Here’s a sneak peek of a pretty special Work In Progress…
Someone who’s making an art form out of taking his game related childhood memories and turning them into finely crafted, large scale needleworks is Per Fhager, whose work i first saw as at the textile museum in Borås, where i was freelancing at the time.
So when he agreed to needlepoint a scene from Project Blue of his choosing, i naturally felt both starstruck and privileged. His work is at this point not only fondly chronicling the history of 80s and 90s gaming, but also the still-going effort to keep these old consoles alive with new titles.
Textile arts, crafts, and methods of production on one hand, and retro computer art and graphics on the other, has a lot in common, when it comes to techniques, limitations, and expressions. How an industrial weaving machine is producing its pattern is eerily similar to how background graphics work in old computers like the atari 2600, NES and c64, making use of patterns and palettes (or interchangeable sets of spools) and line-for-line drawing/weaving, and it’s perhaps not as surprising when you think about the textile industry being the first significant broad scale application for programming. Once you zoom in, you will also notice similarities in how a raster of threads or pixels can create the illusion of a bigger, more coherent picture, using very similar techniques. Patterns for text and needlepoint and early raster fonts share a striking similarity.
When i held a workshop for kids in designing retro graphics and game concept, a lot of older folks asked where they could download shiru’s NES Screen Tool – they wanted to use it to sketch and share needlework patterns.