a complex cultural coalescence happening.
The main reason why I began world building was to build a fictive space in order to explore stories of cultural contact under certain circumstances, namely of conquest and being conquered. So the first question that came to mind was “How does the weaver feel about the conquest?” but the answer actually depends more “Who is the weaver?” Is she from the conquering side, or the conquered side? How does she personally view the historical conquest? This might seem like some indulgent naval gazing, but is actually fundamental because… what does the viewer herself look like? What does her dress tell us about who she is? Is she from the conquering side, or the conquered side? (since the two groups historically dressed differently.)
But I as the artist also want to communicate a specific image of the world to the viewer, I decided to have my wants limit who the weaver might be. I want the image of the world to be exiting, vivid, and complex, with evidence of cultural mixture. Working from that starting point, it could be inferred that the weaver is probably, at a minimum, philosophical about the conquest; not completely hostile towards the conquerors, but perhaps weary of depicting it as something completely glorious and amazing.
High chance she’s a person of mixed heritage (both conqueror and conquered), a közluqi. They dress a certain way, so the outfit of the weaver should reflect that. I also decided that the tapestry should have visual elements from both the conqueror and conquered cultures. This naturally led to the decision that the tapestry should be an intricate and colourful one with various symbols, motifs, and patterns.
Of course, this ground work is all invisible to the viewer who knows nothing about the world, or it’s component parts. But this is what I love about world building: the opportunity to think about how a world is made up socially and environmentally, but also how to weave in those elements into a visual piece to create the image of a world that feels real enough that it may exist. Whether I’ve succeeded int his case is, well, up for debate but…
I’ve still got to tweak things before this picture is more complete, but here we have the bulk of the tapestry. In the next post I’m going to share the basic premise of the world, and begin introducing the two civilisations that are represented in this tapestry.