Saturday, 19 January 2013

My Theme Suggestion:The Sound of Cicadas

While working my way slowly through making my sampler for this section, I have been thinking about my theme for the final assignment for this course.

In my sketchbook one day I tried to represent that amazing experience of walking out of a house in the evening in some countries, and a curtain of silver sound rising up from the grass into the cooling sky. The sound of cicadas. 

At the time it seems to me that there is a physical sensation in my scalp, around the back of my head and behind the ears, that tingles and is very intense at the same time as being very delicate. Like white sound only more beautiful. Electric, only gentler and more pleasurable.

Because of where I place that sensation, I was thinking of making a delicate raised collar to surround the back of my head. This idea has stuck with me ever since I first thought of it.

A 'truly lovely cicada' from http
I have found some photos of cicadas on the internet over the months since then. There are several species with different coloration.
This one is amazing, like a scarab beetle in colour.
The lines of the pattern, the spots of shiny black, and the contrasting transparent sepia of the wings are all beautiful and interesting.

Periodical cicadas

This amazingly  detailed photo is from
The texture on the chin says 'embroidery' to me.

Periodical cicadas are the ones that live a very long time but only come out every 11 years I think, to mate.

The wings are structured in a delicate way that already makes me think about how I could use the pattern of raised lines to support a high collar. Or just explore different ways to express the delicate strength of them.

The colours here are stark orange and black.
An interesting contrast to the delicacy, and bringing something a bit less pretty-pretty into the mix.
Others are much more gently subtle with softer textures.


This one has less subtle colouring, presumably because of whatever plant it has to be camouflaged against. I love camouflage patterns and colours and have spent time working on them in my sketchbooks.

The stiffeners for the wings are so bright green they are almost iridescent. And warm like green metallic plastic.

The eyes of all these examples are different colours, and different distances apart. But for all they are a strong contrast feature in terms of colour and shape.

This photo shows a corrugated pattern of regular ridges in the transparent wings, and the sinewy thickness of the struts holding them out. And yet another colourway. And strange little hairs above the berry eyes.

A great close-up from

Helmut Lang
Cicada print chiffon dress
I have done some work on developing these images, and the feeling that the sound of them gives me, in my sketchbook.

I think that between the look of the creatures, and their sound, I will have lots to work on. Of course I may end up making something very different from a collar. But whatever it ends up being, I am sure that will find lots of interest and inspiration in these insects.

Even the phrase 'the sound of cicadas' has an evocative ring to it.

And I am not the only one who finds cicadas inspiring!

So I'm going to ask my tutor if I can use these ideas to start off my theme book for the final assignment.

Dear ChristinaHappy new year to you.
I have had a look at your blog page for your theme book and I think it sounds wonderful.  You will have plenty of source material, you have interesting ideas to explore incorporating the feel of the sound of Cicadas.  There is plenty of texture, colour, structure, shape to get stuck into and scope for using different fabrics, yarns and techniques.  The idea of the collar as relating to the feel of the sound is a wonderful idea.  Do keep your options open a bit so that you don't make too many decisions too soon.  But otherwise yes, definitely go for it.
Best wishes

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