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