Spring 2007 Vol 33 No 1

A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

©2006 American Tapestry Alliance

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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 Spring 2007 issue.
Index of Content

Tapestry: The French Connection
by Joyce Hulbert

Reprinted from the catalog "The Fabric of Life," 150 years of Northern California Fiber Art History,
San Francisco State University, Sept.21 - October18, 1997

Knowing of Margery Livingston’s interest in French tapestry and her position at San Francisco State University, Mark Adams referred Larochette and Lurie to her. . . This opened the door for another great opportunity. In the words of Livingston:". . .the timing was perfect. We had a core of enthusiastic weavers just as Anna Bennett (Curator of Textiles, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum) was pulling together her exhibit (“Five Centuries of Tapestry” held at the Legion of Honor in 1976-77) and talking of a demonstration project. . . We had the weavers. Mark Adams designed a cartoon that he felt would be simple but effective (“California Poppies”) - something that could be done in 6 weeks. Miraculously, it all came off!”

below: Mark Adams, "California Poppies," 54" x 36", 1977 woven by the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop.

Once the demonstration project was complete, Jean-Pierre Larochette along with three students involved in the project, Ernestine Bianchi, Phoebe McAfee, and Ruth Tanenbaum(Scheuer), set the groundwork for forming a tapestry workshop. They established the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop in 1977 which became a nucleus and well-spring for a growing interest of fiber-based artists in pictorial imagery. Over 300 artists worked or trained at the SFTW over the years and many continue as professional artist/weavers today.

The San Francisco Tapestry Workshop completed many important commissions during its reign on Chattanooga Street in Noe Valley. The first was a series of tapestry hangings and upholstery for Temple Emanu-el . . .designed by Yael Lurie. This was followed by a highly-visible collaboration with artist Judy Chicago for six tapestries for her “Dinner Party” exhibition.

below: Yael Lurie, Harmony, woven by the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop
below: Judy Chicago "Dinner Party Banner" 60" x 37", 1977 woven by the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop.

Glimpses and Recollections

By Jean Pierre Larochette

When the San Francisco Tapestry Workshop (S.F.T.W.) opened its doors in the fall of 1977, itdescribed itself as patterned after the European “atelier,” with an educational and hands-on program that allowed for extended studies and professional experience.. .

Coincidentally the activities of the S.F.T.W. ceased where they had started, at an event at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum. A last weaving demonstration was held during Jean LurVat’s “Song of the World” exhibition, in 1988.

Below: SFTW weavers, "Gemini," from a Lurçat cartoon, 1988

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