Late Antique Egyptian Spirals Made in Denmark

By Ulrikka Mokdad, tapestry weaver and art historian

“Ulrikka’s Purple Affair”

My samples were made directly from the reconstructed pattern that was shown on the website of the competition. I downloaded the pattern from the website, enlarged it using a photocopier and then selected some nice sections approximately 20 x 20 cm.

Before starting to weave the tapestry samples, I took a closer look at the selected sections and discovered that a few spirals of the design were not clockwise. I was fascinated by these subtle almost invisible changes that appeared in the pattern and chose to weave the sections that included the counter-clockwise spirals. As I weave tapestry face down, the motif was mirrored before weaving in order to ensure that the spirals on the finished samples were heading in the right direction. The first tapestry sample was not sent to the competition as it was less perfectly woven than the second one. The second tapestry sample was sent to the competition along with the third sample.

“Ulrikka’s Indigo Affair”

The third sample woven in supplementary weft technique was woven face up. I forgot that the motif on the cartoon was mirrored, so most of the spirals on that sample are counter-clockwise, but I honestly do not think that this makes much difference to contemporary viewers.

However, the clockwise spirals may have had some symbolic meaning in Late Antiquity. In that case, my third sample could probably mean the opposite of what it was supposed to mean to a Late Antiquity viewer.

My first two samples were woven in tapestry technique and the third one in supplementary weft.

All of my samples were woven on a frame loom with a 3-ply linen warp and different thin wool wefts.