Exploration into Tapestry weaving

The adventure into the mysterious basement of the Fine Arts center was an unforgettable one. Michael led us behind the scenes, into the basement where priceless art waits on its way in or out of the museum. We held our breaths as the grille of the massive elevator screeched into position, locking us in for the descent into the archives.

The tapestries were carefully rolled out before us one by one by a pair of very knowledgeable CC interns. Each rug held its own rich history, its own secrets, and its own important place in the Fine Art Center’s permanent collection. We oohed and aahed at each rug as its vibrant patterns rolled out in stark contrast to the one behind it.

Navajo Tapestries and Spanish influence tapestries

Jeanne quizzed us playfully on techniques and technical details of the tapestries, bringing to our attention dyes and warp quality, finishing stitches and antiquated weaving practices. We soon found that the pieces being revealed to us were a special few of many special tapestries that stood at attention behind the doors of a temperature regulated vault along with thousands of other priceless artifacts.

Our brains full with new information, speculations, and images, we returned to our studio where our own miniature tapestries sat barely woven.

After a night of hard weaving, our approximately 8”x10” samples hung proudly on the wall of Coburn Gallery. It was no surprise that traces of the rugs we had admired the day before had emerged boldly in our weaving samples. The sturdy fabric that laboriously came into its existence on each of our looms is so satisfying to handle and look at, that it will be hard to resist taking on the ultimate challenge of making a large one for a final project.

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