Over the years, I've developed a list of favorite tapestry resources. These are places that continually inspire me and how I find out about new happenings in the world of tapestry. I am sure I have missed quite a few, so please add to the list in the comments!
I've divided the list into resources for beginners and ones for those of us who have been doing this longer. Mostly I've done that to help the beginners focus on what is most useful when you're starting out. However, the entire list may be interesting to anyone who loves tapestry.
There are all kinds of niches to weaving. I could have included things about Central and South American weavers, Asian traditions, the list goes on and on. Mostly this list focuses on contemporary European-form tapestry weaving. I'm not saying that is the best way, just that that is what I have studied and know best.
If the long list that follows frightens you a little bit, directly below are the top five things to look at for inspiration today (chosen largely at random, because you have to start somewhere!)
- American Tapestry Alliance
- Joy: Yellow is the New Blue by Jilly Edwards (blog post about that HERE)
- Glasbrook, K. (2015). Tapestry Weaving. Search Press. (Bright and cheery introductory tapestry techniques book.)
- A Weaverly Path: The Tapestry Life of Sylvia Heyden. A wonderful movie about her life. HERE.
- Sarah Swett's blog: https://www.afieldguidetoneedlework.com/blog
- American Tapestry Alliance This non-profit offers a vast array of information on their website, a quarterly online publication, frequent tapestry shows, and much more. Don't forget to check out the Artist Pages if you want some inspiration. And if you need a new mission in life, consider volunteering. They have a forum called ATA-Talk that you can join if you're a member.
- Facebook. I hate to say it,* but Facebook has tapestry groups and if you take online classes, often they will come with Facebook group access to private groups. This can be a great source of information.
- Ravelry. This online site was started for knitters, but there is a tapestry group that is quite active. Membership is free. The group is called Tapestry Weaving.
- Instagram. This platform can be really inspiring. It lacks the political slant you see on Facebook and since it is image-based, the things that grab you will likely start with a picture. I recommend making an account, but it is free and you can make it private and never post a thing if you just want to look.
- Blogs: Here are a few to watch.
Barbara Burns (for ATA)
- Glasbrook, K. (2015). Tapestry Weaving. Search Press.
Russell, C.K. (2007). Tapestry handbook: The next generation. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
Todd-Hooker, K. (2007). Tapestry 101. Albany, OR: Fine Fiber Press.
Places to take workshops
- American Tapestry Alliance's teacher list
- Your local guild. Look at the Handweavers Guild of America's website to track down guilds in your area. Then contact them to see when their next tapestry workshop is. There are a few guilds from outside the USA listed also.
- Online! As you likely know if you're reading this blog, I teach beginners online. Check out Weaving Tapestry on Little Looms or Warp and Weft: Learning the Structure of Tapestry.
- There are many regional fiber conferences in the United States. Very often there is a tapestry class or two offered. Convergence is the big Handweavers Guild of America conference (in Reno this summer and you might consider Molly Elkind, Joanne Hall, or Deborah Corsini's classes). American Tapestry Alliance has a meeting and a retreat following Convergence. But the regional conferences are wonderful. They are smaller and often held on college campuses where the workshop rooms are better than conference hotels (though the sheets are worse.) Do some Googling of acronyms like these: CNCH, MWC, ANWG, NEWS, MAFA, IWC, MLH. (I've linked them up for you. You're welcome.)
- Interweave has a conference called YarnFest in Loveland, CO. This year's conference is in April and is still open for registration. I'll be teaching two beginning tapestry workshops.
- Retreats! I know a tapestry weaver who teaches a handful every year. Check those out HERE. She has retreats for all levels. Registration is Saturday 2/10/18 for summer retreats.
For intermediate to advanced tapestry weavers
- Looking for an online class? Try my Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry. And then watch for the two new classes coming this year. One will be about tapestry design along with other tapestry concepts, and the other is a secret!
- TextileArtist.org Always great information and stories.
- Between and Etc. Kathe Todd-Hooker's Tapestry Compendium can be found here including a lexicon of terms. Kathe also has some YouTube videos about bobbin use that I recommend.
- See the resources above!
I have an extensive reference list and there is no way I can list them all here. Below are a few to get you started.
Greene, C. (2008). Christine Laffer: Tapestry and transformation. Denver, CO: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Soroka, J. (2011). Tapestry Weaving: Design and Technique. England: The Crowood Press Ltd.
Hedlund, A.L. (2010). Gloria F. Ross and Modern Tapestry. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Koehler, J. & Greene, C. (2010). Woven color: The tapestry art of James Koehler. Blurb Publications.
Larochette, J.P. & Lurie, Y. (2014). The Tree of Lives: Adventures Between warp and Weft. Berkeley, CA: Genesis Press.
Rossing, M.L. (2013). The Thread’s Course in Tapestry. Holbaek, DK: Centertryk. (Video review HERE.)
- Fiber Art Now Fiber-focused magazine with great articles and lots to think about. They also have a great online presence, so follow them and you'll get notifications of fiber events, shows, books, etc.
- Weaver's Bazaar This business sells tapestry yarn. Their yarn is great and so is their newsletter. They mention bits of this and that from the tapestry world and I often find out about interesting workshops, videos, and other things on the web from them. (Look for the tiny "Subscribe" button at the top of their Home page.)
- Australian Tapestry Workshop They also have a great newsletter. If you want to see some gorgeous tapestries, follow them. They also have a lot of news about southern hemisphere tapestry goings-on.
- Dovecot Studios This studio in Edinburgh produces some wonderful tapestries. Check out their website and newsletter.
- Selvedge Magazine This is a gorgeous magazine from the UK. It is about fiber and I believe you can get a 10% discount if you're an American Tapestry Alliance member.
- Other magazines: There are lots of other art magazines as well as the array of fiber magazines that Interweave publishes. Handwoven does not tend to have information about tapestry. If you're a spinner, look at Ply.
- Shameless self-promotion: I write a newsletter called Tapestry Picks every week. It comes out on Thursdays. Sign up HERE.
Membership Organizations in Craft and Art
- American Craft Council This is one of my favorites. They don't have a ton of fiber, but their magazine is gorgeous and always inspiring.
- American Tapestry Alliance
- Surface Design Association They have a nice magazine and a symposium from time to time. Academically based.
- Textile Society of America I don't know a lot about this organization, but it is more academically based.
- Tapestry Weaver's West This is basically a tapestry guild. I don't belong at the moment, but maybe I should! Most members are from California, but I think it is something anyone can join. There is another organization called Tapestry Weavers South for the southern US.
- British Tapestry Group This website will not only inspire you with the work of many European weavers, it'll give you more information about the European biennials than we usually get in the USA. They have a print magazine called Tapestry Weaver that you get if you're a member.
- Canadian Tapestry Network Similar information about Canadian tapestry weavers.
- Don't forget your local museums. There are fantastic museums all over the world. Find the ones near you and visit. Become a member if you can.
Shows to enter
- Cafe for Artists A long list of shows and their requirements. Please consider that tapestries should be seen in shows that are not tapestry-only! This is how we get our medium recognized in the world. (or one way-- in my opinion)
- American Tapestry Alliance February 15th is the deadline for the intent to participate in the Unjuried show that will be up at Convergence this summer. The tapestry doesn't have to be done until the end of March. I love this show!
I know that I have forgotten scads of resources. So post your favorites in the comments below.
* I only say I hate to mention Facebook because I think we spend way too much time online and too little time making things. So use the groups for inspiration but leave the rest and go weave!