A specialist in the designing and weaving of tartans, Nancy Sinnott combines her love of math with art and enjoys testing her abilities in both.
She fostered her love of textiles as an art form while a student at the University of Notre Dame, and deepened it while working with the textiles collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
“All my new designs start with a plan, which may or may not be based on an ancient tartan pattern. Next I create five to 10 different renditions of a pattern, finding the one that fits my aesthetic for the piece. Color and balance are key to creating a piece I deem successful,” she says.
“Researching, designing, weaving, and selling tartans for several years, especially while living so close to Notre Dame, has resulted in many spirited conversations with hundreds of Indiana residents,” Nancy says. “They share their Celtic heritage and work with me to discover their ancestor’s clan tartan.
“While many of my tartans are woven using authentic Shetland wool dyed to authentic tartan colors, that’s not always the case,” she adds. “I enjoy utilizing cooler natural materials such as bamboo and silk, as both hold the rich colors of the tartan and the sharp lines of the design, and drape well when worn.”
Nancy says authentic tartans follow several specific rules. They are always woven in twill (two threads up/two threads down); the pattern must almost always be symmetrical, which requires using identical colors and material in both the warp and weft of the weave; the colors may range from two to as many as the artist wants, but the majority of tartans range from three to seven specific colors; and each color combination is expected to be “pleasing to the eye,” and to blend when seen from a distance.
Date / Time