Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mille Fleurs Minus 978

Once we were settled in the house in Switzerland, we looked around for some hand tools, and found a hardware store, then bought a nice piece of wood. Kim spent a few hours making me a very simple frame loom, 24” x 15”, just the size I wanted to weave a 9x9” tapestry for the upcoming “Enchanted Pathways” small format unjuried exhibition.

Frame Loom

The nice thing about using a kitchen fork to beat in the weft is that you can always find one. The forks in this house are nice and heavy with good sharp tines.

Inspired by the Unicorn tapestries at Stirling Castle, I decided to weave a mini-Mille Fleurs tapestry. As it happens, there was a brochure at the house about the Alpine Wildflower Garden at Schynege Platte, so I used it as a reference for my design.

Unfortunately the gardens had closed the week before, so many of these are flowers I have not seen in real life, only in photos. Milles Fleurs Minus 978 detail

Note to self: next time I make a cartoon for a representational tapestry, I should make it WEAVABLE! I am used to taking an old drawing or painting and just weaving it however I can.

For these wildflowers, some were just not possible to weave the way I’d drawn them, on the number of warps I had (9 per inch). So I ended up inventing, and using a lot of trial and error and lots of unweaving (or Penelope-ing as we tapestrists call it). The Silver Thistle was the hardest because the petals radiate all the way around the center.

I used one strand of the Weaving Southwest yarn, with Paternayan, Appleton, and Ymmy yarn (my Irish friend Edith sent me some as a gift). I like how hairy the WS yarn is, and slightly uneven too, like handspun.

The exhibit will open next summer in New Mexico, and I prefer to let people see it for the first time in the exhibit. So I am only showing a detail here, not the whole piece.

Enchanted Pathways, William and Joseph Gallery, Santa Fe, NM, July 17 - 29, 2010.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Burgundian Booty - NOT

Before coming to Switerland I asked around, but nobody mentioned tapestries in Bern, the Swiss capital. At the British Tapestry Group conference, I first heard about the Burgundian Booty in a  lecture by Dina Ward. 

These tapestries were left behind by Charles the Bold (also known at Charles the Rash), last Duke of Burgundy, along with a heap of other valuables when he fled for his life, after his defeat by the Swiss in Grandson in 1476. Just before the battle, Charles had ordered the execution of 412 Swiss men, and when the victorious army came upon the scene, this atrocity united them as never before. They went on to annihilate his army, one of the most feared in Europe, 4 months later in the Battle of Murten. Bern Historical Museum

The Burgundian Booty is still displayed at various museums in Switzerland. 

The two places I had been advised to visit in Switzerland were the Basel Historical Museum, where the main tapestry gallery turned out to be closed due to renovations, and the Abegg Foundation, which is closed completely for renovation. Wouldn’t you know, when I arrived at the Bern Historical Museum, expecting to see the Burgundian Booty, I found out that this exhibit was also closed!  In this case, it’s not because of renovation, but because some of the tapestries are on loan, some at the Getty in LA, and the oldest known Mille Fleurs on loan in Bruges and Vienna for an exhibit on Charles the Bold, he who lost them in battle. (For the Mille Fleurs, click on the link then scroll down the page)Vinzenz sharp detail

With typical Swiss understatement the receptionist said, “there is one tapestry downstairs...."

Well, that one tapestry turned out to be a series of 4, each about 12 feet long, "Leben und Tod des heiligen Vinzenz." 1515.  (The Life and Death of Saint Vincent).

These are spectacular! They are hung so closely together, it could be one very long tapestry. IMG_4248So masterfully woven, colors still bright, some of the best faces I've seen in tapestry, and just loaded with hachures defining such lifelike folds in the robes.

They hang all in a row as one long narrative of the life of St. Vincent and his gory martyrdom. The topic is a bit disturbing, lots of stabbling and the like. Vinzenz Half

Each tapestry has a red border with beautiful gothic lettering, in Latin. In the catalog, the latin phrases are written, and translated into German.

Google translate was not helpful, neither was an online Latin to English translation tool. I believe the words tell the story, because in scene 9, where we see Saint Vincent being disemboweled, these words appear:  “burning, fiery , penetrate, wound, death.” OK, not the cheeriest story….reminds me of the book I used to check out of the library when I was about 9, called “Sixty Saints and How they Died.”

Vinzenz with Border

Here’s an example of Google’s translation of Scene 11: “sin as a rapper corpel preserves.”  Hmmmm……they really need to work on their German.

I bought the reasonably priced catalog, but since it's in German I've been sitting with my dictionary for hours, and never could find any information about where the tapestries were woven. Finally on a remote corner of the museum's website, after about 17 Google searches, I found a statement that mentioned they were woven in Brussels.  Vinzenz webIf this is what tapestries from Brussels look like, I can’t wait to see more!

I was also able to discern that the tapestries were woven specifically for the Bern Munster, which was dedicated to St. Vincent of Saragossa.

These tapestries were hung on panels just behind the choir seats.

I was allowed to take photos, but with flash not allowed, and the lights so low… I apologize for the lousy quality, and hope you can get an idea of what they are like.  Vinzenz Gory SceneDon’t forget you can click on them to see the full sized images.

And what about the infamous Burgundian Booty? At least I got some postcards!

Four of the tapestries picture scenes with captions in French from the Story of Caesar.

They were woven in Tournai, about 1470, and are said to have belonged to Louis of Luxembourg, Count of Saint Pol, who was put to death as a traitor in Paris in 1475.

I found this information in the book "Tapestries; Their Origin, History And Renaissance", by George Leland Hunter, which is available in full text online.Caesar Tapestry



Catalog Information: 

Leben und Tod des heiligen Vinzenz: Vier Chorbehange von 1515 aus dem Berner Munster, authors Anna Rapp Buri and Monica Stucky-Schurer.

There are copies available through, from European booksellers; not sure if they would ship to USA.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Swiss Tapestries

Museum scene with tapestry web

Arriving at the Basel Historical Museum, I was disappointed to find that the entire downstairs, including most of the renowned tapestry collection, was in storage due to renovations.

There were a few tapestries in the gallery with all the gorgeous carved wood altars and religious figures. In this image you can see “The Effusion of the Holy Spirit” tapestry below the altarpiece.

I was impressed with how the tapestries were displayed: behind glass (but not far behind), so they could be down low, and people can get up very close to them. To preserve them from too much light, they have mechanical shades; you have to push a button to open the shade, which then closes again automatically in about 2 minutes. Of course that meant I had to keep opening them so I could examine the tapestries closely. The only problem is that you have no idea a tapestry is there, unless you happen to see someone opening the shade!Basel tapestry basket

These are Swiss tapestries, woven in Basel and Aargau from 1480-1490. The tapestry pictured above is described as a “Pentecostal Altar Tapestry,” and I’m thinking they are all altar tapestries. They all feature religious figures standing in a row facing forwards. As for weaving style, I did not see any demi-duite, and what little hatching there I saw was for pattern or representation, and not for shading.

Five Women Saints Detail

The backgrounds look like old silk velvet and brocade fabric patterns, and the catalog points out that it was common to have these types of fabrics hanging on walls, so they make an obvious background. The author says that the “representation of a textile within a textile was very popular with tapestry weavers…”

Along the bottom most of them have a few wildflowers, as if referring to the Mille Fleurs style, only instead of 1000 flowers, there are only 5, or 10 or at most 20.

Resurrection flowers

One of the tapestries has missing weft in exactly the shapes of the feet, then I noticed that the remaining foot is black. I remembered the tapestry conservator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston telling us that they often used iron mordant to make black dyes, and that the iron rotted the weft.

In general these tapestries are in good condition for their age, although like many old tapestries, the yellows have faded, leaving lots of blue areas that used to be green. They are fairly small, most about 5 ft wide by 3 feet tall, although one, Three Scenes from the Life of Christ is bigger, about 9 feet wide.

Effusion detail web

There are no borders. The sett seemed to be about 17 epi and the wefts are quite fine.

I love the way they wove hair. In the Pentecostal tapestry they all look like they have dreadlocks!

One guy has locks of about 3 different colors.

In the Resurrection tapestry, they did a lovely job on Jesus’ hair and beard, even on the towel being held by St Veronica, with the image of Jesus’ face imprinted.

Resurrection detail web

There is a lovely catalog of the permanent collections, with photos, (and including a few tapestries) and when I asked about buying it, I was told that if I filled out a survey I could have it for free! Then they had a small, inexpensive ($15) book of their tapestries, with photos, so of course I bought it. The title is “The Ancient Tapestries in the Basle Historical Museum,” text by Hans Lanz, Basel 1985. It’s more often cited by its German title “Die alten Bildteppiche im Historischen Museum Basel.” The book actually includes text in German, French and English in the same volume.

From the catalog, I can see that I’ll have to come back someday to see the rest of the collection. “Noblemen and Women Hawking,” “Depiction of the Power of Women,” and the charming “Wild Woman with Unicorn in a Forest Clearing,” which has the adorable brown unicorn, and the wild woman wearing a blue fur dress with holes in it for her bare breasts to stare out of.

Tapestries I saw, with apologies for the photos; the tapestries are behind glass, so there are reflections.Five Women Saints web I was pleasantly surprised to find out that photography is permitted, just not with a flash.

Five Women Saints:

St Barbara, St Agnes, St Dorothy, St Mary Magdalene and St Verena. (below left)

Resurrection of Christ. Resurrection web

Mary Magdalene and St Veronica (holding shroud with image of Christ’s face) and Two Angels. (below right)

Effusion of the Holy Spirit.

Mary and Holy Ghost (as dove) and 11 apostles. Pentecostal Altar Tapestry (below left)Effusion of the Holy Spirit web

Crucifixion, with Mary, John the Evangelist, St Francis of Assissi and St Clara. (Sorry, no photo of this one, click here instead)

Three Scenes from the Life of Christ (below)

3scenes from the life of christ web

REMEMBER! You can click on the images to see them larger!3scenes detail web

Saturday, October 31, 2009

British Tapestry Group Conference

Stirling Palace with Garden

On Saturday, September 12, I attended the British Tapestry Group’s Conference Day, at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum, in Stirling, Scotland, just down hill from the castle.

Standing outside, waiting for the doors to open, who should I bump into but Linda Wallace, a fellow board member, and recent Co-Director of ATA. She had come all the way from British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada, so I was not the only North American in attendance!

It was great to see so many tapestry weavers gathered in one place. I had a chance to talk with old acquaintances Joan Baxter and Louise Martin and met lots of new people too.

The conference included an exhibition called Weaving Within, Small Format Tapestries Woven by the British Tapestry Group. Stirling Smith Gallery and Museum

There are 91 tapestries woven by 55 artists, including some fellow bloggers like Tommye Scanlin (USA), Marilyn Rea-Menzies (New Zealand), Meab Warburton (France) and Elaine Duncan(Canada). Other tapestries from North America are by Pamela Davis and Linda Wallace. Membership in the BTG is open to all.

“Out of the Ashes”Linda Wallace "Out of the Ashes" by Linda Wallace.

This exhibition is very impressive. In fact, my husband was so impressed that I began to wonder if I should be insulted; after all this is not the first tapestry exhibition he has seen, and all the others are ones I have participated in myself….. There is a lot of talent and training in the group, and there are some very innovative works included, such as the 3D works by Margaret Crowther; shaped tapestries by a number of artists, many unusual materials like stainless steel in Linda Wallace’s piece, beads, painted pumpkin seeds, discs of fabric, various unusual fibers; knotted tapestry by Anne Jackson and the tapestry collages of Clare Coyle.

The more traditional tapestries also represent a wide range of designs and styles, and I have many favorites among these. Although there is no printed catalog, there is a brochure that includes one image per artist. It will be for sale sometime this month from the BTG website. (Sorry about the poor image quality, my copy is a bit wrinkled from use!)


“Weaving Within” hangs at both the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Stirling Castle, until Nov 8. So hop on a plane and a train and go! You’ve got a whole week!

The conference consisted of a day of lectures and a second day of workshops. I only attended the lecture day, and it was really fascinating. There were 4 main speakers, interspersed with numerous short presentations by participants in the exhibit.

I really enjoyed hearing from these tapestry artists, about the work they submitted for the exhibition, and I would give them all credit here, except that I mislaid my program. Sorry….

Joan Baxter spoke about the future of tapestry as a viable art form in the 21st Century, and asked us to think seriously about wbrochure webhat we need to do to ensure its survival. It was a call to action!

Although Sara Brennan was listed on the conference program, she was not there, and instead we were treated to a delightful talk by Amanda Gizzi, about her work and her inspirations. She managed to be honest, insightful, profound and amusing all at once. I loved her comment about a man who dropped something, and as he got down to look for it on the floor, he happened to look out “a wee circular window,” and saw the world from a different perspective altogether.

Her work focuses on ordinary subjects, often with food and cooking. I love the tapestry titled “Pickled Peaches.”

Rudi Richardson spoke about his years in San Francisco, weaving tapestries for the legendary Mark Adams. This was very informative and filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of Adams, and San Francisco tapestry.

Dina Ward spoke about tapestry history, with many examples from around the world. She works at the Burrell Collection, which is in Glasgow, and has a superb tapestry collection. If I’d known, I might have been able to fit in a visit, but as it is, I’ll have to wait until next time I’m in the area. I also found out there are some interesting tapestries in Berne, Switzerland, which is just 45 minutes on the train from where we are staying now. waterlily-for jan

Dina said they are known as “The Burgundian Loot,” which is very intriguing!

I wish I could tell you more, but I decided to just relax and enjoy the experience, so unfortunately my meager notes are not that helpful. Next time you’ll just have to go yourself!

“WaterLily” by Tommye Scanlin

Monday, October 19, 2009

Unicorns Again!

Last fall I attended a lecture at the University of Rhode Island, by Louise Martin, the head weaver of the unicorn tapestry project at Stirling Castle. I wrote about it on this blog and I said “I hope to visit next year.” So when we were planning our sabbatical trip, it was very high on my list of places to go. Stirling Palace with Garden 2
As part of Historic Scotland’s renovation, research turned up an inventory of 100 tapestries in the castle during the time of King James V, in 1539; among these was a set called “The History of the Unicorn.” Nothing more is known about the set, but it was thought that they were woven at approximately the same time as the Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries, currently in the Cloisters in New York.
Thus the project in which 2 teams of weavers, one at Stirling Castle, and one at West Dean Tapestry Studio, are recreating the 7 tapestries of the Hunt of the Unicorn. They will eventually be hung in the Queen's Presence Chamber in the Royal Palace, which is currently under renovation. The entire project is expected to take 12 years. Follow this link, and look for the video link at the bottom of the page. Stirling Castle Tapestry Sign This is a photo taken in the nether bailey, just outside the tapestry studio.
On my first day in Stirling (see my travel blog, the Path and the Puddle for details) I walked uphill to the very impressive castle, and made my way to the weaving studio, where I was immediately impressed to find that the weavers have their very own guard! There I watched Rudy Richardson weaving for a while. You can stand directly behind the weavers, very close, but you can not speak to them while they weave. In fact, Rudy was listening to music on an iPod.
I found it very moving to see this tapestry being woven. The originals are among the most beautiful and celebrated tapestries in the world, and it was almost like being present at their creation, 500 years ago. The recreations, which are brand new, undamaged and unfaded, are exquisite, and the colors are delicious.
Unicorn in Captivity
At 1pm, Rudy gave the daily “Weaver’s Talk,” which was very informative and gave me a chance to ask some questions. What a great way to educate the public about tapestry! People were fascinated. There is a life sized photo of the tapestry on the wall, and a weighted string hangs down to mark the point to which it has progressed. So it’s easy to see what shapes are being woven.
One of the other people in the audience was laughing at all the same things as me, so I decided she must be a tapestry weaver, and after the talk I introduced myself. It turned out to be Anne Jackson, one of the instructors for the upcoming British Tapestry Group workshops. We went up to the Chapel Royal together, and spent some time looking at the completed Unicorn tapestries. They are just fabulous, perfect in every way, and I just had to sit and look at them for a while.
Here are some things I learned:Unicorn Tapestry
Because of the ceiling height, the tapestries are being woven at 90 % of the size of the originals. Also, to save time and money, the warp sett has been reduced from the 17-19 epi (ends per inch) of the originals, to 10 epi. So there is an additional challenge in the interpretation, having to weave the same images, only slightly smaller and with fewer warps.
The warp yarns are cotton, which the weavers tell me keeps a more consistent tension than linen or wool. Most of the weft is Wensleydale wool, which is custom dyed to match the originals. A smaller amount of mercerized cotton is also used, to replace the silk of the originals because modern silk degrades very quickly. They are also using gold thread, spun around a cotton core, instead of the original gilt. To match the colors, they have private access to the originals in New York, and because of the size, they use a hydraulic lift to get up close.Unicorn in Captivity detail
The cartoon process starts with photographs of the originals, reduced to 90% of the original size, then traced and printed to make the finished guide. It takes 5 or 6 weeks to complete a cartoon. Although every tapestry requires some adjustment, because of damage and repairs, the most difficult challenge will be on the 5th tapestry. “The Mystic Hunt of the Unicorn,” consists only of 2 incomplete fragments. They will have to figure out what was most likely in the missing parts.
Another difference between the originals and the new tapestries is that these are being woven from the front instead of the back. West Dean Studio’s weavers have been using this method for years, because they like to see what they are doing, and I must say, I agree heartily.
I was surprised to see that they were weaving without any shedding mechanism, just picking the warps with their fingers. It was explained to me that most of the weavers had not used leashes before, so it was just as easy to pick the sheds by hand.   Tapestries in Chapel Royal
I saw weft yarns on bobbins, but the bobbins were only used to store the yarn, and to pack down the weft, not to pass it through the shed. They were not using butterflies either, just loose strands of wool. Apparently it was decided that the weight of the hanging bobbins put too much tension on the tapestry, and they also did not have enough.
I learned that to be true to the originals, and the weaving style of the period, there is no color mixing in the wefts. Only solid colors are used, and all the color mixing is accomplished with weaving techniques such as hatching, hachures and demi-duite (also known as pick and pick). Another technique you see in these tapestries is the use of small slits to make fine lines.
On Monday I went up to the castle again, and this time I got to see Mieko Konaka weaving, and hear her version of the Weaver’s Talk.
This project is so impressive, and the patience, skill and dedication of the weavers is amazing. Mieko was weaving a small orange tree, and she said she expected to be weaving that tree until December! Tapestries Hanging in Chapel Royal
I look forward to seeing the 7 piece set hanging in the Queen’s Presence Chamber sometime in the future. Maybe you will too, but I highly recommend visiting while you can still see them weaving. It’s an experience I will never forget.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Queen’s Birthday Tapestries

Imagine getting a set of monumental tapestries for your birthday!

These were commissioned on Queen Margrethe II of Denmark’s 50th birthday and delivered in 2000 for her 60th. What anticipation! What excitement! What a price! $13,000,000 Danish Kroner (about $2,600,000).

You’d think they would be gorgeous, but then you might be a bit disappointed. Of course, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, or as my mother used to say “Everyone’s a bit strange except for me and thee and frankly, sometimes I wonder a bit about thee.” Anyway, I do hope the Queen loves them.

They are hanging in the Knight’s Hall at Christiansborg Palace, all 17 of them. The 11 large tapestries fit perfectly into the frames set into the marble paneling. The other 6 are smaller “entrefenetres,” which go between the windows. They were designed by the Danish sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard, and woven at the Gobelins and Beauvais studios in France. Here’s a link to some photos.

I was very impressed with the technical perfection of the weaving, but I don’t like the colors, style or compositions. The colors are garish, but perhaps I could learn to see them as luminous, or jewel-like, if the compositions didn’t seem completely disorganized. I know there is a tradition of medieval tapestries with very busy, even frenetic, compositions, but the really great ones are carefully worked out, balanced, fluid, graceful, and dynamic.

viking age

Some of the Queen’s tapestries, like “The Viking Age,” have an clearly defined structure, and I find that I’m beginning to like this one more and more.

Others, like “The Reformation,” come across as random and uninspired, with figures lined up in rows, as you can see below.



I object to the cartoony style of expression, particularly given the seriousness of the subject: the History of Denmark from the Viking Age to the Future. One of the tapestries, “Present,” depicts Queen Margrethe and her husband Prince Henrik, and their hands are about 3 times normal size. It makes them look awkward and unattractive, and it struck me as disrespectful.

Bjørn Nørgaard intended for these tapestries to be a lesson in Danish History, for recent generations who have not learned about it in school. He spent many hours devising a systematic plan for including innumerable narrative elements in each tapestry, and yet keeping a consistent formal structure over the entire project. He even chose to make full sized painted cartoons. He devoted 12 years to this project, so I feel bad about my (possibly uninformed) criticisms. Perhaps it’s a case of the intellectual concept over-riding purely visual or visceral concerns, or perhaps it’s just my taste. viking age detail

I’m delighted that someone still wants to commission large original tapestries. These tapestries do fill up the large space in the Knight’s Hall, and the bright colors get your attention. Visitors seemed to enjoy puzzling over the diagrams provided, that explain all the people and objects and symbols in the tapestries. 

I bought the book, “Tapestries for the Queen of Denmark,” (Peter Michael Hornung, ed.) and it’s very informative. I was pleased to see that it includes details about each tapestry, such as the name of the head weaver, number of shades of wool, time spent in preparation and weaving, number of weavers, dates, and size. It’s available used from


Nørgaard seems quite respectful of the weavers, and knowledgeable about the process. I like this quotation from his interview in the book “….each and every square millimeter of these pictures is touched by human hand, and these people have invested their time in the tapestry. I believe quite naively that this is something you can read from the works. In a digital era with digital pictures, I think it is vital that we preserve pictures in which a great deal of time is invested.”

It’s sad that they spent such a huge amount of money, and so many years of artistic design and skilled weaving, to make something that is not beautiful. Given the number of brilliant tapestry weavers in Denmark, they could have had tapestries with the power to take your breath away; objects of exquisite beauty and grace.

I’d recommend visiting anyway, if you’re in the area, and I’d be curious to know how other tapestry weavers react. So far I have not spoken to anyone who disagreed with my position, but perhaps I’ll hear some dissenting opinions soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Danish Tapestry

When I realized that my husband would be busy for 1 ½ of our 2 ½ days in Copenhagen, I decided to email Birgitta Hallberg, who I met last year at Convergence. I asked if I could visit her studio and she said she would meet me at my hotel at 10 am. When she arrived, I discovered she had invited Kari Guddal, another Danish tapestry weaver, to join us. Hallberg Studio Loom

Kari has a car, so she kindly chauffeured us around for the day, and I got to visit not one, but two tapestry studios.

Birgitta’s studio is upstairs in her small house.

The room is dominated by a large floor loom, which she uses to weave her tapestries.

There is also a nice big table, with a frame loom clamped to it (I’ve got to try that), a wooden swift, and some small tapestries waiting for frames. Hallberg Frame Loom

Birgitta weaves with thick weft bundles, in richly blended colors, and although she uses a cartoon, she makes up the colors as she goes along, interpreting the cartoon very loosely.

The result is a rich surface with very colorful, free and energetic marks.

Most of her tapestries are fairly large, but lately she has been enjoying working in small format as well.Hallberg small tapestries3

As we were leaving the studio, I noticed some lace bobbins, and discovered that Birgitta makes, and teaches, bobbin lace.

The linen threads she is using for this piece are so thin you can barely see them.

Hallberg Lace Detail

Birgitta also has quite a green thumb, so it was lovely eating lunch in her garden among the flowers, grape vines, tomatoes, peach tree and fig tree.

Hallberg Lace Detail 3

We ate fresh home-grown grapes and tomatoes, both red and yellow, along with cheese and home-baked bread and home-made Elderflower Cordial.

Kari’s studio is in a building with other artist studios, and she shares a space with another artist who works in various media. Kari has a very old, very large vertical loom that is on loan to her from a Royal Castle in Denmark. The top and bottom rollers are gigantic. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

Guddal Loom

Behind the loom, you can see various sticks and things hanging neatly on the wall; definitely an improvement over my messy basket that keeps toppling over! She is weaving 2 smallish tapestries (about 20 inches wide) side by side, at the moment, but normally she works very large. One of her tapestries is 301 x 202 cm! Guddal Yarns

Kari uses only one type of wool, Norwegian Spelsau, and she dyes it all herself. In a 1998 catalog, she said she had dyed more than 300 different tones.Guddal Butterflies

Her abstract tapestries have simple but intriguing compositions, with subtle, muted, earthy colors suggestive of landscape.

There is a feeling of ethereal light contrasting with deep warm darkness.

Kari gave me two catalogs of Danish tapestry. I could not resist accepting them, although to avoid paying for overweight luggage, Kim had ALL our books in his carry-on backpack, which now weighed about 50 pounds!

I’m enjoying the catalogs, and I’m amazed that there are so many accomplished tapestry weavers in such a small country. I’m also grateful to Birgitta and Kari for welcoming me into their studios.

Oops, Forgot to Finish the Story

Thanks, Edith, for pointing out that I never mentioned whether I finished my tapestry before leaving home. Yes, of course, in typical fashion I finished it about 2 days before we left, and managed to get a good photo or two.

I am not going to post a photo of it on the blog, because I am planning to enter it in ATB8. I'd be delighted if it could make it's debut there, but if not, then you'll be the first to see it, at least as a photo. I don't know why, it just makes me nervous to show it online before it's been entered in a juried show.

We've been traveling for almost 3 weeks now, and so far it has been fabulous. I have taken so many photos, and I'm spending a lot of time editing them. I'm behind on my blogging, but hope to catch up soon!

Right now I'm sitting in my B&B in Stirling, Scotland, having visited the castle and the tapesty studio (with unicorns in progress) today. I can't describe how moving it was to see the tapestry being woven. It is incredibly beautiful, as are the completed tapestries, but it's more than that; it feels like the closest I can come to seeing the original tapestries the way they were 500 years ago.
Tomorrow is the British Tapestry Group conference, which I will attend and report on later.

I'm also working on some other tapestry stories, so check in again soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Setting off on an Adventure

On Monday, my husband and I are leaving for a sabbatical semester in Interlaken, Switzerland. We'll be gone til early December. On the way to Interlaken we are traveling for 3 weeks, including a stop in Stirling to see the Unicorn Tapestries being woven, and to attend the British Tapestry Group's Conference.

I have a new blog for travel related stories, The Path and the Puddle. I hope to keep up with this blog too. After all, there will be tapestry stories while we're away. I am taking a couple of frame looms with me. I'm still hoping to finish that Chaotic Fragments tapestry before we leave, wish me luck!