Monday, March 30, 2009

Cranberry Bog Flew to Australia

Last year I participated in a non-juried show in Canberra, Australia, in conjunction with the Tapestry 2008 Conference, hosted by the Textiles Department of the Australian National University School of Art. The exhibit title was LAND, and the tapestries had to be exactly 10 cm (4 in) high and could be however wide you wanted. I was tempted to weave something really really wide; that would have been fun.

I looked through some aerial photos I had taken from my husband's small plane, on a short flight to Cape Cod, and finally decided to go with an image of a cranberry bog.

I figured it would be a bit different.

I love these images; they were taken in late winter, and the cranberry plants were a very vivid red, but in the image on the right, one of the sections of the bog was full of water so it was bright blue, reflecting the sky that day. It got me wondering, so I looked it up and learned that during harvest time, the bogs are filled with water so that the berries will float. The blue section must have been the reservoir.

I wove this tapestry sideways, with the warp at about 12 ends per inch. It was a challenge to weave all those tiny trees, but after a while I got the hang of it, and it got easier. The very thin vertical lines were a pain, but I used my own special interlock method and it seems to have worked out OK.

So my tapestry travelled all the way to Australia, and then came back to me.

The exhibition is now available online on the American Tapestry Alliance's website, with images of all the tapestries, and essays by curator Valerie Kirk and juror Wendy Teakel.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Memorial Tapestry

In 2002, Monique Chmielewska Lehman, a Polish born tapestry weaver living in California, invited artists from all countries to contribute tapestries for a Memorial Tapestry Project, to honor those whose lives were affected by September 11.

After assembling the 90 tapestries, from 15 countries, Monique carried the entire project in her suitcases to be exhibited in Italy and in Poland.

It has also been exhibited widely in the US. Just recently it opened at the Riverside (California) Convention Center. You can see photos of the current exhibition here. Photos of the entire project, including individual tapestries are available here.

I knew right away that I wanted to participate in this project. My first idea was this semi-abstract design with the stars in the American Flag morphing into airplanes. I'm not sure what it means, but after I started it I realized it was the wrong size for the project.

So I wove the second one: Blue Sky, Crying Child.

It was based on the memory of a photograph showing the faces of people running away from the World Trade Center.
It's hard to describe how I felt while weaving it, but in the end, although I like it well enough, it really doesn't do justice to my feelings.