Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Monumental Masterpiece

I know very little about weaving besides warp ( the vertical strands) and weft (the horizontal strands that rhyme with "left".) But on April 25th, I was invited to Martha Christian's studio to witness the cutting of her tapestry from her 80" loom. What a treat for all of us who gathered to be a part of the process. Her studio, dominated by the loom, is a spacious room over the garage in her home.

 Isn't this a HUGE loom?

After sampling the refreshments and chatting with the other guests, we listened to Martha speak a bit before beginning the cutting and tieing procedure to remove the tapestry from its birthing place.

Martha Christian is a tiny person. The photography makes her seem much larger than she actually is.

Here she is talking to us about the process. She holds the cartoon drawing of the finished work. The "cartoon" is the design of the work. 

A closeup of the loom with lots and lots of knots

Lots and lots of string  

That must be cut precisely and knotted

To free the tapestry from the loom

Then, it took several people to move and position the tapestry on the wall where we all could see it better. That "we" included Martha herself, since the weaver doesn't get to see more than a 6" swath as she weaves.

Martha with her creation

explaining the connections
And the completed work
The wools are wildly intense and saturate the senses. It is magnificent in color and scale,
don't you agree?

Last week Martha sent me this photo of the tapestry blocked out on the floor

with this note:
"Finally I finished sewing the slits. Now the tapestry is pinned to the rug pad and ready for steam pressing. Wish you were here to crawl around with me.  Martha"

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