Posts tagged
with tapestry


Industrial Materials and Rugged Topographies Converge in Jacqueline Surdell's Knotted Tapestries

July 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

“We Will Win: Our Banner in the Sky (after Frederic Edwin Church)” (2020), cotton cord, nylon, paracord, fabric, and ribbons, 84 x 108 x 12 inches, 120-inch bar. Photo by Ian Vecchiotti. Images courtesy of Jacqueline Surdell and Patricia Sweetow Gallery, shared with permission

Chicago-based artist Jacqueline Surdell sutures lengths of rope, fabric, and silky ribbons into sprawling abstract tapestries that hang from walls and standalone armatures in textured, colorful masses. Swelling clusters of knots and ties, loose weaves, braided tunnels, and dangling strands compose her three-dimensional compositions that are disrupted by sporadically used items like steel chains, volleyballs, and polyester shower curtains. Because of the scale of the pieces and the hefty materials, the artist often uses her body as a shuttle to weave the brightly colored fibers together on massive hand-built looms.

Surdell embeds parts of her Chicago upbringing in her wall sculptures, especially childhood memories of her grandmother’s landscape paintings and her grandfather’s job in South Side steel mills. These two experiences converge in her textured works by evoking vast terrains and the city’s industrial history through her use of commercial materials. Each piece offers further reflections on today’s world, with energetic and chaotic pieces like “We Will Win: Our Banner in the Sky” (shown above) responding to the fraught political landscape in the U.S. and destructive events like wildfires and loss of coral reefs sparked by the climate crisis.

You can find more of Surdell’s large-scale tapestries on her site, and head to Instagram to see her latest work-in-progress.


Detail of “We Will Win: Our Banner in the Sky (after Frederic Edwin Church)” (2020), cotton cord, nylon, paracord, fabric, and ribbons, 84 x 108 x 12 inches, 120-inch bar. Photo by Ian Vecchiotti

“Sacrifice of Columbia: Destruction (after Thomas Cole)” (2020), cotton cord, nylon cord, fabric, printed polyester shower curtain, American flag jacket, steel battle rope anchor, steel chain, canvas tarp, acrylic paint drips, and wood armature, 84 x 96 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery

Left: “Neon Hymn” (2020), braided cotton cord, paracord, enamel, and oil stick, 80 x 26 x 12 inches. Right: “Scylla III: The Pastoral State (after Thomas Cole)” (2020), cotton cord, nylon cord, paracord, printed cotton towel, steel frame, and volleyball, 27 x 27 x 1.5 inches (frame), 33 x 85 x 9.5 inches (floor extension). Images courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery

“Straight-laced: The Consummation of Empire (after Thomas Cole)” (2020/21), cotton cord, nylon cord, paracord, printed polyester shower curtain, and steel, 96 x 64 x 14 inches. Photo by Ian Vecchiotti

Left: “Purging: Desolation (after Thomas Cole)” (2021), cotton cord, nylon cord, fabric, printed polyester shower curtain, and steel, 86 x 71 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery. Right: “Untitled II” (2015), braided cotton cord, steel rod, and steel armatures, 60 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of Jacqueline Surdell

Detail of “Sacrifice of Columbia: Destruction (after Thomas Cole)” (2020), cotton cord, nylon cord, fabric, printed polyester shower curtain, American flag jacket, steel battle rope anchor, steel chain, canvas tarp, acrylic paint drips, and wood armature, 84 x 96 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Patricia Sweetow Gallery

“Untitled XII (reflections on the water)” (2020), braided cotton cord, and steel, 60 x 144 x 12 inches. Image courtesy of Jacqueline Surdell



Art Craft Design

Lush Tufted Tapestries Document Ecological Changes in Argentina's Landscapes

March 25, 2021

Anna Marks

All images © Alexandra Kehayoglou, shared with permission

Artist Alexandra Kehayoglou (previously) creates exquisite pieces of flowing textiles that reference the rugged landscapes of her homeland, Argentina. In the creation of each tapestry, Kehayoglou transforms surplus carpet fabric into natural elements that range from a spectrum of Earth-colored mosses to clusters of trees and serpentine rivers that cut through the heart of her weaves. Entwined within each piece are fragments of the artist’s own memories, including witnessing waterways slowly recede and the alterations to Argentina’s grasslands.

Her latest works, a series called Prayer Rugs, depict animal footprints and small vegetative features of the Parana Wetlands located 50 kilometers from Buenos Aires. In recent years, the region’s biodiversity has been decimated by the wood and paper industries, which have facilitated the growth of non-native plant species that have since spread out of control. Additionally, human-made fires wreaked havoc during 2020, while livestock simultaneously trampled the once-luscious grassland.

Kehayoglou’s pieces document the foliage that has survived after years of this widespread exploitation and how, over time, local fauna has started to reappear: thistles grow through cracks in the dry Earth, deer leave mud-splattered tracks, and chirping insects dance upon youthful leaves. The artworks narrate the wetland’s change and growth, reflecting the pain caused by capitalism while turning the need for change into tapestries that reference Argentinians’ hope. Kehayoglou says:

Isolation made me think of my carpets as spaces where new forms of activism could be enacted. A type of activism that instead of focusing on paranoid conflict was silent, absorptive and, as I believe, more effective. My carpets, thus, became instruments for documenting ‘minor’ aspects of the land, which were otherwise overlooked as irrelevant. A focus on its micro-narratives that would open new doors for possible ecological futures.

You can see more of the artist’s rich tapestries on her website and Instagram.




Art Craft

Colorful Tapestries of Silk, Wool, and Cotton Hand Woven by Judit Just

December 28, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All images © Judit Just

Spanish artist Judit Just of jujujust (previously) crafts vibrant wall tapestries in improvised compositions using traditional and updated weaving techniques. Satin ribbons, viscose fringe tassels, silk threads, cord, and soft wool form unique color, texture, and shape combinations. While each piece is modeled after an original stored in the artist’s studio, the handmade nature of the process ensures that no two tapestries are the same.

These vertical works are hung from wooden dowels that are hand-painted to complement the neon colored textiles. Sizes vary, with some pieces measuring 25 x 25 inches and others stretching more than 3 feet. To witness Just’s weaving and cutting processes, follow her on Instagram. You can also add one of the wall tapestries to your personal collection by placing an order via the artist’s Etsy shop.



Art Craft

Innumerable Hand-Stitched Beads Form Narrative Vodou Flags by Myrlande Constant

November 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Beadwork artist Myrlande Constant has spent nearly three decades honing the craft of her intricate flag tableaux. Often spanning six or seven feet, the large-scale flags feature religious, historical, and mythological scenes, surrounded by a beaded “frame” of abstract patterns or symbolic objects. Constant hails from from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where she continues to live and work. The artist learned the art form her mother, who was a factory worker at a local wedding dress manufacturer that created beaded garments. Apparently, several other women who were employed at the factory also created artwork in the Vodou flag tradition outside of work hours.

Constant was recently commissioned to create a new work, one of her largest to date, for Faena Hotel in Miami, Florida. It will be displayed, along with several of her other flags, during Faena Festival, a free series of events and installation running December 2 – 8, 2019, alongside Miami Art Week. Learn more about Constant’s work in a Huffington Post article by Wesleyan University.

The artist with one of her flags



Art Craft

A 20 Foot-Wide Tapestry by Vanessa Barragão Recreates the World in Textural Yarn

July 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry. Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, Barragão mapped out and built up a textural surface that emulates a map of the world.

Earth’s diverse climates and topography are represented in yarn: the deserts of Australia and Africa are conveyed in warm, low-pile colors, whereas Barragão represented the lush rainforests of South America and the high peaks of central Asia with shaggy deep greens and coiling crocheted ridges. The artist also incorporated native plants like China’s Gingko biloba, European Cypripedium calceolus (lady’s slipper), and the coffee of Africa.

Barragão spent 520 hours on the piece, which is completely handcrafted and spans nearly 20 feet wide. The work is on view at Heathrow Airport’s departure area, echoing the diverse and globe-trotting guests who cross its path. To see more from the Porto, Portgual-based artist, follow Barragão on Instagram.




Art Craft

Improvised Wall Tapestries Crafted with Vibrant Thread Combinations

August 2, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Spanish textile artist Judit Just Anteló moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 2013 to further develop her textile brand Jujujust. Although she studied fashion design, sculpture, and textile art in her hometown of Barcelona, she first learned the standards of weaving from her mother as a small child. Anteló applies these more traditional techniques to her current practice, updating the old methods with splashes of neon color and engaging combinations of vibrant threads.

“Most of my tapestries are just an involuntary result of an improvisation, a dance with colors and materials,” Anteló tells Colossal. “I like to let myself flow and see what it transforms into afterwards. Once I finish and approve one design, I keep the original in my studio to reproduce it in different color variations. Then I redo them and make them evolve and metamorphose into other creations.”

Anteló weaves her tapestries with rye knots created on a lap loom or eight-harness table loom, depending on which type of wall hanging she is attempting to make. You can find a variety of her works for sale on her Etsy shop, and take a peek into her studio on Instagram.