Summer 2007 Vol 33 No 2

A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

©2006 American Tapestry Alliance

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 Summer 2007 issue. < Back     Page > 1 2 3 4

Raison D’etre – An Homage to Jim Brown

By Shelley Socolofsky

Jim Brown's life work has been about bringing together individuals to formulate strength through alliance . . .While living and working for the airlines in San Francisco during the 1960s, he had often passed by Hal Painter’s North Beach tapestry shop/studio, but had only met him many years later in Sonoma County. He convinced Hal to take him on as an apprentice. . . . Teaching had always been a part of Hal’s studio. [They} started summer tapestry workshops at a campground in a remote spot in the middle of Oregon – 12 miles outside of Chiloquin, offering some of the first tapestry retreat experiences in the United States.

…The question of how it would be possible for tapestry artists in the late 20th century to make a living at their craft was the crux that prompted the formation of American Tapestry Alliance [in 1982].. . . Jim recognized that within this climate of frenetic progress and productivity came a hunger, a backlash of response to this crisis in craft.

below: Jim Brown, "Remodeled exterior of cabin near Chiloquin, OR"

below: Jim Brown, "Updated interior of cabin near Chiloquin, OR"

Invited Artist Profile: Marcel Marois

By Linda Rees

For many tapestry artists in the United States, "Panorama of Tapestry," held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to coincide with the Handweavers Guild of America's "Convergence '86" was our first exposure to a survey exhibition of North American contemporary tapestry. The organizers, ATA founders Jim Brown and Hal Painter, decided to feature two invited artists besides the juried artists. Marcel Marois was selected to represent Canada…

Marcel was introduced to contemporary tapestry as a third year painting major at the École des Beaux-Arts in Quebec City, in 1969.. . . It quickly became his major interest. . . Creating large tapestries to fit the demands of that era, his career was directed primarily toward exhibiting in Quebec and internationally in France and other European venues.

… Besides the large and dramatic "Analogie Temps" in the ATA exhibit that year, he had two medium size photo realistic pieces in the "4th Montréal Tapestry Biennial" and a second large tapestry, "Tension Progressive," in the other major North American tapestry exhibit produced in 1986, "Tapestry: Contemporary Imagery/Ancient Tradition"…"Tension Progressive" had been woven in 1982 for an important Canadian exhibit "Canada Mikrokosma - Contemporary Canadian Tapestries"…

… Now, over twenty years after the stimulating year of 1986, he observes that while the way he visually expresses himself has changed, his content remains essentially a statement about "the emotional and internal dimension of an issue related to environment and humanity." Even though his current work is more abstract, he still has a need to stay connected to photography and to "refer to texts and images as a departure for a design for tapestry, something I do not need when I do drawing for exhibitions."

below: Marcel Marois, "Miroirs – Turbulance," 80" x 126", 2000.

below:Marcel Marois, "Tension Progressive," 72" x 124", 1982.

The Artists, Early ATA Exhibitors
1986 "Panorama of Tapestry"

Barbara Heller

A silver anniversary is a milestone that evokes feelings of nostalgia and causes one to look both backward and forward. Twenty-five years ago I had begun to express myself solely through tapestry…

The art/craft debate, so important 25 years ago, now seems irrelevant when mixed media is the watchword of contemporary art. I think it is now time that we, ourselves, take the next step and expand our definition of tapestry beyond the rigidity of “a weft-faced, flat-surfaced, hand-woven fabric in which the warp is completely covered by discontinuous wefts to create imagery.” Why shouldn’t tapestry have exposed warps? Why shouldn’t it have textured areas? Why shouldn’t it be freestanding or 3-dimensional or incorporate non-woven objects? Why shouldn’t it be painted or burned or crumpled or shaped? Why shouldn’t tapestry break from pre-conceived ideas to best express the artist/weaver’s personal vision? Just look at the work in the current biennial.

Pease visit the ATA Web Gallery exhibit:
"Barbara Heller: Work Over Time"

Susan Hart Henegar

In the mid 1970s I discovered pictorial tapestry and entered the first teaching program at the SFTW in the fall of 1978, right after the workshop had woven the birthing panels for the Judy Chicago dinner party project.

. . .My own work has gone full circle a couple of times…. In the early 1980s my pieces were fairly small, 4-6 sq. ft. at 8-10 epi. based on drawings and photographs, usually of panoramic landscapes. As my work got larger it also became more abstract. …I began to work in series in 1989.

After thyroid surgery in 1997 slowed me down considerably, my work investigated non-tapestry expression including the playful “Fashion Icons”, Vintage fabric “Saddle Blanket Quilts”, and the “Postcard Series” which is work on paper. . In 2002 I was commissioned to weave a fairly large piece (33 sq. ft) and had only 3.5 months to design and install it! I used all my knowledge and interests to reinvent the way I worked. . . I am delighted to have found a way to use all my interests so successfully.

Below: Susan Hart Henegar, "Hart's Bluff," 48" x 84", 2006.

left: Susan Hart Henegar, "Sketch #2," for tapestry 93" x 51", 20

Susan Hart Henegar, "¿Como No?" 42" x 56", 19

Tricia Goldberg

I fell in love with the medium of traditional flat tapestry more than 25 years ago. Designing, weaving, and teaching tapestry are as important to me now as they were then. …My favorite way of working is to have a design that I understand how to weave, but which allows room for experimentation and play during all that wonderful time it takes to weave it. . .

I am thrilled and honored to be in this spring’s exhibition, "American Tapestry Biennial 6,” with its final venue in San José, California, near my home in Berkeley.

Below: below:
Tricia Goldberg, "Sunflowers with Red Cloth," 11" x 14",
1999; wool, silk. Photo by Don Dosick.

right: Tricia Goldberg, "Quilt with Tulips," 42" x 34",
1984; wool, perle cotton.

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