written by Deborah Chandler and Teresa Cordon,
photographed by Joe Coca,
has kept me enthralled for weeks.
It is a visual and narrative treat.
Indeed, I am somewhat embarrassed
to post my photos
as they are such a poor imitation of the actual book.
But I guess we'll have to put up with the blunt tools
at hand, for that is what I have just now.
loom, spindle, shovel, camera,
are only the beginning.
it is hand wielding them
that makes all the difference between
and the glorious.
There are descriptions of technique throughout --
things I have never seen (much less understood),
Doubled sided brocade, for instance.
There are colors
and artisans talking, in detail, about color choices.
I read of years
filled with yarn and
I learned of
loss and renewal
Some of the stories are hard.
Guatemalan history has been
fraught with human and natural disaster.
And yet it is the intertwining
of circumstance and artistry,
of controlled skill and uncontrollable events
that make the book so good.
(published by THRUMS )
is also a wonderful reminder
with spindle in hand
I feel fortunate to be connected,
and only by a thread
to weavers opening sheds, everywhere.
(Yeah, I know. Textile metaphors. But what else could I say???)
Tapestries From Egypt,
was written and published in 1961.
but the images inside
are fresh and delightful
and the book
a great companion to
the current TEx@ATA Exhibition
Threads of Life, Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre, Egypt:
A Journey in Creativity
curated by Ikram Nosshi
and Susanne Wissa Wassef
of the American Tapestry Alliance
I admit to being the person
responsible for lining up the exhibitions--
but please don't let that put you off.
The ideas of Ramses Wissa Wassef
and the astonishing tapestries (originally woven only by young children with no art training), are vivid, compelling and oh so very satisfying.
From the Natural Dyes grown on site at the Center
to the fluid, narrative images...
Never mind my words.
Just Click HERE
and you'll be in the midst of it.
Also, if you happen to be in NYC in the near future
I believe you can see (or even buy) Wissa Wassef tapestries at
the Store at Metropolitan Museum of Art
If you're extra lucky,
you might even find a copy of the book somewhere too!
(and I do apologize for the length of this post-- I fear that if I don't write about all three I'll get distracted by weaving or spinning or embroidery or drawing or some other of the absurd number of things to which I devote my days, and won't get back to it),
is Small Woven Tapestries by Mary Rhodes.
another reminder of the importance of value in tapestry.
(As if, says anyone who has ever taken one of my tapestry workshops,
she would ever stop talking about it).
from myriad periods of tapestry history
though mostly from the time in which she wrote.
that whether one is in contemporary Guatemala,
or late 20th Century Egypt
or Pre-Incan Peru
or 1970's Britain
or Instagram in 2015
There is not much that is truly new in the world of warp and weft.