Fiona Hutchison’s ATA Workshop – Convergence 2022

By Betty Hilton-Nash

Fiona Hutchison is an Edinburgh weaver, who studied at the Edinburgh College of Art and has been teaching weaving for many years. Please take a look at her website: https://www.fionahutchison.co.uk.

We all followed our own paths in the class but they were based on a couple of new techniques that Fiona demonstrated. One was weaving narrow strips of tapestry side by side, then pulling the warps to distort the work once it was off the loom. Another technique was creating surface texture by using different materials, wool, linen, nettle fiber, weaving 2 x 2 instead of over 1, under 1, leaving small open warps, weaving roughly, not smoothing out the yarns and letting them poke out randomly (linen was good for this, as it would hold its shape). She also showed us how to add
a wrapped cording to the surface of our weaving, and integrate it into the weaving.

As a committed Gobelin/Aubusson style weaver for 30 years, trying always to achieve the flat surface with perfect edges, all of a sudden I could breathe deeply and just play and explore. This for me was the ah hah moment. So new direction for me, I can’t wait to go forward and explore these
new techniques.

Here are some pictures from the class. Enjoy.

PulledWarp1

Exploring surface texture. (Betty Hilton-Nash)

PulledWarp2

On the loom, prior to cutting off. (Betty Hilton-Nash)

PulledWarp3

Pulled warp technique; still some manipulating left to do. (Betty Hilton-Nash)

PulledWarp4

Whipped cording and surface manipulation. (Terri Bryson)

President’s Column

Optimistic, hardworking, and adaptable are words that come to mind describing the TWS board members. Dedicated is another word describing the people who make TWS events into realities. Events this summer tested the board as we planned the second in-person retreat since the pandemic. As the retreat dates approached, Leslie learned that the Fiber Center would have to be closed. Electrical work needed to be done during the remodeling of the building housing the Fiber Center, making it unsafe for people to be in the building, which also affected the members’ exhibit. Leslie Fesperman and April Price scrambled to come up with a plan so that everything would not be cancelled. The retreat has been re-scheduled for October. The exhibit will be in a new space in downtown Elkin. Good things seem to be coming from these sudden changes.

As I’m writing this column, HGA’s Convergence, Complex Weavers, and American Tapestry Alliance are having biennial events in Knoxville, TN. I hope many of you can see the exhibits and perhaps take a class or two. Tapestry has a great presence in these events. There are tapestry classes to take, and well-known teachers are teaching. Jennifer Sargent and Fiona Hutchinson are workshop leaders for ATA, and both Tommye Scanlin and Molly Elkind are teaching classes for Convergence. WOW! Such great learning opportunities. If only it were possible to take advantage of every class.

If articles about the Knoxville Convergence, ATA Retreat, and Complex Weavers don’t make it into this newsletter, watch for them in the fall newsletter. We will also likely have to send out some email blasts to make sure you get the retreat news for October, so be watching your emails for updates about the retreat between newsletters that you will need to plan to attend the retreat. Sarah Thomsen and Allie Dudley do a great job of making communications among us stay on track.

About exhibits: Betty Hilton-Nash is working to make the 2023 exhibit at the Folk Art Center in Asheville become a reality. The Folk Art Center is a beautiful exhibit venue with a lot of foot traffic, and people do buy art work there. This exhibit will begin in January. Be sure to be weaving and watching for more information in your newsletter and email blasts about this exhibit. There will be an exhibit in Elkin in 2023 as well.

We also need your input as members, and your time to volunteer if you can. Contact your board members with information about what you can do or ideas you have. The articles from you also make the newsletter interesting. Please send any news about classes you are teaching, honors you’ve earned, essays about tapestry you have written or anything tapestry related to Allie Dudley at apdudley3@gmail.com. Please send items of TWS historical value to Janet Hart. Many thanks to Deb Gottlieb for taking care of the treasury and Sarah Thomsen for taking care of membership.

Life will keep happening and adjustments must be made as things happen that are beyond control of board members. Many thanks to the all who work so hard to keep the events possible.

Terrific Tapestry Weaving!
Terri Bryson

“Tapestry Weaver” No More, Say: “Textile Artist”

By Hélène Crié-Wiesner

When they go on vacation to France, or on a business trip, most people are interested in museums, culinary arts, history or landscapes. When I am in France, I look for tapestry workshops, textile artists, and wool factories. And I am very disappointed each time: apart from the city of Aubusson and the Parisian Manufacture des Gobelins, I find nothing, or almost nothing. Weaving, yes, but no tapestry.

Fifteen years ago, when I arrived in North Carolina, I wanted to reconnect with the hobby that I had practiced diligently in France in the 90s: tapestry. In France, I had learned this technique in a specialized school, which no longer exists today. Already at that time, it was very difficult to find a place to learn tapestry, at least when you just wanted to practice for the pleasure of creating, and not to become a professional in a studio or factory.

When I moved to the United States, I did not know where or how to find a teacher or a workshop capable of updating my knowledge. I thought tapestry weaving was neither popular nor taught in the United States. Obviously, I was wrong. Thanks to the possibilities of the internet, I was introduced to the vast community of weavers in my new country.

Over the years, by searching the French cities where I travel, by monitoring social networks to see who practices tapestry weaving, and by talking with French weaver friends, I understood the main differences between France and the United States in this specific field. In France, the word “tapestry” evokes for most people large and heavy hangings hung in castles and official buildings. Over the years, this creative art has slowly died, crushed under the weight of its high cost. The workshops’ production is only bought by government entities, big firms or very rich collectors.

So I discovered that there are more domestic tapestry weavers in the US than there are in France, where possible beginners are way too intimidated by the weight of tradition to even think of learning the technique, when they only just heard about it. Most of the American weavers I know work indeed on relatively small looms, even table looms, which allow for only small tapestry formats. I discovered the small format tapestry when arriving in the US, because strangely, in France, I know no one who is weaving that small.

There is another reason for more practitioners in America: It is easier to find someone to teach tapestry in the US. First, tapestry is sometimes taught in art departments in American universities. Second, there are the Navajo and Mexican traditions that have made rug-weaving more visible, while not being too intimidating.

Finally today, thanks to the internet, one can search “tapestry class” and easily find a place, a teacher, a class for a weekend or a week, making it possible to be introduced to the technique with minimal fuss. While doing the same research on French Google, you find mainly upholstery classes (“upholstery” is translated in French by “tapestry”.) Or you are directed to the famous Gobelins studio who teach only professionals. However, there are now some possibilities up opening at the Aubusson studio through the new Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie, where you can get
some wise advice.

Sylvie Wujek in her studio, website: https://lelientisse.fr/
Sylvie Wujek in her studio, website: https://lelientisse.fr/

Last year, in my city of Rennes in French Britanny where I spend a lot of time, I was very happy to discover a lady who teaches weaving and tapestry weaving to beginners, in her studio, on small looms. Sylvie Wujek offers three hour or one week-end introductory courses. She says: “Weaving is linear. When the students discover that tapestry can be worked in blocks, it opens up new perspectives. They then want to create a small picture.”

Sylvie confirms what my tapestry weaver friends are all telling me about what is happening in France today: textile art has been back in fashion for a few years. As in the US, many young persons now embark on embroidery, knitting, crochet, macramé, and some timidly approach weaving. Most don’t know anything about tapestry, or confuse it with cross-stitch embroidery. Tufting is also making a big breakthrough in the field of textile hobbies.

The big trend today, among people (largely women) in their thirties, is wall weaving, a mixture of non-figurative weaving and tapestry, including all kinds of fibers, most of the time fluffy and hairy. One type of event works very well with this new public interested in this “mural art”: happenings/workshops for Instagrammers. They are often organized by magazines or trade salons specializing in decoration. The instructors offer kits to make a tiny wall work, including a small frame with zen and soft fibers. Everyone leaves with their work, whose photos are immediately posted on Instagram surrounded by hearts and kisses. One thing is sure: no one dares today uses the terms “weaver” or “tapestry weaver”; we must instead say “thread artist”, or “textile designer” to be taken seriously. It is thus in France and perhaps also in the United States? Tell me…

New works by Tapestry weavers south

Tapestry Weavers South Annual Exhibit , New Works 2022, is now on display:
The Studio Gallery
110 North Bridge Street
Elkin, NC 28621
June 3-August 21, 2022
Hours:
Friday 5-7
Saturday 10-2
Sunday 12-2
By chance or appointment. To schedule an appointment, contact Leslie Fesperman of the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center. Contact information is on the Fiber Center website. An appointment can also be scheduled by contacting the Foothills Arts Council whose contact information is also on their website. The Yadkin Valley Fiber Center and the Foothills Arts Council co-sponsor the exhibit.

President’s Column May 2022

Just when newsletter chair, Allie Dudley, had everything ready to send out on time and everything for the retreat and exhibit were in place, life happened. This newsletter is coming to you late due to circumstances that were unanticipated and beyond control of the board. These circumstances resulted in changes to the retreat and exhibit plans. Be sure and read the articles about
the exhibit and retreat in the newsletter from April Price and Leslie Fesperman. Thanks to Leslie, April, and other board members being flexible, new plans are being made.


Don’t miss the article by Betty Hilton-Nash about the exhibit planned for the Folk Art Center in Asheville in 2023. Betty has some fun ideas for the exhibit and the Folk Art Center is a wonderful opportunity to exhibit your work.


Hélène Crié-Wiesner has written an article about tapestry in France. This is a wonderful article. It points out how lucky we are to practice tapestry here in the USA. Hélène points out that tapestry art as practiced in the USA is very rarely done in France.


Always remember newsletter articles sent in by members of TWS are what make the newsletter a good read. It is encouraging to hear about exhibits you are in, tips for weaving, classes you are teaching or know about, or any other tapestry related news. Please always send your news to Allie Dudley, our terrific newsletter editor. They do a great job of putting together your news and creating an informative newsletter.


TWS has two social media opportunities for members to post their work and news. Facebook is one; Instagram is the other. If you post to Facebook, Hélène will see that it gets on Instagram.

All TWS board members are volunteers. Sarah Thomsen is our Membership Chair. Leslie Fesperman is our Exhibit Chair. April Price is our Retreat Chair. Deb Gottlieb is our Treasurer. Betty Hilton-Nash is Co-Exhibits Chair in charge of the Folk Art Center Exhibit. Hélène Crié-Wiesner takes care of our Facebook and Instagram accounts, and announced at our recent board meeting that the TWS Instagram page now has 800 followers. Laurie O’Neill helps with the website but is not on the board. Without these volunteers doing such a great job, we wouldn’t have the opportunities.


Contact your board members if you have suggestions. You can also be a part of the Board. We currently are in need of a Secretary and a Vice-President. Contact me if you would like to join the Board.


Happy Spring and Happy Weaving,

Terri

President’s Column February 2022

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is back to weaving tapestries for upcoming TWS exhibits. The first one coming up is in June 2022 in conjunction with the Annual TWS Retreat in Elkin, NC at the Yadkin Valley Fiber Center. After that, there is an exhibit in the planning stages to be at the Folk Art Center in Asheville and then moved to Elkin, NC that year. Members’ work has sold in both places. It will be wonderful to see the gorgeous work TWS members create for these exhibits. Betty Hilton-Nash, Leslie Fesperman, and April Price are working on exhibits and the retreat now. Be watching for information in upcoming weeks.

We just had our first 2022 board meeting; we do need help and only members can do these things. Please post works in progress on Facebook on the TWS page. Hélène Crié-Wiesner, who takes care of social media for TWS, can then post your pictures and comments to Instagram. Hélène has an article about social media in the newsletter. Please be sure to read it. Hélène reports that we now have 627 followers on Instagram.

Janet Hart, Historian for TWS, needs pictures, brochures, or any other material documenting our activities. She would like to have lists of participants in the exhibits as well.

We also need volunteers for the Board. Please contact us if you can share some of your time with TWS. TWS is all volunteer and it’s good to have new volunteers and rotate some of the other members off the board to help keep things fresh.

Newsletter Editor, Allie Dudley, needs your articles for the newsletters. TWS members are the source of newsletter content and the best part of the newsletter. Please share classes you take or teach, exhibits you have work in, tapestry tips, and/or any news and tips related to tapestry weaving. If you send pictures, please list who the people in the picture are. We are all spread out and don’t know everyone by face.

If you have questions, comments, ideas, or anything tapestry related, please let us know! Even if the pandemic news isn’t what we want it to be yet, we are making plans for activities. It will be wonderful to get back to “normal” if that comes. In the meantime, weave on.

Best wishes,
Terri Bryson

President’s Column, September 2021

What are you weaving? What is your favorite tapestry hint? Have you tried a new yarn, and what did you think of it? What are your favorite tapestry books? Do you have your work in a tapestry or other exhibit? What are the details of the exhibit? What else would you like to share about your work? Do you have a loom you want to sell? The TWS newsletter is about you, the members. The members’ news is the most interesting part. Please think about the newsletter between issues and share in the newsletter, Facebook, and Instagram.

TWS has an optimistic, energetic board. The board is looking forward to the next retreat and exhibits. We recently held our first meeting via Zoom. Currently, plans for the next exhibits and retreats are in progress. What a treat it is to see everyone even if on a computer screen! The next retreat in Elkin, NC will be the first weekend in June 2022. April is working on the retreat plans, and Leslie is planning tapestry classes to occur around the time of the retreat. Our annual exhibit will also be held in addition to our classes. The Elkin community is very supportive of the arts and the Fiber Center which makes it a pleasure to have events there.

Looking ahead, in 2023, TWS is invited to have an exhibit at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC. Betty Hilton-Nash volunteered to chair this exhibit. This is another wonderful place to exhibit since a lot of traffic passes through there. It’s also a beautiful venue. Be watching your newsletters for details.

Next year you may notice that your newsletters are arriving at a slightly different time. The board suggested moving the dates of publication back a month. This spreads out the time between the June and September newsletters so that everyone can get their articles written in a more timely manner between the summer and fall newsletters.

With all the opportunities for exhibiting your tapestry work, I hope everyone is working on weaving. This year’s exhibit is beautiful. Each exhibit seems to be more beautiful than the next.

Don’t forget that Laurie O’Neill is working on putting gallery pages on the website. There is no cost to you for adding your page and information. Laurie put some suggested guidelines in the Summer TWS newsletter that you can refer to as you think about what you would like for your page to look like. Be sure to let us know all about your upcoming exhibits in other places, classes you take, tips you may have, or anything tapestry related. Please also share your work on the Tapestry Weavers South Facebook and Instagram page.

Happy Warping and Weaving,

Terri Bryson