T a p e s t r y   T o p i c s   O n l i n e

©2005 American Tapestry Alliance

          A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

Winter 2005 Vol 31 No 4

Page > 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Note: Tapestry Topics Online has been trimmed down in order to present color images with selected excerpts from the printed version, available to members by mail. For the full articles refer to the printed Winter 2005 issue.
Index of Content

This Issue: Pushing Techniques

Melding Material Structure and Imagery

by Jennifer Sargent

– TT p.3-4

There are as many ways of working as there are individuals. As an artist I must find what fits my needs for expression and process. I have a solid grounding in Gobelins, or high warp tapestry technique . . . I added surface design to my artistic vocabulary. . .Throughout my graduate studies I kept the two areas separate, exploring different aspects of my creative vision; using more immediate processes in surface design and continuing to work fairly traditionally in tapestry, like “The Commitment,” incorporating eccentric and outline wefts, keeping a consistent flatness and weight to the tapestries even as I extended my ideas.

Jennifer Sargent,  The Commitment, 31 x 42, 992.
warp: cotton seine twine; weft: wool, cotton
Jennifer Sargent,  The Commitment, detail.

Over the years since leaving graduate school, teaching others and practicing art, I have become aware that I am a Fiber artist through the necessities of my process. . . the process of making, the haptic connection to the work, is as important to me as the final piece. It is through these repetitive . . . processes that I have time to integrate thought with action and material.  Fabric, in its impermanent approximation of and proximity to skin, is for me a means of exploring questions of mortality (the physical and social complexity, fragility and resilience of life); it provides a metaphor both in its intrinsic, ephemeral material qualities and as a link to fleeting memories and lost or disappearing cultures. 

Currently I think of the garden as a symbol for mortality; a place of layered states of being where outcomes are tempered by circumstances often beyond our control.

Jennifer Sargent,  Gardening Life II, 27 x 23 x 2, 2000.
2 layers - top layer: warp: ikat dyed linen, weft, tapestry and open weave combination: hand dyed linen, cotton, rayon; bottom layer: dyed, screen printed silk/linen fabric
Jennifer Sargent,  Gardening Life II, detail.

I am seeking visual equivalents for ideas, seeking to enmesh material structure and imagery. I always have a constructed element, although it is not always tapestry. I begin each new work by making samples; sometimes it takes many trials before it seems “right”, a visceral response to the visual and material results. As I work slowly on each piece, I am developing knowledge of that piece and thinking about others for the future. I do not know the final outcome of a project or even if it will succeed, until I can layer, piece, manipulate or reconfigure the parts into a different whole. It seems, no matter what the processes may be, my work is complex, obsessive, and time consuming.

left: Jennifer Sargent, Bourree, 76 x 12 x 2, 2002.
2 layers - top layer: warp ikat dyed linen, tapestry and open weave combination; bottom layer: resist dyed, hand embroidered silk/linen fabric

below: Jennifer Sargent, Bourree, detail.
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