Tapestry Tantrum

There is a phrase that I have used a many occasions that expressed my feelings towards learning tapestry weaving: “I want nothing to do with tapestry weaving.

I know how that statement sounds. And I am personally trying to remedy my outlook on techniques that I find “too difficult” in order to at least have experience. This is mainly because I have given myself a personal goal to attain the Handweaver’s Guild of America Certificate of Excellence in Handweaving (ideally pass both levels before the age of 30). One of the very first samples that has to be woven with professionalism is of course: Tapestry Weaving.

In the summer of 2011, I took a workshop at Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire called “Beginning Weaving and Beyond”. It was essentially a week long weaving boot camp taught by weaver Tom Jipson. The workshop covered the basics of weaving (how to dress a loom, read a draft and techniques of a successful weaving) and also more advanced techniques (lace, double weave, color and weave, etc.) As part of the workshop, Tom wrong a “textbook” containing how to weave each sample, explaining every step of the way. It is an valuable resource and I have used it often to jumpstart a project.

I am now using the lesson he wrote on tapestry weaving in order to jumpstart my education. The following images are the first few steps of the tapestry sampler under his written instruction: (be warned: this is the very FIRST time I have ever attempted tapestry weaving so the selvedges are crazy and the design is… well not design)

The first portion of the sampler is learning how to weave slits.
The first portion of the sampler is learning how to weave slits.
The first slit in the weaving- I can fit my fingers through it!
The first slit in the weaving- I can fit my fingers through it!
The second part of the sampler is how to weave on a diagonal (mine tends to curve a little bit)
The second part of the sampler is how to weave on a diagonal (mine tends to curve a little bit)
This process is very time consuming, but as I learn, I have been researching contemporary tapestry weavers to gain motivation to keep going and practicing. I will keep updating on the progress- although this is a short warp 1.5 yards (~1.37 meters) it will take me a long time to get through one sampler until I’m comfortable enough to try some more.

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