Tapestry Topics Online
A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

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Summer 2006, Vol 32 No 2

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Risk and the Creative Process


The third stage of the creative process is referred to as Incubation... Drawings such as the sketch for Homage to Aubrey render in visual form the initial question and subsequent research.  Many of Wallace’s drawings do not become tapestries.  They are simply another way of contemplating the question.

above: Linda Wallace, Homage to Aubrey, drawing

For Marcus the Incubation stage often involves self-reflection, scrutinizing her process in order to resolve doubts.

above: Sharon Marcus, Seam

Illumination, or the "Eureka" phase, is defined as the discovery of a solution, or an approach, to the question... For Marcus, characterizing this stage as a flash of insight does not acknowledge the work that takes place during the Saturation and Incubation stages... [She] considers most of her work to be the quest for a truth that underlies a particular line of investigation. 

In the theoretical model of the creative process the last stage is referred to as Verification, the testing of the solution that arose in the Illumination phase.  For an artist, this usually involves making an art object. Sharon Marcus characterizes her most recent series, "Personal Knowledge," which includes the tapestry "Facade," as "absolutely the most risky studio undertaking in my work so far."  The post weaving washing, pounding and burnishing of the fabric surface add further aesthetic and conceptual complexity to the work.  This technical experimentation has, in turn, stimulated new questions and directions...  Her goal is to create meaning in her work through the interaction of content and process.

above: Sharon Marcus, Facade,

The creative process involves both the less predictable elements of exploration and insight, and the more analytical elements of research and evaluation.  It is an inter-change between serendipity and intention, a balance between imagination and analysis.  Work that springs from an open-minded curiosity and, through the artist's intellectual, emotional and technical investigation, unveils surprising associations, and reveals a creative mind at work.

Door, Pathways, Journeys, Seeds

by By Dorothy Clews and Linda Wallace

– TT p.6-10

The Internet opened a door between Dorothy Clews, living in a small town in the Australian out-back, and Linda Wallace, living in a rural area of Vancouver Island, on the West coast of Canada... What is the appropriate disposal method for a rejected tapesty?   ...The idea of intentionally decomposing work, letting go of the preciousness of the object, and their fascination with the entire process, drew them in and kept them wondering.  Each wove more tapestries to bury and began a separate series of explorations.

Linda Wallace: The journey for my work, titled "Im/Plantation Tapestries: Diminishment of Hope" began on December 21, 2004.  The six small tapestries, woven with wool weft on linen warp, were im/planted in a wild area of ferns and salal and the burial sites marked.  The tapestries were left undisturbed for three months (a trimester), during which time I recorded soil and meteorological data.  Then, each month I dug up one tapestry from its earthy womb/tomb.  At the end of nine months, all had been disinterred.

above: Linda Wallace, Number one of six small tapestries 3" x 4" woven on linen warp.  The weft consisted of bands of white wool (fine, bleached merino and coarser, natural Harrisville).  In the centre of each panel, small seeds (darker wool and gold linen) were woven.. There are fewer seeds in each successive tapestry.  Other than the diminishing number of seed images, the panels were all similar in appearance, technique and fibre content.
below: Linda Wallace, 1st Tapestry After Mounting removed after 3 months in the ground.

Originally I thought the project would end with the disinterment and documentation of decay... Five of the six tapestries have been washed and... obsessively stitched onto linen backing fabrics.  Lines, created by couched linen yarn, overlay the stitched fragments, intersecting the horizontal seams of the backing strips to reintroduce the original grid structure, distorted and decayed by the earth.

...The exploration will continue and I can see two definite but related themes, the fertility/infertility, birth/death, passages and rituals issue; and the preciousness and control elements.  There will be more tapestries for burial, more pathways to explore.

above: Linda Wallace, Detail of 1st Tapestry After Mounting showing the distressed background
above: Linda Wallace, 3rd Tapestry with background not abraded
below: Linda Wallace, Detail of 3rd Tapestry showing obsessive stitching lines (light horizontal lines across threads.)
above: Linda Wallace, 5th Tapestry, removed after 7 months in the ground.
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