Midwest Morris Ale

In spring 2021, I was asked to design the t-shirts for participants and fans of the Midwest Morris Ale. Morris Dancers across the Midwest and from far away places joined the Ale virtually, but were together in spirit. They wanted the theme to reflect their determination to continue the Ale despite the pandemic, so they chose ‘Perseverance’ as the theme…which naturally led to everyone thinking about the Mars rover, and a theme was born. They gave me the criteria to:

  1. Theme: Perseverance, regarding our ability to carry on through the pandemic.
  2. Include the Perseverance Rover.
  3. Include the phrase “Dance Mighty Things”.
  4. Include the phrase “2021 Midwest Morris Ale”.
Midwest Morris Ale 2021: ‘Perseverance’

To make the design, I had to first make their logo, a bell, vector art. Then I drew the rover from a photo I found at NASA.gov. I also did this for the parachute.

Hankies are a traditional prop for Morris Dancers, which they wave in their hands as they dance. Some of the movements in the dance are in fact intended to move the hankie a certain way. This was an important element to signify Morris.

Morris Dancers waving hankies. Photo by Kate Johnson 2015

I replaced the Rover wheels with the official logo of Midwest Morris Ale, the Bell. Since Morris dancers wear bellpads, a sleeve of bells on their lower legs, it seemed appropriate to have bells on the lower section of the rover.

Photo courtesy NASA.gov.
Morris Dancers wearing bellpads while dancing. Photo by Kate Johnson, 2015

For the landing parachute, it was time for an ‘in joke’. The original NASA version said “Dare Mighty Things”, with geographical coordinates for JPL, in Binary Code. I revised it to say “Dance Might Things” with coordinates for the monument at the geographical center of United States (with the help of my husband and a member the Morris Ale).

Photo created by https://www.reddit.com/user/rtphokie/.

For the poster, I overlaid the Martian surface with binary code, same as on the parachute, but very lightly.

Midwest Morris Ale 2021

For the t-shirt, they chose not to have a background. Brighter colors were chosen to improve design on darker shirt colors. (See the image at the top!)

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