Friday, 19 April 2013

Week 64: Adobe Illustrator

Burr Oak Leaves © Karen Thiessen, 2013
Whenever I am at my busiest, ideas for new or existing projects come to me. Years ago I started a Russian Mennonite material culture project that I had to set aside when my career became way too full. Over the past 10 years I've been able to develop parts of my Menno project in short spurts. 

The simple Burr Oak Leaves repeat pattern is a test-run for another pattern that I am just beginning. In the past few weeks I've shared tidbits about Russian Mennonite material culture (doves, wheat, mulberry leaves) and here's another one. In Chortitza, Ukraine (near Zaporizhia) stands an oak tree believed to be eight hundred years old. It's huge and it's almost dead thanks to poor care. This tree is important to Ukrainians and Russian Mennonites alike. Chortitza was the site of the first Mennonite gathering in 1789. A staff person at the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach, Manitoba confirmed my suspicions that the Chortitza oak is of the Quercus robur species (English oak). There are two decendant trees planted within the MH Village grounds and they just sent me a photo of three of the leaves. The moment I received the image I started playing with it and shivers ran down my spine. I am working with a link to my history, probably the farthest link to my Russian Mennonite material culture. It will be a while before I have something to share, but in the meantime, the Burr oak is close in appearance to Q. robur, so this will do for now.

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