Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



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


What motivates an artist to create images using textile media? What weaving techniques are suitable for image making? Weavers through the ages have taken colored weft threads in hand and inserted them into the warp, row-by-row, building shape upon shape in the powerful and nuanced, yet structurally simple, technique of weft-faced tapestry. With the invention of the jacquard loom, the kind of complex image making that was previously only common in tapestry weaving became mechanized, and available on a commercial level that involved faster production rates, lower costs and the creation of multiples. In recent years, the innovations in, and wider availability of jacquard type device looms have made sophisticated warp controlled technology available, and attractive, to artist/weavers.

This paper will explore some of the issues surrounding the choices made by artists as they create their work either in traditional weftfaced tapestry or through loom-controlled methods, particularly the jacquard loom. The research for the paper will include facilitating conversations among weavers who use different woven techniques to create images in textiles, artists such as: Bhakti Ziek; Alice Schlein; Bethanne Knudson; Jennifer Sargent; Sigrid Piroch; Kaija Rautiainen; and Christine Spangler. Their artwork and perspectives will be featured in the paper, along with the author’s insights.