A tapestry weaver's signature technique

There are many tapestry weavers who make work that is very recognizable. Most of us have a style we work in for awhile as we explore an idea and some weavers use a particular way of filling space that helps identify the work as theirs.

I'm thinking of examples like the diagonal lines of Joan Baxter. She often fills space by making some form of a diamond. Since diagonals are very weaverly shapes, it is a good choice! She also uses a lot of repeating marks in her work: small squares, lines, squiggles.

The image below is a piece of hers I was able to see in a workshop in the US several years ago. The beautiful watery diagonal spirals in the center of the piece are what I'm referring to here.

Joan Baxter, Summerstones, tapestry

Take a look at the portfolio on her website and think about this a little as you page through the images. 

Other examples?

What about Michael Rohde's squares in his portrait series? He calls them pixelated tapestries

Michael Rohde, Contemplation, tapestry


Or Sarah Swett's use of round forms (or letters!). Take a look at her website for more examples HERE.

Sarah Swett, Cucumber Sandwiches, 14 x 12 inches

Sarah Swett, Against the Tide, 60 x 24 inches

Sarah Swett, Rough Copy 1-3, hand-woven tapestry


There are people like Tricia Goldberg and Kathe Todd-Hooker who fill the space completely.

Tricia Goldberg, Suzi's Pond

Kathe Todd-Hooker, So Between 2, tapestry

And there are people who leave more of a blank canvas.

All of the above are gross generalizations, but I do think it is interesting to look at one artist's work over time and see what motifs they use again and again.

In my own work, I've been using color gradation in large amounts for about a decade now. I often will allow the color changes to fill the space without much specific form. It is, in my mind, a way of offering a place to rest. For example, in Emergence VII below, the color gradation is almost the point of the piece.

Rebecca Mezoff, Emergence VII, 45 x 45 inches, tapestry

There are endless examples of this sort of thing. As you look at tapestries, think about what devices the weaver is using to express themselves and which of those are particularly weaverly in form. Sure, we can weave anything if the sett is fine enough, but what forms work well with the gridded nature of tapestry? And how do artists choose to present their ideas regardless of the size of the work?

If you're drawn to color gradation techniques, take a look at my online class, Color Gradation Techniques for Tapestry.

In which tapestry weavers' work do you see this use of particular forms the most? Tell us in the comments.