When Pork Repeats Itself

A Cautionary Tale
I know I promised you a post about weaving and book arts, but this was something I just couldn’t over look. Just had to write this post relating back to my previous post about ba pao or pork buns.

Pork Buns Ready for Steaming

Seems that another WordPress blogger liked the post so much that she took it upon herself to copy certain elements from my writing, including the title, key phrases and even part of my recipe, most notably my signature filling of Memphis style barbeque pulled pork. And she had the nerve to call it her own.

Now the description of my pork bun with Memphis style barbeque pulled pork  is not a traditional filling for Chinese ba pao often served at dim sum. Generally the pork is cut into chunks and cooked in a hoisin sauce or a sweet Chinese soybean paste. The coloring is usually dark brown or red. This is the steamed bun that I have made with a Memphis style barbeque pulled pork filling:

MemphisWeaver's Steamed Pork Bun

Steamed pork bun with Memphis style BBQ pulled pork filling

On the outside, my pork bun or ba pao may look traditional, but the filling is anything but, as I have incorporated my own smoky pulled pork with my signature barbeque sauce into the filling.

So here’s where I get on the soapbox about plagiarism. As a handweaver, I frown upon anyone copying my designs and products thread by thread with the result being an exact replica of my original art. But also as an artist who blogs, I encourage and challenge weavers to try the designs and techniques I write about and even expand upon them. We all have our own sense of style, our own color and fiber preferences, our own way of handling our looms. My point being, there’s nothing wrong with liking somebody else’s ideas, designs or techniques. But don’t copy them and call them your own, instead be inspired by them. Use what you like about it as a foundation to build upon with your own creative energy so the final product will be yours and yours alone. The final product should bear your own characteristic signature whatever that might be as long as it’s unique and different from the artist/writer/chef who inspired you in the first place.

Footnote:  With gratitude to Heshie for the ingenious suggestion of the title.

Irises

When I lived in Massachusetts years ago, I had a good friend from Tennessee who used to give me gifts of  irises.  I learned that they were the state’s official  flower.   And for some reason I’ve always remembered that.  Now that I am a resident of Memphis tucked away in the far southwest corner of the state and bordered by the Mississippi River, I’ve come to truly appreciate irises. Especially in early August.  I never realized how many varieties and colors there were.

Map of Tennessee

Map of Tennessee

Because of their rich colors and textures, irises have for a long time been a beloved subject for artists.  Though these irises aren’t from Tennessee, they were painted by an artist who shares my Dutch ancestral heritage.

Irises painted by Vincent van Gogh

Irises painted by Vincent van Gogh

And so this painting became my inspiration to create a rep weave wall hanging  based on the colors and design of van Gogh’s irises.  My weaving is not completed yet, but here’s a glimpse while it still sits on my loom.

Irises in Rep Weave on Loom

Irises in Rep Weave on Loom

Instead of a field of irises, I designed three large blooms in three different shades of purple.   When completed, this wall hanging will measure approximately 30″ wide and 50″ long.  I wanted to capture a “prairie style” block design with a visual imagery of long columns and squared off blocks – a suitable pattern to rep weave structure. My warp is 5/2 perle cotton doubled and threaded at 24 ends per inch. I find that the doubled cotton strands cover the weft nicely when sett at this epi.  My weft requires two shuttles as the weft rows alternate thick and thin yarn, as is customary in rep weave.  The thick weft is comprised of two strands of 100% cotton, Peaches and Creme by Elmore-Pisgah. The doubled peaches and cream strands are wound around the ski shuttle.  The color is olive which is primarily seen at the selvages.  The thin weft yarn is a 16/2 cotton in turquoise that I just found in my stash. This is wound on the bobbin in the boat shuttle.  And so each shuttle is thrown alternately in successive rows to create the design in the pattern.

This piece is almost finished, and once the ends are hemmed and sewn , then I will post a photo of it here. But as with all my other work, during the weaving process I am always thinking of my next project.  And I so fell in love with van Gogh’s painting that I think that I’ll stick with the theme of irises.  But I may try to design narrower columns and smaller blocks  of color so that the finished piece will  more resemble an entire field of irises instead of just three individual beauties.