What Happens When You Pull Warps?

By Laura Lawrence

This was certainly not a question I pondered before signing up for the one-day pulled-warp tapestry workshop at Convergence 2002. When I saw the title, though, I was intrigued. So I registered, not having a clue what to

I received the generic pre-Convergence workshop supply/equipment lists. I don't know why, but the statement that multi-harness looms would be available for rent made me think that my $8 canvas stretcher-bar loom would
be too humble. Also, since I had formed opinions of what pulled warp tapestry might be, I was afraid my continuous figure-eight warp would not work. Ah, Laura! You should know by now that tapestry artists are resourceful, and simple is always better. (I won't bore you by going into how I learned that an $8 loom would have been better than the $50-plus-shipping one I got days before leaving for Vancouver)

Susan Iverson was the instructor. She introduced the technique by showing slides of work I had never imagined, including much of her own. This lecture/slide presentation
was the most effective slide show I've seen. In this case, each picture was worth a thousand words, and Susan's
commentary doubled that value. Besides explaining the technique and what it produces, she told us something that gave me hope as a late-blooming artist. After learning the technique, it lay dormant in Susan's battery of tools for well over a decade before emerging as a signature for much of her work.

So, what exactly is pulled warp tapestry? My description is basic at best. I do not presume to inform anyone who already knows. But since this is a "personal experience" essay, I'll give you my take on it. By leaving large blank spaces of various shapes and at various intervals while weaving, and then closing the resulting gaps in the weft by pulling the warps, the tapestry can become three-dimensional and/or irregular in form.

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Horizon - Dreaming Sacsahuaman
by Susan Iverson
Pulled Warp Technique
shown with and without spacers
before and after “pulling”