Tapestry Weaving Weekend Workshop

While visiting family in Edinburgh, I had the opportunity to attend a tapestry weaving workshop by Fiona Hutchinson, an accomplished Scottish tapestry artist and teacher.

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My First Tapestry Sample

The workshop was held at Fiona’s WASPS studio, in Stockbridge. It was so inspiring to be able to see her beautiful tapestries, some of which were at different stages of development and to see the sources for her tapestry designs.

Fiona taught the basic tapestry techniques but first and foremost, she emphasized the importance of research and preparation of the artwork for the tapestry design.

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Fiona’s color trials and sketches for a series of tapestries based on the sea

Tapestries today are not created as woven versions of illustrations or paintings; they are created as artwork in their own right where the weaves and fibers create a unique piece that cannot be interpreted in any way other than as a tapestry.

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Tools of the Trade
Fiona explained that tapestry weaving is a very slow process; it calls for careful preparation of artwork, extensive color, weave and yarn trials and then it takes a long time to weave. The tools and techniques are relatively simple and have not changed in eons; that gives a sense of continuity, a feeling of being part of a long history of textiles. I like that.
Maybe because of these very same reasons, tapestry weaving is no longer taught at degree level, at any college in Britain.

For more information about Fiona, her tapestries and her tapestry workshops: http://fionahutchinson.co.

On returning to USA, I went to see The Beat Goes On Tapestry Weavers South at the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center, Main Gallery, Asheville, NC. This is a show of Southern Tapestry Weavers at the Folk Art Center from September 14 – January 12, 2014