Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What is Tapestry Anyway?

Rebecca Mezoff's recent blog couldn't have come at a better time, she must have been reading my mind. The focus of her writing (and you can find the blog here) was a question her grandmother posed in 1979: What is tapestry these days anyhow?

This past Saturday I spent a wonderful day with four eager students at Shake Rag Alley. This is an amazing location, part historical village, part arts center. When I walked back the path to the Potter's House I felt completely transported. If you come anywhere near Mineral Point, WI in your travels, you need to stop.

One of the first questions I was asked was "what is tapestry anyway?" This is a common question for someone teaching a 1 day 'Weave a Landscape' class. My classes usually have at least one person who has never woven before, perhaps never done much of anything with fibers. More than one of you are thinking... tapestry in a day, are you nuts?

Obviously some basics are explained, but much of the day is spent taking a lot of risks. Land gets personal and all my students have personal ideas they are compelled to create: three kayaks in the water, the view at the cabin, the family farm complete with sheep, a landscape abstraction. Try it, see what happens!

I am grateful for my adventure I had as an elementary art teacher in the middle of my tapestry career. It opened my eyes to the value of these explorations, helped me let go of rigidness.

I have no idea where tapestry will be going in the future or how anyone could possibly devote the time needed to develop a high level skill set. Perhaps the students I had will never try tapestry again. But that one day in the Potter's Barn 5 people worked together, broke a few tapestry rules and created art that was personal to them.

Sounds like a good day to me.


  1. It does sound like a good day Ruth! Rebecca's blog gave me some things to think about too. The landscape explorations sound like a lot of fun.

  2. It really was Janette...you know how much I love stories. Creating that sense of place really brings them out.