Glyphs and Loops


A meditation on the language of handwoven tapestry Guest blog post With a life long passion for textiles and a thirty year career working with a wide range of techniques and materials, Katharine Swailes has focused on handwoven tapestry for the past eighteen years. Cp9rpj0WcAAxwBe In March 2016 Katharine was awarded a Theo Moorman Award to support a series tapestries exploring drawing with a supplementary weft. These works initially evolved while walking the streets of central Manhattan. A joint exhibition in 2015 with Caron Penney at the Zimmer Stewart Gallery saw the realisation of a semi abstract series of works that explore drawing with a supplementary weft. These works were developed through sketches from these trips, then into drawings of weavings and back into weavings creating the new series Glyphs and Loops. Sequence of 15 detail k swailes Materials: The yarns are fine, linen, cotton, wool, gilt, old and new. Neutral linens, mercerised white cotton, and printed gima supplementary weft. The challenge is to create a weaving system that will suit the materials. Katharine lets the yarn form the shape and scale of the tapestries. Supplementary weft is woven over the surface has a gentle shift in tone creating gentle undulating deep shadows in the loops and a filigree effect with the glyphs. Sequence of 9 detail Swailes The first series of Glyphs and Loops looks at the repetition of the weavers path read as a text. While creating a controlled grid the printed markings tell the story of constant attention to the tension of the weave. This is balanced with a meditative mind keeping the body loose but mindful to the process. Tiny fluctuations in weave setting show the dialogue the weaver participates in. jhgj The tapestries are displayed in sequences. The gap between weaving and frame expressing the nature of the handwoven pieces, each fluctuation creating a tension gap, highlighted by the square frame. The frame makes a shallow plinth on the wall creating more depth and shadow. The subtle drama can be viewed at distance drawing the viewer to come closer and investigate the changing text and surface. Katharine works from her studio in West Sussex with her partner Caron Penney, she is a member of Contemporary Applied Arts, and the Crafts Council Makers Directory.

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