. . . During my time at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax... I spent most of my time in the textile department. The basic tapestry weaving I learned ...was the first and last tapestry work I did for many years. Instead, I focused on a variety of weaving, dyeing, and screen printing techniques. My interests were rooted in combining surface treatment and woven cloth. I constantly explored layering, dyeing, and screen printing on my woven items. In my final year ...I was convinced sculptural weaving was the way to go. In 1998, I graduated ...I continued weaving sculptural forms and exhibiting locally. ...I had a few exhibitions of wall hangings I had woven in tapestry technique with appliquéd images on the surface. However, the concentration on tapestry work did not start until I went to Korea in 2001.
below: Andrea Butler, Mini forms, approx 3" x 5", 2006: wool, cotton, silk fabric.
Photo by the artist.
right: Andrea Butler, "Dave Teacher," 7"x8 1/2": 2003: wool, linen warp. Photo by the artist
While living in Incheon, South Korea for thirteen months, I taught English as a second language to students from kindergarten to high school. I had no idea that it would be my students who would give me the stimulation to start weaving. The first series of tapestries was completed while I was in Korea. It was based on images my kindergarten students were drawing. I was inspired by their simple shapes and imaginative subject matter.
...It was with one friend in particular that I shared artistic inspiration in the concrete walls of buildings and alleyways we explored throughout Korean neighbourhoods... These walls were used to put up posters, advertisements, flyers, etc. The array of colour was fascinating. The amount of texture was splendid. As we communicated the beauty found within small areas of the images and how something so mundane and unnoticed could be so visually appealing, I resolved to produce a series of tapestries upon my return to Canada. I would use abstractions from his photographs to produce tapestries reflecting my time in Korea. It occurred to me that there was a linear connection to the layering in the photographs and the layering of yarn in a tapestry. ...I would be exploring the detached impressions the culture had left on me. From the beginning, even though they were flat, I considered the pieces [of "Cultural Walls" as] three dimensional, intending them to be viewed from both sides and not hung against a wall. It was my experience with three-dimensional weaving that brought about thoughts of two-sided tapestries.
below: Andrea Butler, "Parade," side one, 2004, 19"x27": wool. cotton, linen, wire. Photo by Rob Roy
below: Andrea Butler, "Parade," side two, 2004, 19"x27": wool. cotton, linen, wire. Photo by Rob Roy
right: Andrea Butler, "So Far," 9”x12”, 2006:
wool/ rayon chenille/ cotton/ linen/ heat transfer on silk/ thread.
Photo by the artist
One of my other great loves is combining drawing and collage work. My current body of work is based on this process. It is a series of self portraits, where the “cartoons” are collages. They were created by drawing one blind contour a day for eight days. These drawings quickly turned into collages with watercolour pencils, stickers, photographic images, text and found items. I am translating these images into cloth, with layers of photographic images, text and stitching.
below: Andrea Butler, "A Trace of What She Was," side 1, 35" x 42", ATB6 entry
below: Andrea Butler, "A Trace of What She Was," side 2, 35" x 42", ATB6 entry
ATA Award to Sharon Warren
”Wildflowers of the Sierras" by Sharon Warren received an ATA Award for best tapestry in the "Showcase" exhibit at the Southern California Conference of Handweavers in March, 2007. Sharon converted a logo originally designed for the "Handweavers of the Valley" regional fiber arts guild by graphic artist Theresa Doffing, into a tapestry as a volunteer project for the guild.
below: Sharon Warren, "Handweavers of the Valley," 27" x 41", 2007