“When Opposites Attract,” the first featured weave of 2009, is a brain-twister that was designed and woven by my long-time friend Ann Rosenthal.
It is really three weaves combined: the ground is an 8-harness shadow weave, and Ann used its light/dark warp to create the cats in the diamond by means of doublewoven tapestry. The diamond is not embroidered or appliquéd — the whole thing is a single woven piece.
Ann took a tapestry workshop with the late Margaretta Nettles in the 1970s, and she gained some experience with shaft weaving as a sample weaver at Dan River Textiles (a 126-year-old American mill that closed its doors last year, but that’s another story). Ann learned from the other weavers how to weave swatches of fine cotton shirting material, including dobby motifs and seersucker, on 16-harness table looms, which gave her experience with complex weaves and freedom to experiment. She had other jobs in industry but other than that, she is self-taught.
Ancient Coptic techniques of inserting tapestry into other weaves influenced “When Opposites Attract,” and traditional Peruvian weavers are Ann’s other major influence, for their “tricks” and for … well … everything. (She may be a reincarnated Peruvian weaver.) She uses what she learns from books and museum exhibitions to create witty, whimsical, complex, original work, and I hope to show more of it from time to time.