Thursday, November 26, 2015

Exploring New Materials and Processes

A few weekends ago , I took an electronics course at interAccess. The instructor was a very good speaker and explained the theories and the principles of electronics very eloquently, however, my practical knowledge was not greatly expanded and hoping that other experiences will fill that deficit.  I am learning more about this area because of my recent forays into incorporating assorted materials, technologies and new media into woven textiles. It has been very satisfying for my creativity and I am finding this path enchanting. I am collaborating with the new media artist, Erin Lewis.
I just finished weaving the a large fiber optic panel. Erin is helping in working on the finishing at Toronto Weaving School. Next, we'll be 'connecting' it for illumination. You will be hearing more about our ventures together.

Earlier this month, I was  thrilled to be invited by the Textile Department Head, Rachel Miller,   as a guest instructor at Sheridan College, to share my body of work, and to teach students how to design for weaving.

The jacquard woven piece, Alicia, was accepted into an exhibition, Fiber Art VII, held at the Sebastopol Center for Art, in California. I call this series my Shroud series, and each cloth depicts the face of young girl killed by sexual predators. If you want to read more about the project go to the previous blog page:

The international tapestry installation, Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination, co-created by 193 people from 20 countries, and composed of 285 submissions, will be exhibited in Vancourver, British Columbia in March 2016. It is not too late to make a contribution. If you are interested, contact me at

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Recently, my jacquard woven piece entitled "Alicia" was accepted into  Fiber Arts VII, to be held at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts in California. It will be exhibited from October 22 - November 28, 2015. The opening reception is Friday, October 23 between 6-7:30 pm. 

"Alicia" is part of my Re-Collection series that I have been working on. Each piece woven is a shroud for a young girl or young woman, killed by a sexual predator. Each shroud is jacquard woven and I am looking for ongoing funding to support this project. It is the first time this shroud is being exhibited, and it means a lot to me that it is making its maiden voyage out into the world, to be seen, and to not be forgotten. 

"The pattern of the cloth dissolves the clearness of the features of the face, apparition like and haunting.   In close proximity to the shroud, it appears only to be a patterned textile. As one moves further away the image comes into focus.  This disintegration alludes to how memory works - sometimes clear, sometimes vague and blurry. As memory fades, it leaves one with an imperfect recollection of the event or person. Memory is described as “the process in which information is encoded, stored and retrieved”.  Similarly in jacquard weaving, information is encoded and stored in the punched cards and software and then retrieved as the treadle is pushed and released. The image also alludes to patterning found in textiles,  created by the circular clusters of dark and light points which form patterns of negative and positive space, associating it to the pattern of these societal behaviors." 

Videos that you might find interesting: 
Rebecca Mezoff and Barb Brophy talking about James Koehler:
Weaving as Meditation:
Distinct Style:

Debbie Harris let us know about a commemorative tapestry for John Lennon.

Moonrain Centre

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination: an international tapestry installation

Ramses Wissa Wassef tapestries on display in Oakville, Ontario

Textile Art exhibitions in Italy

Carlos Coelho recently emailed me expressing his desire to learn tapestry. In some email exchanges he mentioned that he was from Brazil and was inspired by tapestry weavers in his home country. These were some of the names he mentioned:
1- Genaro de Carvalho
2- Kennedy Bahia
3- Jacques Douchez (French-Brazilian)
4- Burle-Marx
You can find many works searching for their names on Google Images and visiting the website of the "Passado Composto" gallery in São Paulo:
Also, sometimes instead of searching for "tapestry", you can also search for its equivalent word in portuguese "tapeçaria" to improve your results in websites not translated to English.
These are the artists that sparked my interest in tapestry and I would like to learn with you how to design similar tapestries.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Fate, Destiny and Self Determination at Regis Universtiy, Denver, Colorado

Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/le Sort, le Destin et l'Auto-determination: an international tapestry installation exhibited at the Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Dayton Memorial Library, Regis Universtiy, Denver Colorado. August 2015. All of these pictures document this exhibition as well as the reception. 

Some of the shapes contributed to FD&SD. 

Rebecca Mezoff's tapestry, Emergence 1, woven under the guidance of James Koehler. 

Tapestries by Aneesha Parrone, and shapes contributed by FD&SD participants. Recognize yours?

On the right, a tapestry by David Johnson, along with more shapes contributed to the FD&SD installation. More information about David and his tapestry ventures 


Left to right: Aneesha Parrone (co-curator) and me (Line Dufour). 
Aneesha curated all the other tapestries as part of the FD&SD platform. 

Left to right: Sarah Swett, Line Dufour and Alex (Susan) Marriott. 
Here is a blog post by Sarah Swett on the weekend of the opening which coincided with a workshop she was giving and in which I participated: To see more of Sarah's work go to her website at

Left to right: Rebecca Mezoff, Sarah Swett, Line Dufour and Debbie Harris

Summer Larson and Victoria Stone

Foreground left to right: Barb Brophy, Margaret Sunday and husband, Pete. 
Background left to right: Sarah Swett, Line Dufour, Mary Colton and Rebecca Mezoff

Cheryl Nachtrieb (owner of The Recycled Lamb, Golden, Colorado) and Sarah Swett reading over the names of all the contributors. 

Shapes by Melanie Siegal, Emoke, and Erin Lewis. Tapestry by Celine Grigore

Margaret Sunday standing in front of her tapestry. Below the concepts behind it. 

Rebecca Mezoff in front of her tapestry, Emergence 1. To see more of her work go to her website where you can also sign up for her blog and newsletter. Rebecca teaches online tapestry weaving classes as well as travels to give tapestry workshops. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Thrill for a Lifetime

“Over, under, over under....a thrill for a lifetime.” 
(Sarah Swett)
Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/ le Sort, le Destin et l'Auto-Determination
Dayton Memorial Library, Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery, Regis University, 3333 Regis Blvd, Denver, Colorado 

I’ve just returned from Golden, Colorado from setting up the exhibition, Fate, Destiny and Self Determination: an International tapestry installation at the Doyle and Margaret Hartman Gallery situated at Regis University. Aneesha Parrone invited me to bring the installation to this venue, and assisted and co-curated the exhibition. While this was a plan we had made at least a year ago, about 2 months prior to its confirmed date, I discovered that Sarah Swett was to give a tapestry workshop at The Recycled Lamb, also situated in Golden.  I had already tried to lure Sarah to give a workshop through the Toronto Weaving School but she had declined, as she is apprehensive about travelling. I recognized the rare opportunity it was to be under her tutelage and that one could not be sure if such an opportunity would arise again, so I signed up for it. It seemed so serendipitous that she would be there while I was setting up the exhibition! Debbie Harris, a friend  who has been taking my weaving classes for many years, also joined me and off we went for our incredible weaving adventure!

As a teacher, Sarah is animated, dynamic, effusive and vibrant and this comes through in her tapestries. Throughout the tapestry workshop, Sarah talked about how and from whom she acquired her weaving techniques and practices. She constantly referred to the several instructors she has had: Archie Brennan, Susan Martin Maffei,  Mary Lane, Jean Pierre Larochette and Yael Lurie. From these experiences, and from relentless tapestry weaving, Sarah distilled her own tapestry weaving techniques and approaches, based on what worked best for her.  We all benefitted not only from Sarah’s teaching, but also that of all the other teachers she has studied with.

Waves of quiet, then waves of animated conversation between participants and with Sarah ebbed and flowed throughout the four days. She gave students constant feedback and support and addressed all the topics we presented her with. Her self-awareness, mindfulness and responsiveness created a stimulating environment in which to practice the techniques she discussed and encouraged us to undertake.

Many things struck me about Sarah’s approach to tapestry weaving. Sarah works spontaneously almost all the time, continuously making intuitive decisions as she weaves her tapestries. She works from a black and white drawing the size of her tapestry, and the colour choices only reveal themselves as she weaves. Her weaving of weft is not formulaic, nor does she become complacent by relying upon a prescribed image where all is predetermined at the outset. She emphasizes that her weaving practice is about being in the moment, and along with that, the struggles, or what she calls her ‘microdramas’ play out as she weaves -  an assortment of tensions created by constant decision making, and in this way, remains connected to her inspiration which in turn, makes her tapestries inspiring. Her main message to aspiring tapestry weavers is to “trust your intuition”.
Rebecca Mezoff
As though tapestry weaving is not already a lengthy and time consuming process, Swett also spins the bulk of her yarn, both warp and weft, and in addition dyes them with natural dyes. Her passion for tapestry weaving and the yarn she spins is intense and unabating. What is also clear is that Swett has given herself with abandon to her spinning and tapestry weaving.

What makes Sarah's work especially distinctive is her fertile imagination which forms her own aesthetic, and brings to that her own authentic and genuine self, undisguised and searingly honest. Her joy emanates from all she creates. There are distinguishing elements that are repeated in Sarah’s tapestries – little coloured boxes that often form frames around the tapestries and sometimes find their way into the tapestry’s image. Slits are ubiquitous, as well as her sense of humour.

With each series, Sarah establishes a set of parameters that will present new technical challenges. Looking at the several series that she has created ( on her blog ), you will be able to observe what some of her challenges have been. Her blog also documents her process and progress. Like herself, it is delightful, fun, witty and intelligent.

I enjoyed weaving tapestry with other tapestry weavers who respected  tapestry as much as I did. It was a pleasure getting to know them, one of which I had already been acquainted with on the internet -  Rebecca Mezoff, herself an accomplished tapestry weaver who studied with James Koehler. This was my first time weaving tapestry with other tapestry weavers, and it was an energizing  and stimulating experience. It has left me raring to get going on my next series, and better able to technically address the issues that will arise while I weave them.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Carmen Vicente

The processes of tapestry weaving can often be repetitious, especially the weaving. This repetition resembles a ritualistic practice imparting  a certain meditative quality to it. Repetition is an important element in understanding and describing a work of art. 

Recently a Picasso sold at auction for a record price - about $182 million. As you know, Picasso developed  a distinctive and recognizable style, as did many well known artists of this period like Monet, Turner, and in Canada, A Y Jackson, and the Group of Seven. These are artists that the general public are familiar with.
Carmen Vincente

In the tapestry world there are tapestry artists whose work I recognize instantly: Barbara Heller, Jane Kidd, Marcel Marois, Sarah Swett, Rebecca Mezoff, Kathe Todd Hooker , Archie Brennan, and Thoma Ewen. What distinguishes each artist? What makes their work have impact? To me what comes through is a clear sense of who one is, and this shapes the aesthetic and practice that defines them. In each of their tapestries, they are telling you something of who they are, something very personal.   Personal values, perceptions and points of view are conveyed, as well as consistent aesthetic and colour choices, which reveals to the viewer a pattern in the persons work, practice and visual representations. These repeated elements  create a coherent and unified body of work, and come to define the artist's style.
Kashmir weaving, Peter Harris

TEx@ATA: Over the Sea, Under the Sky:
Contemporary Danish Tapestry
Curated by Ulrikka Mokdad
The Journey of the Viking Ship I 
Marianne Poulsen, 2000, haute-lisse, cotton warp, wool, linen, silk, metal threads, 200 x 250 cm, (photo by Jan Djenner)

 Visit our latest Tex@ATA online exhibition!
 'Over the Sea, Under the Sky' features works by contemporary Danish weavers produced during the last 15 year. The exhibition is curated by Ulrikka Mokdad, weaver and art historian. "It has been my intention to curate an exhibition of tapestries that relate to the Nordic landscape and seascape and to their connected history and myths. The artists represented here are united by their respect for the integrity of weaving, but there the resemblance ends. Some of them reflect their subject matter in potent realism, others let the woven surface blossom in vibrant natural lyricism and others compress emotional experiences into subtle symbols."

Friday, April 17, 2015

Contemporary Practice Nourished by Traditions

Monique Hakkennes, Netherlands
Monique submitted these two small (above and below) tapestries as part of her OHS Tapestry Unit, to obtain her Master Weaver Certification through the Ontario Handweavers and Spinners.

Evidence exists that indicate tapestries were being woven as early as 6000 BC in the Persian Empire. Around 5000 BC in South America,  tapestries were also being created, and certainly by 3000 BC,  Egyptian burial sights  such as in the tomb chambers of Beni-Hassan show tapestry weaving activity based on drawings and inscriptions  on walls of linen being spun and  the loom being prepared. 

There are accounts in the Old Testament of the Bible that the Hebrews also wove tapestries. The Old Testament talks about 3 kinds of weavers; the weavers of plain weaves, the weavers of colour, and the ‘art’ weavers. Eventually, the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Hebrews, Phoenicians and Greeks came under the domination of Imperial Rome. The Latin word for tapestry is derived from Greek and so it has been assumed that the Greeks taught the Romans how to weave tapestries. Stories in  Greek mythology illustrate also that tapestry weaving existed. The most comprehensive description of ancient tapestry is given around 43 BC by the poet Ovid in his Metamorphosis in which he describes the battle between Arachne and the goddess Minerva. From the earliest onset of the practice of tapestry weaving, tapestries were designed and woven by weavers and this was a standard practice until the start of the Renaissance, about 1400s onwards, where it became common for an artist to design the painting (cartoon or cartouche) to be translated into tapestry. It is not until the twentieth century that the weaver and the artist are the same person creating the tapestry once again. 
Janet Quilty, Victoria, Australia
Dear Line,
....Shortly after you sent me the shapes to weave, I heard that my husband’s cousin had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I have dedicated the weaving to her. Felicity Munn, from Montreal, Canada, has just lost her battle with cancer. She died a few days ago. I remember her as a warm, lively, slightly irreverent, funny and caring person. Flis’s initials, F M, have been woven into the pieces.
I do not have a website or blog.
Historically, the role of tapestry changes over the course of time, but for many centuries, the role of the great tapestries of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, were to tell a story, such as the Apocalypse tapestries in AngersFrance, or the grand victories of some great leader (usually royalty). The images also illustrated stories from mythology, and from the Bible.  In addition to illustrating the great political events, achievements and morality stories, they served as insulation for cold castle walls. The word tapestry in French is ‘tapisserie’, which is the word used today for wall paper! Tapestry became so prominent in its appeal that in France the concept of factory emerges to ‘manufacture’ tapestries to keep up with demands. So why exactly did tapestry’s popularity wane over time? With technical developments in pigments (for painting), painting superseded tapestry as pictorial ornament because of it being of lesser cost, and took less time.
Ruth McMullen , UK
When tapestries first started being made, the weaver was also the artist/designer. Many examples of tapestry found from between the earliest examples (2000 to 3000 BC) to before the Renaissance continued this practice. During the Renaissance Art Period, professionally trained artists were brought in to create the cartoons for the huge tapestries of the period. The weaver served only in the technical execution of the tapestry. Presently, both traditions continue. The latter being more prevalent in Europe and Australia. 

Ruth McMullen , UK
One place that tapestry still has a thriving practice is in the UK. There is West Dean in Chichester England, and you can study tapestry intensively as a summer short course and/or as part of your university studies. The have a tapestry studio affiliated with it which you can arrange to visit.

Ruth McMullen , UK
Another thriving tapestry institution is Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. "Established in 1912 by the 4th Marquess of Bute, Dovecot Studios’ founding weavers came from William Morris’ Merton Abbey Workshops in Wimbledon, London. The Studios were incorporated in to The Edinburgh Tapestry Company in 1946 although they also continued to be known as Dovecot. It is only a short journey back to those founding weavers who, with a succession of artistic designers, influenced the world of tapestry throughout the 20th Century." There are many more countries where tapestry thrives, and we'll get around to that in the upcoming blogs. 

Jan de Meyer, Belgium. 
Our most recent submission to the Fate, Destiny and Self Determination / le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination tapestry installation is from Jan de Meyer who writes: 
Dear Line, Please find ...three pieces I have woven for your international tapestry project. I chose to weave with plastic bags I cut into small ribbons. The bags I used are the one you get for free in the supermarket over her to put fruits and vegetables away you want to buy. I thought that fruit, vegetables and plastic are a disturbing comination. I consider the fact that plastic litters our planet in a huge way (specifically the oceans) and tried to put the SOS morse code into the weft (hard to see, I confess.) The large piece in the right hand corner is from this series. Then I changed and cut white tyvek into even smaller ribbons and started again. This endup up in what now number 2 and 3. The SOS is still hidden in the weft (very hidden!). It all looks pretty white as I saw no white pieces in the pictures of the show at Galerie Trames at the Centre Conemporain Textiles de Montreal and I wanted to add something different. I had a lot of fun in doing the pieces and Maria (herself a very distinguished professional tapestry weaver) was a great help for the finishing touch in each of them, so this is a bit of a joined venture. I hope my small contribution will be useful for your wonderful artistic endeavour." 
If you would like to see how this project has evolved go to its Facebook page: 

The installation continues to accept contributions. Your name will be included in upcoming exhibitions of the installation. The next exhibit is in Denver, Colorado at Regis University, August 1-31 2015. Please contact me if you would like to be a part of it, at

Below is an explanation of the project for those who do not know about it:
Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination/Le Sort, Destin and l’Auto-determination is a tapestry installation generously funded by the Ontario Arts Council and co-created by people all over the world. Composed of three sections, it was designed and managed by Line Dufour, who wove the first panel  measuring 5’ x 3’ and exemplifies the  contemporary practice of tapestry weaving, where artist and weaver are one and the same. The second panel, measuring 5’ x 18” was woven by visiting participants ranging from the inexperienced and amateur to the professional. This referenced traditional tapestry  conventions in that many weavers worked on the tapestry at the same time or at various stages and neither did they  create the tapestry designs. I documented those who wove this section both in pictures and video and as the project progressed, I kept participants updated via Facebook and emails. This audio visual component is exhibited with the tapestry installation.

The final section is composed of irregular shapes positioned with pins at varying heights, between the 2 main panels, floating freely in space, as though the tapestry is pulling apart or coming together.  As each shape arrives, Dufour photographs/documents it, posts it to her Tapestry blog, as well to as to the Facebook page for the project She also includes information about the participants such as their website if they have one, and other comments they have made about the project or about their work. Furthermore, the entire project has been documented on its Facebook page. Thus far, 230 completed shapes have been received from 18 countries, and a total of about 160 people have participated in the entire project thus far. The installation continues to expand and build community as it accepts woven shapes on an ongoing basis and will do so indefinitely. Part of the exhibition is the list of all participant names shown below.

Each time Fate, Destiny and Self-Determination is installed the shapes are never placed in the same positions, making it highly interactive and spontaneous. This invites the curator to be part of its creation. Conversely, the curator could also invite the gallery guest to position shapes on the wall between the two panels, having them re-create the installation.  

The first exhibition of the project was at Craft Ontario in Toronto, Ontario Canada in September 2014, followed by one  is in Montreal at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles in January 2015. After Denver, Colorado in August 2015, another exhibtion has been confirmed for the Craft Council of British Columbia in March 2016. Others are being organized internationally.

Craft Ontario is asking emerging fibre artists/craftspeople to submit their work for an upcoming exhibition. Get your tapestries and wall hangings out there! (Juried). Deadline is May 24 2015.

The American Tapestry Alliance has a scholarship opportunity for studying tapestry:

Are you interested in talking a workshop with one of these tapestry artists? Please google them to find out more about them and let me know at
Sarah Swett
Kathe Todd Hooker

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Fate, Destiny and Self Determination/le sort, le destin et l'auto-determination at Trames Gallerie, Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles, January 2015

Agata Zielinska-Glowacka, Poland

Recently I was listening to a CBC Ideas podcast entitled Eureka! It examined the processes by which we have that flash of insight, that AHA moment.....essentially what we think of as creativity. Though many of the stories they used to describe this phenomena were based on science, the same processes occur when we are problem solving in our every day life, and our creative endeavours. I thought Agata's shape above, was a good example of intuition.....the reconfinguring of experience, knowledge and insight. 

Sarah Swett, Idaho USA

The Fate, Destiny and Self Determination tapestry installation continues to receive submissions and continues to do so on an ongoing basis, always expanding. It's not too late to participate. The next exhbition is will be in Denver Colorado August 2015, at Regis University. Another exhbition is confirmed for the Craft Council of British Columbia for March-April 2016. Others are also being planned and discussed. Contact to participate. 

Kernel Mustard Early Learning Academy
Niki Singh led her young students to create this woven wallhing.
A good example of working intuitively....children are such great reminders to reconnect with this powerful way of knowing our world and life. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

13th Century Walls in Poland contain a Weaver's Haven

Situated in the “Old Art’s District” of downtown Wroclaw, Poland, is a treasure of an art gallery called “Galeria Tkacka ‘Na Jatkach’” (Gallery of weaving "Na Jatkach"). The gallery is one of the hidden gems of cultural attractions in Wroclaw, and it is burrowed within a historic 13th century alleyway constructed on medieval foundations. Some elements from the 13th century are still visible on the south side of the Stare Jatki street. Today this attractive alleyway is home to several artists’ galleries and studios; it is hard to imagine that in past times it was a meat market, full of wooden stalls stuffed with butchered animals.

Gallery "Na Jatkach" is classified as the only gallery in Poland and possibly in Europe that is promoting primarily the art of weaving.  It is a place where international artists meet and exhibit their tapestries and woven art.   This gallery was established in 1978 together with the weaver's group called "10 x TAK" (“10 x YES”).  At the newly founded gallery, the weaver’s group boasted a permanent place to exhibit and show the talent of its members. Polish weaver Ewa Poradowska - Werszler was the initiator of 10 X TAK and has been an incredible advocate for keeping tapestry weaving alive.

Ewa Poradowska - Werszler in her gallery

Today, forty years after founding Galeria Tkacka ‘Na Jatkach’, she remains the owner of the gallery, and she continues to promote weaving and fiber art with all her heart. Ewa, an internationally recognised fiber art artist and recipient of many art awards, is a dedicated, energetic coordinator and curator of numerous art exhibits and international tapestry symposiums. 
Ewa Poradowska-Werszel is also a professor in the Art Department at the University of Poznan and lecturer at universities of Wroclaw and Kalisz. She is also regularly providing courses and workshops of weaving in the Galeria Tkacka ‘Na Jatkach’.

Inside gallery exhibit - tapestries of Bartosz Burgielski

The year-round fibre art shows presented in the gallery are truly a feast for the soul, but besides the visual wonders, visitors may purchase beautiful yarn and weaving supplies, or even little fiber art souvenirs for a very affordable price.

more info:

Article and Photo Credits: Krystyna Sadej 2014

I am organizing a group to take a workshop with Sarah Swett whose work you can see on the American Tapestry Alliance website. This probably won't occur until 2016. If you are interested please contact me at

If you didn't get a chance to see Fate, Destiny and Self Determination tapestry installation at the Montreal Centre for Contemporary Textiles below are the links. Previous ones did not work. 

Set Up


Susan Martin Maffei
March 5th to March 26th
Tapestries by Susan Martin Maffei
At the Intimate Multi-Cultural Gallery at
The International House of Rhode Island
8 Stimson Avenue
Providence RI
Opening reception March 5th from 5:30 to 7PM
contact information:
tel#: 401-421-7181
hours: Monday to Friday 10 to 4.


Erin Lewis will be giving a talk on Fibre Optics in weaving and her work at the Burlington Weavers and Spinners. Monday Mar 2 2015 7pm-10.

Susan Middleton, tapestry weaver, will be giving a talk/presentation on her work at the Toronto Weavers and Spinners at Riverdale Park 7:30 pm. 

I (Line Dufour) will be giving a talk on the direction of my work at the Etobicoke Guild of Weavers and Spinners at Nielson Park April 7 2015 at 7pm.