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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau


I have always loved plaid fabrics. Maybe it's because I love colors. Maybe it's because I like the order of the interweaving threads and how they relate to each other. Or may it's because I have Scottish blood running in my veins. Probably it's a combination of all three. The word plaid has Gaelic roots, was initially spelled plaide, and was defined as a blanket or mantle. In Scotland, a plaid is the tartan cloth that is thrown around the waist and over the shoulder as part of the kilt attire. Tartan fabric was used by the Scots to represent family, loyalty, the unity of clans, and sometimes rebellion. Correctly described as a pattern, plaid is composed of two lines intersecting each other and there can be different weights and colors for these lines. As a photographer I love the fact that the very first colored photograph, made in 1855, was of a tartan ribbon. Tartan plaids have a universal appeal. Today there are over 7000 tartan setts (patterns) with more being created all the time. Do you remember my blog on Friday about Farmer's Markets and the picture that went with that blog? Well, it was the photo from which the one above was created. Every color of the rainbow is represented in that original image. When you take those colors and turn them into thread pixels and manipulate those threads so that the colors interweave, the image that results can look a bit like this. This past week we have seen and heard and maybe participated in protests and rebellions all over the world against systematic racism. The protestors ranged in age from very young to very old. They represented all ethnicities and sexes and religious persuasions. They even represented businesses and organizations. Symbolically, I think, they have created a "plaid." They have "woven" themselves together to make a unified statement that things must change and that such a change can become a mantle or blanket under which those that have been oppressed and marginalized can finally find safety and comfort.

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