Tapestries

The Miniature Tapestries in this series are mostly based on imagery from illuminated manuscripts of the early medieval period.   They are stitched in silk (except for one, where I used linen and silk), metallic threads, and embellished with faceted gemstones, freshwater pearls, and antique glass beads.  There are

The Virgin, in Glory

The Virgin, in Glory

over 500 stitches per square inch in each tapestry.   I pore through art books featuring illuminated manuscripts until I find an image I want to spend 500 hours with.  Then I transfer it to canvas, and begin to adapt the color palette and imagery to fit my image of how it should turn out.   When I am aware of color symbolism or specific iconic images (Mary Magdelene’s colors are green and orange, for example, while th Virgin Mary is blue and red), I don’t  change those.   Look at the image of the Virgin in Glory.   Notice her green and orange clothing?   I believe this was intended to be an image of Mary Magdelene.   Another Magdelene image that was actually identified as Jesus with Mary Magdelene, shows a green-and-orange clothed woman kneeling, with her hands on an giant-asparagus-looking plant.  Jesus is also holding the plant.  This giant-asparagus image shows up frequently in images referring to a geneological lineage.  So this particular tapestry shows a VERY ancient (900 BCE, if memory serves, but I’ll look it up and confirm) image suggesting that Mary and Jesus shared progeny.    DaVinci Code–here we come!

People often say “Oh, what PATIENCE this must take!”  For me it requires no patience at all.  This work is deeply meditative, contemplative, and gives me long hours of peace and serenity.  People also ask how long it takes to complete a tapestry.   The answer is between 350 and 500 hours for each one.

I became enthralled with this period when reading Margaret Frazers’ fabulous series of mystery novels set at the end of the 11th century  (http://www.margaretfrazer.com/books/frevisse.html) . Certainly many other authors have set mysteries in this period.  Although I enjoy many of them, my typical reaction is the author has 20th or 21st century characters dressed up in medieval costumes.   They think like contemporary westerners.  The books are anachronistic.   But Frazer, whose main character is a nun in a tiny convent in 11th Century England, has the feel of the times.

Sister Frevisse, the main character in her series, was often asked to find out what happened when a theft, or dead body, or some other mayhem, was discovered.  In otherwords, she is the “detective” of the series, but medieval English had no exact word for our idea of “detective.”  So she is just a sister who finds things out.   Furthermore, our Frevisse must fit her inquiries into her duties at the convent, and must break to be back in chapel each time the sisters “pray the hours”–eight times a day.  Her logic is impeccable, but isn’t a forensic logic as we know it.   Her logic based on knowledge of the way the social fabric works.  When the chapel bells ring just as she finally tracks down a person she wants to question, she can become frustrated, but her religion teaches her that the sacred is the true and real, and the mundane is the illusion, and that her duty is to the sacred.   This theme of being torn between the spiritual and the mundane is a rich one for our times, and was something I could relate to.

The life of this tiny convent was so filled with the mundane and the sacred, and became so believably real to me, that I was almost transported in time.   I think it’s likely that I spent at least one life in a medieval convent happily stitching altar cloths and bishops’ robes.  I started these tapestries in February 2005.  Some time later I looked at the receipt for the first silk I purchased, and then looked up the astrology for that day.   On that one day out of thousands of years, the planet representing Religion, made a station (its apparent movement in the sky came to a standstill) exactly on the point in my chart representing past lives, in the part of the chart representing privacy (the convent).  Rather like an arrow pointing to my medieval past!

The images in these pages show most of the work I have completed over the last few years (and a few not quite complete).

Newest Work

  • 42-ganesha
  • 26-glory
  • 12-visitation
  • Shakyamuni Buddha
  • 42-dead-shall-rise
  • 02-god
  • 47-tibetan-meditation
  • 01-universe-4-winds-elements
  • 11-annunciation2
  • 33-st-john_0
  • 46-shakyamuni-buddha
  • 33-st-john
  • 34-protectors-christ-and-st-michaelcropped
  • 44-ganesha_0
  • 24-three-marys
  • 19-madonna-and-child
  • 37-release-from-despair_0
  • 50-ramon-and-paulacropped
  • 38-souls-rise-and-fall
  • 32-st-luke
  • 46-shakyamuni-buddha_0
  • 47-tibetan-meditation_0
  • 35-hours-of-prayer_0
  • 29-gospel-michael-gabriel0072
  • 22-jesus-and-mary-magdelene
  • creation-sun-moon-stars_0
  • 20-flight
  • 40-six-days-of-creation
  • TThe Dead Shall Rise Again
  • 17-presentation-of-jesus-to-temple
  • 31-st-mark
  • 23-magdalene
  • 16-magi
  • 04-adam-and-evefinal
  • 46-tibetan-meditation
  • 48-tibetan-conception
  • 08-angelsturnearthsmaller
  • 21-gabriel-st_-andrew
  • 45-lakshmi
  • 39-lucifers-fall
  • 06-angels-of-abraham
  • 35-hours-of-prayer
  • 34-protectors-christ-and-st-michaelcropped_0
  • 48-tibetan-conception_0
  • 41-apocalypse
  • 07-solomon
  • 09-archangel-gabriel
  • 15-nativity
  • 38-souls-rise-and-fall_0
  • 28-jerome
  • 30-st-matthew
  • 47-tibetan-conception
  • 27-gregory
  • 43-mecca
  • 37-release-from-despair
  • 25-angel-at-tomb
  • 36-hildegard-inspired
  • angel-at-tomb
  • 49-lovers
  • 48-lovers
  • 36-hildegard-inspired_0
  • Angels Turn The Earth
  • 40-six-days-of-creation_0
  • 10-annunciation1
  • 05-david
  • 39-lucifers-fall_0
  • 44-ganesha
  • 03-hand
  • 49-lovers_0
  • 42-dead-shall-rise_0
  • 18-madonna-and-child
  • creation-sun-moon-stars

All Tapestries

  • 09-archangel-gabriel
  • 28-st-matthew
  • 22-three-marys
  • 48-lovers
  • 32-christ-and-st-michaelcropped
  • 30-st-luke
  • 20-jesus-and-mary-magdelene
  • 16-magi
  • 15-nativity
  • 25-gregory
  • 17-presentation-of-jesus-to-temple
  • 12-visitation
  • 31-st-john
  • 04-adam-and-evefinal
  • 10-annunciation1
  • 38-six-days-of-creation
  • 37-lucifers-fall
  • 06-angels-of-abraham
  • 40-dead-shall-rise
  • 33-hours-of-prayer
  • 29-st-mark
  • 46-tibetan-meditation
  • 01 Universe 4 Winds Elements
  • 26-jerome
  • 18-flight
  • 36-souls-rise-and-fall
  • 08-angelsturnearthsmaller
  • 23-angel-at-tomb
  • 43-lakshmi
  • 11-annunciation2
  • 05-david
  • 47-tibetan-conception
  • 35-release-from-despair
  • 39-apocalypse
  • 42-ganesha
  • 24-glory
  • 44-shakyamuni-buddha
  • 02 God
  • 21-magdalene
  • 27-angels-michael-gabriel0072
  • 19-gabriel-johnbaptist
  • 07-solomon
  • 03 Hand
  • 41-mecca
  • 34-hildegard-inspired

[To see more tapestry images, click on the menu items UNDER the header “Tapestries”.  There you will see a page called “Tapestry Images” and others.]