The Looms and the Art of Ulrika Leander

Mid-Shore Arts: The Looms and Art of Ulrika Leander

The art world has just a few very special heros who take it upon themselves to work in mediums requiring intense intricacy, precision, and endless patience to complete their work. And nowhere else can one find that special breed stand out more than those who chose the art of tapestry for their artistic expression.

And one can officially include the Mid-Shore’s Ulrika Leander in that select group.

Starting at the age of thirteen in her native Sweden, Ulrika has become one of the great masters of the loom with her intentionally beautiful and large tapestries created in her generous studio a short walk from the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry.

Like clockwork, Ulrika works every day in front of one of her three custom-built looms to produce art that is proudly hung in museums and private homes throughout the world. With a typical project taking well over six months to complete, Leander has found a particular zone to operate in as she plots along a single line of fiber during a day’s work.

In her Spy interview a few weeks ago, she talks about this unique, centuries-old practice, and how she enjoys the special challenges that come with the making one-of-a-kind tapestries.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information on Ulrika Leander work and studio, please go here.

Butterfly tapestry

In the middle of the winter it’s quite lovely to weave a tapestry reminding you about summertime. This tapestry is woven from the side using a very complex technique. The 4th image shows the design in the correct direction. Finished, the tapestry will measure about 48 ins high and 72 ins wide. I started the tapestry in November 2016 and I estimate that the weaving process will take me through late spring. The tapestry will be available for sale when completed.

Contemporary Tapestry Weaving – tapestry@goeaston.net

butterflyfjaril-detalj-december-21-2016butterfly-progress-dec-21jan-2jan-3

A beautiful home with an artist’s studio is for sale

FrontImage 6Image 5Image 105592 Poplar Ln, Royal Oak, MD 21662

 3 beds 3 baths 5,217 sqft

For Sale
$749,000
With a superb location next to the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry, park, and boat ramp, this spacious home combines a sense of history with an open, contemporary feel. Gourmet eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors, high ceilings, lots of light, plus a 1700 SF artist’s studio and gallery that could be additional living space.

What I love about the home

The property sits on four lots and has a wealth of mature trees, perennial flowerbeds and raised gardens. The large parking lot allows easy storage for boats or recreational vehicles. Located 7 minutes from St. Michaels and 11 minutes from Easton, fine eating and shopping, music, theatre and galleries are just a short drive away. A perfect home, conveniently located for those who love biking, boating, fishing, and walking or simply need a peaceful place to live and work.

Open House

  • 7/17 12pm-2pm

Facts

  • Baths: 2 full, 1 half
  • Lot: 0.69 acres
  • Single Family
  • Built in 1898

Features

  • Cable Ready
  • Double Pane/Storm Windows
  • Fireplace
  • Flooring: Hardwood, Tile
  • Garden
  • Lawn
  • Parking: Carport, 2 spaces
  • Patio
  • Porch
  • Security System

Here is the link to view the tour

 

 

 

Corbusier Tapestry

Le Corbusier Tapestry Unveiled at the Sydney Opera House, 58 Years After Commission

Earlier this week, fifty-eight years after it was commissioned, a seventy-square-foot wool tapestry by Le Corbusier was finally installed at the Sydney Opera House. The work was originally commissioned by the architect who designed the iconic waterfront opera house, Jørn Utzon. At that time Utzon was an unknown and Le Corbusier, at the height of his career, rarely collaborated with other architects, reports Caroline Taïx, Le Monde’s Sydney-based correspondent

In 1960, Le Corbusier delivered the red and black tapestry titled Les Dés Sont Jetés (The Dice Are Cast), but, as the opera was still under construction, Utzon kept it in his home in Denmark. Then, in 1965 amidst construction delays, budget problems, and creative differences, Utzon left the project. In 1973 when the opera finally opened, neither the architect nor the tapestry went to Sydney.

Utzon died in 2008 and The Dice Are Cast was sold at as part of an auction of his collection last year. It was purchased more than $300,000 by donors to the Sydney Opera.

What is Tapestry

Tapestry is one of the oldest forms of woven textiles. The techniques used have remained the same for centuries. Remnants of tapestries woven in ancient Egypt have been dated as far back as 3000BC.

In the Middle Ages master weavers’ studios designed and wove great, colorful tapestries for wealthy clients. In the Renaissance artists such as Raphael were commissioned to produce cartoons for studios to copy, giving weavers less freedom of interpretation. Surviving tapestries from these times can still be seen, though they sometimes look rather dull and predominantly beige, blue and red. That’s because vibrant yellows, greens, purples and browns have disappeared as the dyes used have faded away.

Today, tapestry weaving is dominated by individual weavers producing their own designs, though a few studios where large tapestries are woven from artists’ cartoons still survive. Traditional fibers (wool, silk and linen) continue to be used, together with cotton and other more modern materials.

What defines a tapestry?

 The following define a tapestry

 1 cm tick Tapestries are hand woven on a loom. Tapestry looms are either vertical (high warp) or horizontal (low warp). 
 1 cm tick The design is formed by the weft (horizontal) threads, which are tightly packed to cover the warp (vertical) threads. The warp threads are normally completely covered so play no part in the design. This is known as ‘weft facing’. 
 1 cm tick Each color of weft is worked only in its own section of the design, so there are many different wefts on the go at any one time. Unlike other types of weaving, it is rare for the weft to run across the entire width of the piece. This is known as ‘discontinuous weft’ as shown in the diagram.
woven_tapestry
 1 cm tick Tapestries are usually made to hang on a wall (though rugs, cushion covers and three-dimensional installations can also be made). 

 

What’s not tapestry?

Fine tapestries take a long time to weave, so have long been rare and expensive. Perhaps because of this, the term ‘tapestry’ has been purloined by other techniques to produce textiles and wall hangings, often resembling tapestry but at a much lower cost. Common culprits are:

    • ‘Tapestry’ chair-backs, screens, cushions etc., including those sold in kit form.
      Needlepoint, canvas-work, wool-work (a design is inked onto canvas or a similar fabric, then stitched with a needle to create the patterns and pictures)

 

    • The 11th Century Bayeux ‘Tapestry’, The Quaker ‘Tapestry’ (completed 1989) and The Great ‘Tapestry’ of Scotland (completed in 2013).
      These are embroidered wall-hangings.

 

    • Grayson Perry’s Walthamstow ‘Tapestry’ and the “The Vanity of Small Differences” series of six ‘tapestries’ – These are computer-controlled jacquard weaving (the design is formed by intricately-colored warp AND weft threads)

 

  • Large-scale ‘tapestry’ wall hangings and installations produced by various fibre-artistsThese can be a mix of any/all of (non-tapestry) weaving, threading, knotting, felting and embroidery

How to recognize a tapestry

On any tapestry you’ll see characteristic lines of ridges where the weft threads go over the warp threads. This tells you it’s a genuine woven tapestry. During weaving, and sometimes when completed and hung, these lines of ridges run vertically from the top to the bottom of the tapestry.

But the lines of ridges may run horizontally. This is because tapestries, especially large ones, are often woven so that the warps will be horizontal when hung. This distributes the weight of the tapestry better and prevents the wefts sliding down the warps with time (as happened with the Christ in Glory tapestry at Coventry Cathedral). When hung like this, the design has to be woven sideways on.

 

 

 

IMG_20160329_144541492

ctw-tapestry.com

Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO – “IMPACT”, March 18-April 29, 2016 – “The Juror’s Choice Award”

Before Time high res

 The tapestry “Before Time” received the “Juror’s Choice Award” in the exhibit “Impact”.
 ctw-tapestry.com

impact

March 18 – April 29, 2016

OPENING RECEPTION | MARCH 18, 6 – 8 PM | FREE

THE EXHIBITION

“Impact” explores the motivations of the artist to create. We ask the artist to answer through their artwork, “What inspires you? Who or what is the driving force behind your need to create? What has left an impression on you that lead you to become the artist you are today?” Whether it is a mentor, an event, a concept, or a personal revelation, this exhibition will examine the many avenues that impact the contemporary artist.

ACCEPTED ARTISTS

Ann Aurbach, Darcy Berg, Joyce Blunk, Matthew Boonstra, Christine Casten, Dion Dion, Emily Dvorin, Michael Fischerkeller, Morris Fletcher, Marni Gable, Jennifer Halli, Michelle Hamilton, Lisa Hinrichs, Mercedes Jelinek, Kris Kessinger, Ruth Kolker, Ulrika Leander, Heather Macali, Melissa McCutcheon, Ed McKay, Rachel Meginnes, Caitlin Metz, Linda Mueller, William Neukomm, Sara Nordling, Elizabeth Odiorne, Geoffrey Parker, Judith Repke, Rachel Santel, Carolyn Schlueter, Elizabeth Sharpe, Suzanne Sidebottom, Samuel Strecker, Michelle Streiff, Brittany Taylor, Ben Underwood, Barbara Watler, Jerry Walters, Teresa Wang, Peggy Wyman, and David Yates.

Juror

Jane Sauer

Jane Sauer is a studio artist, juror, lecturer, curator and former owner of Jane Sauer Gallery in Santa Fe, NM. She served as Chair of the American Craft Council 1997-2000, besides serving on numerous other art related boards,  and is currently the owner of Sauer Art Consultants.

Sauer’s woven sculptures often consist of pairs or small groups and explore human relationships, particularly those in her own life. Her list of honors includes two NEA grants and taking first place at the Fourth International Exhibit of Miniature Textiles at the British Crafts Centre in London. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the American Craft Museum in New York, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Black Night (in 3 parts), Jane Sauer

Concurrence, Jane Sauer

Elaborate Layers, Jane Sauer

Foundry Art Centre

520 N. Main Center

St. Charles, MO 63301

636-255-0270

Tapestry Art

Tapestry As An Art Form 

 By Ixchel Suarez   

 

When we come across the word tapestry, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably it would be those ancient huge tapestries generally called Gobelins, where the hunting scenes inscribed in the verdures, take our eyes into a deep field or forest. Or maybe we think of the great fantastic European castles with mythological animals like Unicorns or winged lions. Maybe we would go even further back in antiquity, when  Coptic tapestries appeared in several areas of Greece, or we think of the Peruvian lands where plain weaves have been found that date from 1000 BC or even older.

Even though  tapestries were known on the banks of the Nile River almost two thousand years before the Christian era, it is likely that the art had been practiced in other, adjoining civilizations even before then. Tapestries were made in western Asia and Greece and also in Pre-Columbian Peru or Mexico as well as in China during the T’ang period.

 

Since actual textile fragments are rarely preserved, our information about tapestry from those remote times is based largely on written descriptions, paintings or sculptures. Some samples of Egyptian specimen from royal tombs date from 1483 BC. Examples of Chinese tapestries from the 8th century are now in the Taimadera Temple in Japan. Tapestries hanging in the church of St Gereon at Cologne were probably made in that city at the close of the 11th Century. No doubt, these are the oldest examples of tapestry woven in Europe in the early Middle Ages. Tapestries have evolved from diverse techniques of textile forms and shapes. However, the basic structure has remained the same.

As we survey our evidence for the various types of basic weaves thus collected from a wide geographical and temporal expanse, we begin to see some emerging patterns.  emerging. Broadly speaking, the materials used for  weaving  influenced the variety of   application and the structure of the woven article   in the Neolithic and Early Bronze ages. Eventually, these  basic weave structures  begin to influence each other. It is undoubtedly no accident that the difference between loom traditions correlates with the division between the European set of weaves on one hand (from the home of the warp-weighted loom) and the Egyptian and Middle Eastern traditions on the other (in two beam ground-loom territory). It is also no coincidence that this division, while it lasted, correlates with the fact who was and who was not using wool. Everyone was familiar with linen, but for Egypt it was in effect the only major fibre. For other groups, wool became more and more important and eventually eclipsed linen. One of the main reasons for the preferred use of wool was the fact that it was infinitely easier to dye  and the colours were brighter and therefore even more attractive to the eye.

But let’s not get too deep into structural details. The question remains: Was tapestry an art form then? Is it still an art form now? There is a tendency to compare the art of tapestry with the inseparable art of painting. The distance however is considerable, for there is a basic difference between tapestry which is a manual craft, subject (but not exclusively) to a model, and painting, which enjoys complete creative freedom. Tapestry, one might say, loses certain spontaneity, yet other characteristics which distinguish it from painting contribute to its richness and provide it with immense artistic impact.

There was a time when tapestry was a collective art and could be compared to the performance of a symphony. The “composer” was the cartoon painter and the weavers were the “musicians”. And yet, when one transposes a painted cartoon into the woven work, the weaver, who is both artisan AND artist, must call upon the skill of years of training and even  individual personality, to capture every nuance of the tapestry design.

Where, then is the essence or the heart of the weaver when one should follow  a cartoon-project but  on the way  finds the media as the most  expressive language? When,  in the transfiguration, the project becomes one with the artist? What happens to all those inner forces that during the weaving process seem to attack us, make us feel drawn to this or that material for our project? Is it valid to let our explorations run free – – to interpret our feelings, or should we limit the creative process of weaving to suit the cartoon?

As a tapestry weaver and occasional painter for more than 24 years , I can tell you that one of my main design-related challenges in tapestry is precisely this problem: how to define the boundary between the design in the cartoon and the creative weaving process itself. My background as Graphic Designer has taught me how to compose and create my projects; my weaving skills on the other hand, have taught me how to create the flow, how to use  the technique to  make it into a defined idea; my artistic perception of the craft/art have led me to experiment with all the different materials available – – not necessarily following traditional practices. It seems essential to me,  that sometimes, in order to pursue the idea, the weaver  has to sacrifice something  to accomplish a goal.

This is tough to do. As an artist, I am constantly choosing between the original project, the technique and the final vision of my work. To sacrifice one in order to preserve the other is for me the ultimate artistic expression.

During the Middle Ages tapestry was a “useful art”. Hangings adorned the walls of royal and princely residences but also those of churches. Chambers of tapestries were effective insulations against draughts. But the fundamental purpose of tapestry was to cover a large surface and offer the possibility of monumental decorations. However, it was the technique which provided the force of expression and it  set mural tapestry on the level of great art.  That was understood by every well positioned person enamored by beauty, regardless who created the work  or where it originated from. . It is in this period that the greatest series of tapestries made their appearance, whether religious,   pagan, mythological or realistic. The looms of Europe produced innumerable tapestries to celebrate great individual deeds and conquests or to proclaim the teachings of the Church. Thus we see that in every period in time, tapestry was considered a work of sumptuous, expressive and   original art.

During the last century, tapestry lost its role of major importance. Today, after more than a hundred years, thanks to the joint efforts of cartoon painters and weavers, it has once again become an expression of the human spirit.  However, it has also generated a  particularly controversial debate regarding the  division between design, craft and art.  To  clearly define the role between  the painter who visualizes the project and the weaver, who either executes or interprets it, may seem to serve a practical  purpose;  it is also  brutal and somehow rash.  It makes no sense to me to get caught up in trying to establish a “supremacy”  amongst the many people who are involved in the design and production fiber art.  As art,  tapestry becomes the media with which  to explore and develop possibilities; as such, it  is a glorious combination of  aesthetics, concept and technique.

Contemporary fiber art is interesting and vital precisely because it exists in the space between the  rigid and divisive  categories of craft and art. .  Tapestries are no longer classified as either functional/educational or aesthetic, but have become interpretations and expressions of individuals.  As such, they exist on a new plane.      Through these textiles, individuals are able to  demonstrate a balance of design and craft.

While recognizing that an avant-garde approach is always important, there is also a need for good, sober, contemporary work that satisfies the mass of consumer design. Ultimately, it is variety that characterizes the renaissance of tapestry production. I am glad that reviving the art of tapestry is breaking free of  dogmatism.

The contemporary movement is tolerant of all kinds of content. Tapestry has now conquered elements that have fractured previously strict traditional European techniques. A vast universe of textures, colors and sensorial stimulus has made the explorations of new ideas for tapestry projects possible. As such , it straddles the huge  chasm between craft and art.

Tapestry weavers prove with their work that excellent knowledge of the craft of weaving is not enough. One has to be able to express aesthetically what fills the human soul. This has always been at center of the artistic element. Tapestry requires patience. It seems out of sync with the current speed of life, the technological advances and the many forms of rapid communications. Is there no place for such a “slow” and meticulous art as tapestry? Is there no time for infinite patience? My personal refuge is precisely to escape into this kind of “motionless” time. It makes my mind travel to other times and spaces. It makes my body enter into a relaxed state of mind where I can forget about – – but also deal with – – my every- day life stress. I always look forward to the moment when I can sit in front of my frame loom, and enter another dimension on my life.

Tapestry is not only about the craft of weaving, nor is it simply textile artists “doing their thing”. It opens up possibilities of expression and thought. It opens up possibilities to interpret the past and to examine the present. It makes us aware of dogmas and our ability to go beyond .

I wish you weavers many such “woven moments” in your life. Share your intricate feelings with your projects! Tapestry as an art form – – an expression of our innermost self – should never vanish.

Over Dancing Water (2)

 

Why Tapestry?

 

‘Before Time” – ( 6 panels) – 80″ x 149″

Designed and hand-woven by Ulrika Leander

Before Time - progress 3

Before Time high res

 

Fine Art Tapestry

Swedish Landscape in Fine Art and Tapestry

Illustration: Helmer Jonas Osslund. Varafton Bakom Kiruna.
 
Swedish tapestry design of the early twentieth century was known at the time as probably some of the best woven artwork being produced in Europe. Much of the narrative and compositional work was based on the landscape and tended to follow what was termed as typical of the Swedish natural environment. Many of the tapestry pieces produced by a range of fine and decorative artists contained the colors, tones and textures that were so much a part of the Swedish identity across so many disciplines, but particularly in textiles.
Fine art and tapestry during this period enjoyed a particularly close relationship. Swedish artists showed a creative interpretation, but also an innate understanding of color, tone and texture. The relationship between artist and color seemed so apparent to many outsiders that it was often seen as an integral part of the Swedish fine art and tapestry scene, so much so that it was often stated that Swedish artists placed ‘…great weight…on colors and their values.’
It seems fitting therefore to place two illustrations, one fine art and one tapestry, beside each other in the same article. They were not produced by the same artist; the painting is by Helmer Jonas Osslund and the tapestry by Henrik Krogh. However, it perhaps needs to be seen how close fine and tapestry art were considered to be during this period. Tapestry in particular was entering a rich new creative phase of its life in Sweden. Woven textiles had a long and traditional history in Sweden, but it was not until the latter part of the nineteenth century that weaving within the remit of tapestry, really began to be opened up as a contemporary art form.
Illustration: Henrik Krogh. The Spruce Coppice, c1913.
 
Both fine art and tapestry became linked with the search for idyllic ruralism and even a search for the untouched wilderness as portrayed by scenes of Sweden’s northern provinces. In some respects, both fine and tapestry art were influenced by the Swedish Arts and Crafts movement, which in its turn was initially influenced by the English Arts and Crafts movement. With the late but rapid industrialization of Sweden and the urbanization of at least part of its population, the search for an idyllic rural life in the 1890s was just as important and illusive as the same search had been in England. However, although rural idylls and utopias always seemed to struggle with the realities and practicalities of industrial Europe, the ideal did fuel the creative arts. So much so that in many respects the Arts and Crafts movement which took place in many European states and regions, and for a variety of differing reasons, produced some of the best in hand produced decorative arts work.
To see fine art and tapestry in tandem with each other, sharing the same inspirational origins and with similar results, allows us to see how closely the two mediums could work together when inspired to do so. Osslund’s painting Varafton Bakom Kiruna could well have been commissioned as a tapestry work, and Krogh’s The Spruce Coppice could equally have been commissioned as an original fine art piece. Both are beautifully proportioned and use color and tone to its most dramatic effect. Texture is inbuilt and implied, taking on a creative naturalism that is easily identified with the landscape. Although one composition appears enclosed and insular and the other open and expansive, the color themes which range from the rich and deep earth tones to the series of greens and yellows that denote foliage, are in some ways so similar that they could be said to be part of the same sense of creative and observational characteristics and they certainly share a part of the Swedish environmental identity.
By showing these two pieces of work it is hoped that it gives some indication of the artistic creativity that came to fruition during the early part of the twentieth century in Sweden. That Sweden had a strong native tradition of creativity, one that is often considered to be perhaps one of the oldest unbroken craft systems in Europe, did not stop native Swedes from allowing a sense of contemporary and expansive creative freedom being added to the traditions of the past. It is this continuation of tradition through the contemporary that has made Swedish art, design and decoration so successful and such an essential part of the decorative and creative arts of our own time. It is perhaps an understanding that tradition does not necessarily entail intransigence and retreat, which should in its turn be seen as perhaps a lifesaving attitude to take when considering those same traditions in other parts of Europe that have and are struggling to survive as part of the contemporary world.