The initial inspiration for zombie poodles in my designs was Beau—an extra large Standard Poodle. Beau lived with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. He was an exuberant extrovert with no respect for anyone’s personal space and an amazing ability to jump.
Inspired by a weekend visit where I endured Beau’s antics, I drew my impressions in my sketchbook. The first signs of a zombie poodle are clear in those sketches.
So, that started my poodle period. Poodles showed up frequently in my sketchbooks. Below, a design for a Grecian urn from March 2011.
Then a design for custom-made cowboys boots from early 2012.
Unfortunately, I never got around to producing those boots.
Later, in 2016, zombie poodles appeared on Calamityware dinner plate 11.
I was delighted by the idea of zombie poodles traipsing around in the traditional blue-willow paradise. I was surprised that so many people liked the idea of having dinner on a porcelain plate with zombie poodles.
Around that same time, I experimented with weaving a pattern of zombie poodles into a fabric using a Jacquard loom. But that idea never went anywhere. It was hard to imagine many people needing a chorus line of poodles on their sofa.
But, the notion of a zombie-poodle textile stuck with me. Early in 2019 I started work on a pattern of interlocking hexagons made up of zombie poodles.
After quite a few variations the pattern landed here.
And then it was applied to the shopping tote that we offered as a gift to shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend, 2019.
What I like about this design is also true of many of my pattern designs. At first glance, it’s a dignified and pleasant pattern. But when one looks closer, oddities appear. Are those poodles? Wait! Are they really zombie poodles?! Yikes.
Thanks, Beau. We miss you.
Don—Pittsburgh, November 2019
February 27, 2023
I just found the Zombie Poodle tote bag online and snagged it (Feb 2023). Then I found this blog. Fun times! Since zombies are always in style, please reconsider the ideas you had. And I LOVE the prickly fur version.