2019 Awardee-Lena Schwartz

Lena Schwartz
4:47 P.M. September 3rd, 2018
69 in x 38 in
Wool weft, cotton warp.

Artist Statement

Lena Schwartz explores both age and time. The inspiration for her work is both an exploration of age and a challenge to attempt a faithful depiction of a person and environment with tapestry weaving. The process of tapestry weaving is a long one. It takes patience and dedication, time to figure out and dye the wool. It is an incomparable method of displaying reality. Weaving is contemplative, within the process itself and the viewers’ participation in unpacking the terrain.

Through woven realistic portraiture Lena is trying to capture and admire specific moments though this very laborious craft. Each specific detail is emphasized and thought out, carefully articulated with wool. The significance of each of these pieces is stressed by the usage of this medium. Time has been spent in harmony with time lived. Age has shifted and become tangible, soft. In the late medieval and Renaissance eras, magnificent tapestries were commissioned by powerful rulers to exhibit their wealth. Scenes depicted extravagant narratives with impeccable detail. Taking in consideration the profuse historical significance of tapestry weaving, Lena weaves scenes that are worthy of momentousness, time, and precision.

Lena Schwartz
Betsy in the Pond, 2018
58 in x 36.5 in
Wool weft, cotton warp. Photographed by Jill LeVine.


Lena Schwartz is a double major in Studio Art and Art History at Skidmore College where she found tapestry through the fiber arts program. Lena has always loved working with her hands and found tapestry as a really wonderful way of melding craft and fine art. The weft-facing hand weaving allows her to generate images as one could with painting or drawing. Lena wants to push the boundaries of what she has seen in the contemporary use of this medium and continue to explore subject matter revolving around figurative and environmental narratives. Lena loves the fuzzy lines, the smooth gradients, and the appearance of three-dimensionality that you can achieve with weaving. For her, the process of weaving creates a dynamic and energetic line quality that perfectly captures a moment in time.

Lena Schwartz
Study, 2018
13.5 in x 10.5 in
Wool and cotton weft, cotton warp. Photographed by Jill LeVine.