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Inspiration Board : Houndstooth

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Over the past number of months I have been quite interested in pixelation and how to represent images as collections of neatly organized little squares - so geometrically satisfying! At the same time I have been looking at classic fabric prints and patterns and how striking they are when done on a large, graphic scale. Together, these two ideas rattling around in my head led me to re-discover houndstooth, which has become a bit of an obsession in recent days!

It turns out that the classic houndstooth pattern is an example of tessellation which is the process of creating a two-dimensional plane using the repetition of a geometric shape with no overlaps and no gaps. In Latin, tessella means "small square" and is also a piece of clay, stone or glass used to make mosaics. Perfect!

Searching the internet for examples, I came across Alexander McQueen's 2009 Fall/Winter collection (photos courtesy of and was blown away with how it utilizes the classic pattern quite strikingly. I love how he uses houndstooth in all different sizes and especially love when he transforms the pattern into birds!

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If you have 15 minutes, I would recommend checking out the entire show here.

Further searching led me to a graphic representation of the weave associated with houndstooth, which uses a duotone pattern of sets of four threads/strips/etc. that are woven in alternating twos:

With this very clear graphic in hand, I set out to try the weaving pattern myself. Using 1/2-inch strips of black and white paper, I created a test swatch (that I then laminated to hold it together) that turned out quite well:

And then, by expanding this idea to a larger scale with a greater number strips, I created a fun piece of wall art:

Undoubtedly, different materials and different colors and widths of strips could lead to pretty impressive results that could be used in a variety of applications. I recommend trying out the weaving pattern and seeing what you can come up with!

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