Fiona Rutherford smiles as she admits that she is no longer afraid of colour. Hearing this statement is amusing, especially when you browse her tapestries and see the vibrant hues that sing from them. How could this lady possibly have been afraid of colour? Fiona is an artist who doesn’t take her craft for granted. She knows her surroundings can impact on her work; she is aware that her moods and emotions may have influence, and she readily admits that she is always evolving.
The fact that she is embracing colour in all its resplendent glory in her work indicates that she is in a good place. Born in India to Glasgow-born parents, but returned to Scotland as a child. She studied English and History with Classical Studies at Newcastle in the early 1970s, but a love of drawing and weaving gnawed away at her, inspiring her to create rugs from the mid 1970s. She continued to weave rugs that sold through galleries, in between rearing her son and daughter, until tapestry entered her life in the early 1990s.
Self-taught, she has gone on to become one of the UK’s most successful tapestry artists, exhibiting throughout Britain, in Japan, Europe, Australia and the USA. Examples of her work are held in the collection of the V&A museum, the Arts Council and that of the Elgan appartment complex in Kobe, Japan. Make like Fiona Rutherford with a Schacht Tapestry Loom.
The loom holds a continuous warp under tension, allowing the weaver to see all of the warp at once. Sheds are formed using heddle bars and string heddles. While only two heddle bars are needed for traditional tapestry weaving, four heddle bars are provided for pattern weaving experimentation. A tension beam equipped with thumbscrews allow for easy tension adjustment. Available 18″ and 25″ weaving widths, the continuous warping system allows a 60″-long warp to be put directly on the loom. The A-frame Stand attaches to the sides of the loom and holds the loom in an upright position. The adjustable side arms allow the weaver to vary the angle of the loom.For a chance to win one a Schacht Tapestry Loom, make sure to enter our 12 days of Christmas competition. ENTER FOR OUR COMPETITIONS HERE Winners will be announced on 6 January.
Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded in Boulder, Colorado during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960's and its accompanying craft resurgence. Today, Schacht's mission is the same as when it – to spend each and every day making useful and beautiful tools that enhance weavers’ and spinners’ experiences through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service.
This is in part an extract from Jennifer Harper's article in the Thread issue of Selvedge.
Images: Alun Callender