Dipping into Tapestry Weaving

Tapestry weaving workshop Nicola Gates

If any of you have been roving  an eye over Pinterest interiors boards lately, you may have noticed a new obsession...all things knotted, woven, tied and textured adorning the walls of otherwise stylishly minimalist homes. Have a look at my 'Beautiful Weaving' board, and you'll see what I mean!

As I child, I spent hours browsing through my mum's vintage collection of Golden Hands craft magazines from the sixties and seventies - they were full of ideas for decorating your home with colourful textiles. But textural macrame and woven tapestry wall hangings have been shunned in recent years in favour of slick framed photography and art canvasses. Happily, they are now seeing a revival - at least partly thanks to Brooklyn-based artist Maryanne Moodie, who seems to have perfectly satisfied our new found appetite for texture and geometry. As well as their decorative appeal, textiles on the walls (the more textured the better) are a great way to add softness to a room, helping to absorb harsh sounds. 

Tapestry weaving can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. It takes years for a weaver to develop the skills needed to produce something like the amazing image-based work of the Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, but the basic technique for weaving simple shapes, stripes and textures can picked up quickly. 

For most of my weaving, I work on a large Swedish floor loom, producing lengths of cloth to be made into cusion covers, pouches, scarves and throws. Tapestry weaving, worked on a simple wooden frame, was something I had a brief introduction to in art college but hadn't continued with. Lately though, I have picked up the tapestry frame once again and enjoyed experimenting with chunky yarns, geometric shapes and textural knotting & wrapping techniques. It gives me a chance to wind down from the repetition and speed of my big loom and to use up some of the myriad of yarns I've accummulated over the years. I've even created mini tapestries to wear as pendants.

Tapestry is an ideal technique to get started in weaving as it requires only very simple equipment and doesn't take up much space. If you're interested in having a go, take a look at my pinterest boards beautiful weaving, tapestry art & weaving techniques for inspiration. You can also keep an eye on my Facebook page for upcoming workshops, or sign up to my newsletter for updates on workshops, woven products and events.

Happy weaving!

Tapestry art by Nicola Gates