Monday, May 3, 2010

Tapestry ... ancient skills newly interpreted.

Tapestry weaving is an ancient art and samples of Greek tapestry have been found preserved by the desert climate of northwestern China dating from the 3rd Century B.C.  My daughter lived in the city of Tournai, Belgium ( as an exchange student): famous as a center of tapestry weaving in the Middle Ages. Many ancient cultures used woven tapestries as shrouds in which to bury their dead.
Yesterday I watched 9 months of intensive work, of tapestry weaving, by my friend Cecilia end up in a pile on the floor!  It was an experience unlike any I have previously had.   It was the cutting down of a tapestry she has been weaving for the past nine months in her home studio. Commissioned by the Washington State Arts Commission, this work is to hang in the school of a small community in Eastern Washington, called Moxee - just east of Yakima.  Among her many  beautiful creations Cecilia recently worked for two years, with a small group of weavers, on a set of tapestries being made for Stirling Castle in Scotland.  The Scottish tapestries are based on the famed Unicorn Tapestries and are amazing medieval images.
No medieval images in this tapestry: the images are Cecilia's interpretation of the countryside of this small town in the middle of a huge hops growing area: it is spectacular. The images below are of the process of cutting it down ... and if I can get Blogger to place the photos where I want them they will show Cecilia's water color painting of her suggestions for the art work (immediately accepted without any changes!), the tapestry on the loom when we all arrived, the actual cutting down, the tapestry laying on the driveway of Cecilia's home, tying off the ends and Cecilia in front of the tapestry answering questions.  And if I can't manage to place this many images successfully, I'm sure you will work it out - which is which!

The finishing processes will take about a month and in early June the town of Moxee will have this amazing creation hanging in the school there.  What a special treat to be included in this unique experience.  Thanks for including us Cecilia.

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