Date of this Version
From Creating Textiles: Makers, Methods, Markets. Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Inc. New York, NY, September 23–26, 1998 (Earleville, MD: Textile Society of America, Inc., 1999).
Over the forty years that I have been weaving, my work has changed conceptually and technically. In the late fifties, after studying in Aubusson, I worked in the tapestry technique. What I perceived to be a rigidity within the working process pushed me toward investigating ways of incorporating the spontaneity of the painters of that period into my textile art. The integration of resist-dyeing along with the use of supplementary wefts provided the potential for changes and additions during the weaving process that I sought. The imagery on my work then was formed by and contained within the supplementary wefts. Eventually I became interested in integrating the images into the base cloth - no longer treating them as an addition and using more specific pictorial images.
In order to accomplish this change, I felt that I needed more technical information. I travelled from Kansas to the Cooper-Hewitt in New York to study textile analysis with Milton Sonday. He taught me how to analyze samples of drawloom cloth - how to see textile structures in a completely different way than I had as a handweaver. My idea was to translate the drawloom structures I saw at the museum into weaves that I could use on my 12-harness loom in my studio. Before I had time to adapt these drawloom structures to my floorloom, I received an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) grant that allowed me to purchase a large, 72-inch wide, 32-harness, computerized loom. Obviously the translation of the drawloom structures was more feasible on my new loom. After a period of experimentation and learning, I began the work which involved me over a decade.