Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Art of Peruvian Tapestry

The region in which we live is famous for its artesans who create beautiful tapistries ("tapiz" singular, "tapices" plural). We purchased this one made by the woman in the center, Hovita Oscanoa, a Church member:

We are now having another tapestry done by David Román, also a Church member. We visited him in his home shop today and took pictures while he explained the intricate process. We have just included the major steps.

1. Get white sheep wool. It is plentiful in this part of Peru.

2. Mix the wool with water and powdered dye in a pot ...

3. ... and boil it over an open-air stove.

4. Repeat the above steps until you have a wide assortment of wool colors, analogous to buying oil paints to do an oil painting.

5. To get more subtle colors and shades, get different colors of wool and comb them together, analogous to mixing colors on an artist's pallette:

6. Create the many major colors and shades that you'll need in your tapestry.

7. String the loom with wool yarn to create the warp threads (the longitudinal threads). The type of yarn depends on the quality of the tapestry: the coarser the yarn, the coarser the tapestry; the finer the yarn, the finer the tapestry.

8. Outline the picture on the warp threads. Here David is drawing the picture of the "Waters of Mormon" for us. Notice that's he's already started this tapestry.

9. Thread the shuttle with weft yarn (the latitudinal thread), analogous to threading a bobbin. (He is using an old 33⅓ record player motor to thread the shuttle).

10. Mix colors of wool together by hand to get subtle shades of colors (analogous to an artist's mixing oil colors on the canvas) . . .

11. ... and then push the colored wool in between the warp threads on the loom:

12. Secure the wool by passing the shuttle containing the weft yarn through the stationary warp threads on the loom.

13. When you're done, sew the borders and remove the tapistry from the loom.

The real art, as David explained, is in the hands and eyes, not in the wool or on the loom. It's the subtle mixing of colored strands of wool and the careful execution of all of the steps that makes for a beautiful tapestry.


Suzanne said...

Totally amazing and truly beautiful. I love these!

Sharon said...

Oh my gosh! What an art. That is fabulous and beautiful! I want a dozen of those.

Russ said...

Those are beautiful. They look like they are a ton of work to make.

Rod & Kathy said...

wow. That was really interesting. Thanks for sharing all the steps involved. What a neat thing to watch. I think it would require a ton of patience.

Andrea said...

I am not sure how I missed this post, but I LOVE THEM!! I am looking forward to seeing what you guys bring home a year from now.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those tapestries are gorgeous! What beautiful, rich colors--such a talent!