Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design
Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design
European; tapestry; textile art; Medieval; Renaissance; conservation
Tapestry is an art that combines painting and weaving to reach a final product that is remarkable in detail and construction. Many cultures produced tapestries that have survived, specifically Coptic Egypt, Pre-Conquest Peru, and Northern Europe. European tapestries created between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries are grand and elaborate decorative pieces commissioned by the nobility of the time period as status symbols and functional portable art. These massive textiles were very labor intensive and the most famous tapestry sets took a year or more to complete. The textile art of tapestry weaving is a concept not covered in detail during the courses I have taken toward my degree in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising, and Design. Thus, I proposed to study the history, conservation, and creation of tapestries with a focus on European tapestries.
In this project I set out to take an in depth look at European tapestries, learning the materials and processes used to create them and the historical significance of the imagery they display. I gathered information through researching tapestry from the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo time periods. I examined the tapestry fragment that the URI TMD department has in its collection and was able to identify the weaving techniques I had learned about through my library research. I traveled to New York City and visited The Cloisters Museum to get an “up close and personal” look at some of the most famous tapestries that I had researched. I also met with a URI graduate, a textile conservator at the Isabella Gardner Museum and learned about the techniques used to preserve tapestries. The final piece of my project is implementing all that I have learned by creating my own tapestry piece.
After much research into the historical and technical background of European tapestries and having the opportunity to examine these textiles first hand, I was able to apply all that I had learned and take a design from cartoon to a finished tapestry piece. I have been able to get a full understanding of the weaving process by executing the techniques in my own small tapestry creation.