Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thoughts about the frequently boring process of weaving tapestry...

... from my mentor, Archie Brennan:

"Some years ago, I was weaving a quite large area of plain black when some men set off for the moon.  They got there before I was finished.
I work in a minor art form.  Tapestry is an indulgent, elitist, economically farcical, and frequently boring 20th century activity." 
Archie made these comments as part of his statement about his work in the catalog for the World Tapestry Today exhibit held in 1988-89.  It wasn't all a downer, though, because a few lines later he talks about his delight "... in the required degree of preplanning and the order of growth, slowly and erratically from one edge."  But reading his comments certainly made me take note back in 1988 when I came across them in the catalog.  I was a fledgling tapestry weaver then.  I've woven quite a bit of tapestry in the past couple of decades but I often bring Archie's comment to mind when I'm engaged in slogging through what seems to be an endless area of sameness.  Like the blue sky is right now in this feathers tapestry.  But then, the sky and the feathers are what this tapestry is all about.

So... onward and upward.  More square feet of blue to go.


  1. Is one allowed to be bored weaving tapestry, you so frequently get comments saying what a relaxing process it is. My maximum length of time for staying at the loom is asbout an hour before I need to get up and have a stretch, try and straighten my knees and unknot my back.
    I know bad posture nothing to do with concentrating on the weaving process.

  2. Yes, one's allowed to be bored weaving tapestry, in my opinion! Pushing through the boredom with persistence and discipline is the only way that any tapestry is ever completed.

    I also get up about every hour or so. I often listen to music or books on CD or podcasts that are about 45 mins. long. Once one finishes I get up, move around, put on more music, book chapter, etc.

    I almost never wonder, though, why I continue to do tapestry work if I find it boring and tedious sometimes. The end product makes me so happy that the time and discipline it takes me to get to see it completed is well worth it.