Tuesday, August 26, 2008
"What is the significance of the birds?"
Many years ago, when I was fairly new to tapestry weaving, I took my half-dozen or so completed tapestries, rolled up together, to a well known tapestry artist for a critique and some guidance. She was very gentle and generous in her critique. We visited over my work for the allotted time, then I rolled my work back up and prepared to leave. Just as I got to the door, and was starting through it, she asked, "What is the significance of the birds?"
That question stopped me in my tracks. "What birds?" I stupidly asked back. "The birds in all of your tapestries," she gently explained. "All of your tapestries have birds in them. Is there a significance?" To be honest, not only did I not know what the significance of them was, but I had not even realized that I was weaving that many birds! Up to that point, I was just concentrating on how to weave, weaving whatever image I could conjure up to learn a specific technique. Evidently, I had been sub- or un-consciously conjuring up birds.
For quite awhile after that, I tried to avoid weaving birds. I don't know why. Possibly because I still did not know the answer to that question... what was their significance? But then they starting winging their way back into my tapestries. I have woven many, many birds. I am weaving another today. What is their significance? I'm not sure... but I'm sure they are significant.
About the tapestries: (Top to Bottom)
"Fifth Day" a creation tapestry 34"x40" 1989 (still available)
"Faith" 38"x36" 1990 Collection of the State of Colorado
"Turtle Song" 40"x42" 1989 Private Collection
"What is this bird that sings while it is yet dark?" a tapestry about finding joy in difficult times and places (a Gulf war tapestry) 38"x44" 1992 Private Collection