Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tapestry at Acadia Art Gallery

Last night we went to the opening at the Acadia Art Gallery in Wolfville. The title of the show is 'Large/small - experiments with scale.
Since sometime before Christmas 2008 I had had a thought in my head that I wanted to weave a tapestry to submit to this show. There really was no excuses, I have a tapestry loom of a good size and I have access to all the raw materials I can ever desire (on the fleece/wool front at least =-)
So this is where it started when the tapestry really began to take form, shape and shade of colour.
Item #1 the tapestry loom was warped and ready to go.
Item #2 in on this list was 1 black sheep

Well, perhaps the fleece for the back ground was from this ewe, perhaps from one of the many other black young sheep I have or have had on my farm. This is what it looks like when the sheep has been sheared and the fleece has been washed, part of the process I take the fibres through before I can spin it all up.

Then of course there is carding the fleece and hours of spinning on one of my spinning wheels, a very enjoyable and immensely gratifying part of the process. In the end I have beautiful skeins of wool, which I can use for weaving the final expression of my thoughts.

Sometimes I make a small sampler so I can better decide where I want to go with this next piece

Although making a sampler does not mean that the finished piece will look exactly like my first attempt, it is more about the idea and the feeling for the shapes and then .... one never really knows where this will go - I always try very hard to make good decisions from the start, but the weaving and the colours and the shapes always choose their own way as the piece gets going.

When weaving a tapestry, it is almost like playing with Lego - if you want to build a wall for a house or a bridge or anything you have to work steadily from the bottom up, exactly the way it is with tapestry weaving.

Start at the bottom and go up, up, up - 'building' the back ground, the image, the shapes, in the end it all comes off the loom and is most usually a happy surprise.

For a while I had thought a lot about acorns, their shape, size and colour and I decided that the Large/small - experiments with scale was a perfect place to give it a go. Also as I was visualizing acorns I thought about the story about Chicken Little who had an acorn fall on her head and she thought the sky was falling and the world was coming to an end. Her world didn't collapse, and probably ours won't either just now, but how many acorns would it take for us to wake up and at least pay a little attention to what is going on around us, human to human, human to environment, environment into food ..... the list goes on - however, my stash of words have been used up for today so thank you for reading this - and I hope you enjoy the photos and the story of the process of a tapestry coming into being.


  1. I enjoyed your description of the process of creating a tapestry. The challenge is to place a dollar value on a piece that you have literally nurtured from sheep to finished tapestry. How can you be appropriately, never mind adequately, paid for all the skills, creativity and time that went into the work? ~ Elly

  2. Thank you, Elly
    I don't know how to do that either, but I just aim and on this piece I have put $2300 - and some where hopefully someone acknowledges the whole package of work and expression which was involved in creating this piece.
    Thanks for bringing it up though, I had not thought about the dollar value as I wrote the piece, perhaps this is another post for another day - value -