Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


Making art requires looking back and looking forward while maintaining a strong presence in the current cultural world. As a tapestry weaver, when I look back, I look at pre-Columbian weaving for inspiration. It is looking at the art and architecture of these ancient cultures that has allowed me to appreciate weaving as the basis for geometric pattern and abstraction. With an understanding that they developed their images for completely different reasons than those of the contemporary artist, I respond to their respect for the woven grid and their apparent desire to work with this structure instead of against it. In our culture and educational system, young artists work with fluid media first, and it follows that they will paint and draw in a very organic manner. When and if they do learn to weave, a natural disagreement between their previous knowledge of art making and the format of tapestry may easily occur. For some of us this natural disagreement does not occur - instead a deeper understanding of order and image develops. The way an artist sees the world and visually responds to it may be formed through education, experience, observation or geographical location. Within the broad community of tapestry weavers, there are those that seem aligned to the European tradition of tapestry and those that are aligned with the western hemisphere traditions. Through images of my tapestries and historical images from Andean cultures, I will attempt to explain the importance of geometric based design and how it fits within a contemporary art practice.