Seven Little Prayer Flags and How They Grew

Seven Seas Prayer Flags. Reardon (c) 2016
65” wide x 7.5” high
Limited Edition of 50 Sets
Click Here for More Details

From Inspiration to Perspiration

Sometimes an artist goes right from first inspirational vision to a finished work of art. Actually, the last piece I posted about, Blue Echoes,*2 was quite a bit like that. However, going from a dream of magnificent pennants to small individual sets of prayer flags was not like that. They went through a lot of trial and error, pure perspiration, for over a year. Some errors were doozies.

 Wax On

The first samples I made were to highlight that lovely translucence of cotton fabric dipped in wax; I wanted to catch how the light came through them when hung inside a window.

Testing these experiments in my dining room window gave the general look I wanted, especially during our frequent gray rainy days here in the Northwest. I began planning make them a little bigger.

 Wax Off

But . . . several days of sunshine in a row woke me up! I realized from my softening flags that waxed fabric in a south-facing window was not a good idea.

I pawed through my sizeable stash of fabrics for something that would echo the translucence of waxed cotton. Near the bottom, over 20 years old, I found half a bolt of sueded rayon. Voila! I made my next prototype.

The rayon has its own reflectance and in addition it drapes and moves more fluidly than waxed fabric, which I liked in a flag.


Without the wax interest, I felt they needed something more and browsed through my whale library for text to express my hopes for the whales. Jim Friedrich kindly allowed me to use his lovely prayer for cetaceans, found in Brenda Peterson and Linda Hogan’s book Sightings.

More experiments balanced the flag size with how to print the hand-dyed rayon with my trusty Epson 810 inkjet. My organizer side typed up succeeding instructions to keep track of my creative impulses.


Once the text was set, I tweaked my dyeing process to get more reliable and watery backgrounds. With more rounds of tweaking, I came up with the final version and went to work making 50 sets.

 I hope you enjoy the results and this chance to look behind the scenes in one artist’s studio. To have a set for yourself or a friend, order directly from me or find them at The Langley Whale Center. For more details on what's included click here

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