The Tapestry Technique
A tapestry is constructed more or less like a brick wall. No element may be woven until the previous elements are in place to support it. Thus I have to be absolutely sure of myself before I begin or I will have to undo it later. Yet I leave myself open to innovation while I’m working. To simultaneously be absolutely sure and also free to experiment with new techniques as the piece grows is the core of good weaving.
The foundation of every tapestry is the warp, the threads that extend lengthwise in the loom and upon which the design is woven. I use Irish linen, chosen for its strength and durability.
The patterns in my tapestries are created in the weft — the threads that are woven into the warp. Much as other artists use paint, I employ a variety of different wefts to achieve different colors and tones. My palette includes mixtures of Australian grown, English dyed merino wool; Scottish tweed wool; Swedish wool; Japanese silk; and lots of other materials as the inspiration strikes me. Blending strands of all of these yarns produces the desired colors.
Each tapestry is a unique work of art, taking many months to complete.
My techniques are always evolving as I try new ways of expressing forms to give an illusion of movement or of light and shadow in my tapestries. Sometimes my means of rendering an element will evolve even within a single tapestry.