Technical Experiments

My challenge to create a fully sized Tepee started by looking online at instructions as to how to adapt the current pattern I had to scale up the structure. Through searching I realised that it would be better to produce my own pattern to fit the height of the adult tepee as using the pattern I currently have would be too complex. I decided to make a simple Tepee design which consists of three normal panels and one panel with an opening. This canvas will then be attached to four beams of wood, tied at the seams to allow for strength and shelter. These beams are treated pine which will not rot if the structure is placed outside, and are 9 foot in length to allow for the diagonals. The space must give room for standing, but the audience will be encouraged to sit so as to allow for multiple people to enter at the same time.

This is the website that I based the pattern design on

The Tepee canvas will be constructed from a natural calico fabric as it is sturdy and similar in characteristic to traditional tepees. This fabric is off white in colour allowing for my applique illustrations to stand out from a neutral background. It is important on both a personal and conceptual level to reuse materials as much as possible, but to also to produce everything from scratch. Therefore, my making process started by experimenting with the wooden frame of the tepee so as to measure the size of the triangular panels. We measured the height of the tepee by standing within the space and allowing room for an average sized man, and also by sitting within the parameters. From this we took measurements along the base of the triangle, up the sides, from the central point and across the top (as the shape cannot be a complete triangle to allow for the wooden beams to meet at the top). As we just created a rough plan of the beams, each of the panel measurements would be slightly different so we took the average and shall then eventually let the beams move to meet the final panels. The final measurements were a base of 150cm, a top of 12cm and the height 230cm. The seam allowances on the sides will be 5cm to allow for eyelets to be added, and then a 1.5cm addition to the top and bottom measurements. The panel with an opening will be split up into a further three pieces, with the top section being 6cm in height.

To cut the calico material I marked the pattern straight onto the surface and then used this as a template for the rest of the panels. To give a perfectly straight edge I folded the material in half and measured out from this point as I knew it was accurate. The process was rather simplistic but took time to cut and pin the lines neatly as the fabric stretched when working along the bias.


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