The most difficult part of our tapestry has been the using the thinner yarn. It takes so long to fill up a section with this wool and because of the size of the tapestry it has been so exhausting. We figured out that 1 line of our standard yarn equals 3 lines of this thinner yarn. We wanted to use it in large chunks to break up the thicker yarns and add a different texture.
Details of our progress.
Me and Tom put in most of the hard work at the start of the project, and luckily our house mates helped out a lot too! We definitely underestimated how long it would take to do this tapestry. I would generally work on the left hand side, and Tom would work on the right and we would meet in the middle. We figured out we work quite well as a team (luckily)
‘British artist, Jennie Moncur, is best known for her hand-woven contemporary tapestry wall-hangings. Her ‘jigsaw’ compositions demonstrate a characteristic love of material and colour, whilst her highly-skilled use of traditional ‘Gobelin’ weaving techniques show an implicit link between process and expression’
1. Where do you source your yarn from?
Mainly Norway – the colours are so sharp and clean. Some also from Sweden, or various ood bits via a couple of UK supplier.
2. Once your tapestries are finished how do you attach/mount them to the wall? (Odette mentioned velcro!)
Yep – Upholstery Velcro. The ‘loop’ section of the Velcro is sewn to the top of the reverse of the tapestry. This allows the weight of the piece to be evenly distributed when hanging. The ‘hook’ section of the Velco is attached to a wooden batten. The batten is firmly attached to a wall prior to locating the tapestry in position. The tapestry is hung by gently pressing the two sections of Velcro together.
3. How do you finish your tapestries?
Once woven the tapestry is cut off the loom and all the loose threads (from change of colour etc) on the reverse of the tapestry need to be shortened and secured – this can help reduce the weight of the tapestry. The woven selvedge it turned and sewn, to create straight edges and to hide the ends of the warp. A backing cloth is then sewn on the the reverse of the tapestry to protect the back from dust and to help the tapestry hang well.
4. Why are your tapestries woven on their sides?
The tapestries hang much better when woven on their side – the fabric construction is stronger that way and it should hold its shape better. Also it helps the imagery, as it’s easier to weave crisp horizontal lines, but more difficult to weave verticals, as you’re going against the natural grain of the weave. The sharpness of the horizontal lines and the compact weave creates a smooth elongated definition to the tapestry when turned to hang on its side. This slide show hopefully shows you what I mean.
Odette (my friend who is a textiles student) showed me how to make butterflies which help to save time when you are weaving. Rather than using a huge ball of yarn and stuffing it through the gaps you can use this neat, compact little package!
Next up, I tied knots all along the bottom of the loom to keep the bottom tight and strong. This will mean I have a base to push the yarn down on to and it will be a neat, straight line.