Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thank You Sheila Hicks

Over the many years I have been tapestry weaving, I have often been surprised by those people that tell me they too used to weave tapestry. People I hadn't expected in the fibre art circles I mingle with. Fibre artists who I greatly admire and who have journeyed far from the rigid structures that define the traditional tapestry technique. Recently I had the great privilege of visiting the highly esteemed fibre artist, Susan Warner Keene, at her Toronto Studio in Parkdale. I was taken aback when Susan showed me her own tapestry weaving forays from many years ago and I just loved it. She also showed me this book (above) on Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor, and I it completely enchanted me. She told me that Kai Chan, another one of my favorite fibre artists who has an exhibition at the David Kaye gallery opening  this Saturday, studied with Sheila Hicks in Paris in the 1960s. 

What I love about this book is its lack of pretense, simplicity and authenticity. The pages of the book themselves have an artisinal quality, and the front of the book is pristine with an embossed white on white grid like structure, referencing weaving.  Freedom of constraints and expectations emanates in each work. One never gets the sense that she was ever concerned with what anyone else thought about her creations nor that she was trying to impress anyone. 

Each work is a for me a meditation and captures the now, the moment she occupied at the time. They are imbued with a sense of humility in that they make evident that they are very much handmade and does not try to achieve technical excellence, exploring instead  new possibilities and new ways of thinking about textiles and tapestry.  I find it refreshing even after 50 years since she has created many of these pieces. It is a documentation of the pursuit of  a creative path. What is ground breaking is that she is one of the first people to take fibre art in this direction, to not be concerned with textile as practical and useful, to see the beauty in the textiles and fibres themselves and to use them as a painter uses paint and brushes,  and a sculptor their respective tools, that is to say, to see textiles as implements of making art. There are also a number of essays written by other people which are very interesting but more academic. From one of these essays I learned how much Plato esteemed weavers which I have mentioned at other times. 

Rachel Miller

Rachel Miller
Professor/ Studio Head, Textiles Department
Crafts and Design
Faculty of Animation, Arts and Design
Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning
(905) 845-9430 X:2379


Left to right: Joe Lewis, Rachel Miller, Melanie Siegel, Line Dufour, Rikki Blitt. 
A few weeks ago I was on a jury to look at submissions for the Edge of the Forest exhibition, organized by the Surface Design Association (Canada). The main organizers were Melanie Siegel, Michelle Zikowitz and Rikki Blitt. The three jurors were Joe Lewis, Rachel Miller and myself. Rachel is a professor and studio head of the the textiles department at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.In Septmeber she went to see the Fate, Destiny and Self Determination exhibition at Craft Ontario and wove the shape above. 

The Art is the Cloth
Walton Gallery
George School
1690 Newtown Langhorne Road
Newtown, PA 18940
December 4, 2014 to February 9, 2015
Gallery hours:
Monday—Thursday, 9:00 a.m. —6:30 p.m.
Friday, 9:00 a.m. —4:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 1:00—5:00 p.m.
Gallery Talk and Artist Reception:
Thursday, December 4, 3:00—5:00 p.m.
Gallery talk begins at 3:00 p.m. and will be immediately followed by the artist reception.

American Tapestry Biennial 11
Call for Entry

ATA invites tapestry artists from around the world to submit works to American Tapestry Biennial 11.  Entry to ATB 11 is open to all tapestry artists who design and weave their own tapestries (defined as "hand-woven, weft-faced fabric with discontinuous wefts"), either individually or collaboratively (all assistants shall be named). Large scale works are welcome. Multimedia work will be considered as long as the primary medium is tapestry.  Entries must be one-of-a-kind and have been completed after January 2012.  Entries may not have been shown previously in any ATA exhibition, including the Unjuried Small Format show.  Artists may submit up to three pieces, but a maximum of one piece per artist will be accepted.
ATB10: Don Burns, "Autumn" 67" x 38," wool, linen, silk, cotton. Photo: Don Burns


South Bend Museum of Art
July 2 - September 25, 2016
University of Texas
Dates to be announced
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles
March 1 - June 18, 2017 
Click here for the Online Entry Form
or download an entry form for mailing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Giving and Receiving

As American Thanksgiving approaches, and Christmas not far off, one's thoughts turn once again to thankfulness for what we have, and to the acts of giving and receiving, of generosity of spirit and in action.  This are imporant elements of building connection to others, of deepening bonds, of building community. These are moments to celebrate the good things of life, love and relationships. With that in mind, the international tapestry project Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination continues to grow as it receives more shapes and  people  continue to give  to it. The project has received 230 shapes from 160 participants from 18 countries. The project continues to accept woven shapes of any material within certain parameters. If you would like to participate in this project contact Line Dufour at and I will send you more information. Exhibitions are confirmed for the installation for 2015 and other venues are under negotiation. All participants names are included as part of the exhibit. 
Catherine Constantin France

Pamela Anne McNeil, Richmond Hill Ontario

Marylis Costevec, France

Marylis Costevec, France

Jamileh Emdadian wove this tapestry. She didn't use a cartoon and wove it intuitively. 
Barbara Heller won first place prize at the HGA (Handweavers Guild of America) juried show, entitled Small Expressions,  juried by Gerhardt Knoedel, a very successful and well respected textile designer. The exhibition was held at the Fuller Craft Museum in Massachusetts.
Michael Rohde won the HGA award for his tapestry, Meridian. 

Linda Needles senT this along - a tapestry commission in Scotland 

Order a catalog of the tapestries included in the touring US exhibition Art of the Cloth, in which one of my tapestries was selected. The beautiful catalog for The Art is the Cloth is 48 pages. It
includes an image of every piece of every participant in the exhibit, in
color. Now available from WEBS, the yarn store ( Just fill in *The
Art is the Cloth* in the search box at the top of their opening page--and
you will be whisked away to the right location to place your order.

Though it may be too late to see this movie at this location, keep an eye out for it. Keepers of the Loom, about Estonian weavers. You may be able to order it on their website. Thanks to Barbara Aikman who sent this along.
Location: Tartu College, 310 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1W4 Date: Saturday November 15, 2014 Bilingual: 4:00 pm (Estonian/English) English: 7:00pm (Voice-over)
Tickets: $10.00 each and available at the door or for purchase online at

The international tapestry installation, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination will be exhibited in Montreal at Trames gallery, situated in the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles.
Opening reception: January 31, 2015
Exhibition dates January 31 - February 27 2015.
More details to follow.

Mary Cost is showing Fractured Light, her newest work, at The Contemporary Tapestry Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
November 9th - December 6th
Gallery hours: Thursday - Saturday, 12:00 - 4:00 pm  
The Contemporary Tapestry Gallery
835 West San Mateo Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
(505) 231-5904
Contact: LaDonna Mayer:

A 4 day Tapestry weaving workshop with Mary Zicafoose: New Stories: Tapestry and Ikat Techniques, March 4-7 2015, Omaha Nebraska.  Click on this link to see Mary's website: To register and learn more go here:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Inspired Tapestry Weaving

Cynthia Miller, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
I first met Cynthia when I attended my first (and sadly my only) Convergence when it was held in New Mexico. We formed a quick bond. Even then, what impressed me most was her gentleness and her high regard and knowledge of Native American cultures. She writes:
 "Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this project. I am new to tapestry, and find the design process as challenging as the execution. I settled on blue as it represents water. I am fortunate to live in a city with beautiful lakes, ponds and rivers. That is where I found my inspiration for this piece." 

Isabel Magin, Netherlands
 Isabel Magin submitted 5 shapes for the Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination installation bringing the total number to 230 and 156 people from 19 countries.

She writes: A very good friend of mine, a weaver, Jennifer Bennett, informed me last August of your international tapestry project and I have since been following it on Facebook. 
Isabel Magin, Netherlands
She invited me to participate in your project and as I like the idea very much, I created a few shapes, which include ideas taken from some of my designs. 
Isabel Magin, Netherlands
I like your idea of this international project in which you invite others to join in and to use the social media to connect. It is a great way to find out more about weaving and other artists [doing weaving]. Your tapestries are so cheerful, what a wonderful splash of colours in this troubled world. 
Isabel Magin, Netherlands
I am Belgian and have lived in Scotland and Norway. I an now settled in the Netherlands. I graduated from design and tapestry at Edinburgh Art College where I met Jennifer Bennett. 
Isabel Magin, Netherlands
Tapestry has never turned into a full time occupation but it has stayed an important part of my life and I am still enjoying weaving and giving or selling some of my works but on a small scale. Congratulations for your recent exhibition. Just amazing and I wish you all the best with it. 

Jennifer Tweedie  taught herself tapestry weaving with youtube videos. Here is her first attempt. Presently Jennifer is learning how to weave fabric.

Anna Kocherovsky, Michigan USA handwoven tapestry

Anna Kocherovsky, Michigan USA handwoven tapestry

Kazumi Shinomiya, Japan 
tapestry, doubleweave and coiling
Kazumi Shinomiya, Japan 
detail of above

You can see these woven art works at the World of Threads