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Students took a break from writing their end-of-semester papers and studying for finals to attend a tapestry weaving workshop at the Textile Arts Center on 28 West 8th Street on December 3, as part of Bard Graduate Center’s “Materials Day” program. Co-Executive Director Isa Rodrigues, a textile conservator and artist, provided a fascinating overview of looms and practical instruction about tapestry weaving techniques and materials.

During the three-hour workshop, we worked on small weaving frames to each make our own tapestry. From the Center’s collection of materials, we choose cottons, wools, velvets, and acrylics, with textures that ranged from smooth to fuzzy to sumptuous to sparkly, and colors from electric pink and green to natural cream and rust. We experimented with weaving structures (basic, twining, twill, and basket), color joining techniques (slit, dovetail, and interlocking), and knots (symmetric and asymmetric), and created our own design motifs (blocks of color, zig-zags, and even a pizza). All the while, we discussed how this hands-on experience greatly improved our understanding of woven fabrics and textiles. At the end of a very enjoyable and instructive (and even therapeutic) day, the Center gave us our frames and additional samples of materials to complete our day’s experiments and to begin new ones.

~ Meredith B. Linn, Assistant Professor