Tapestry is considered to be a form of textile art. Unlike painting, the artist works this by hand on a vertical loom. The difference between this technique and cloth making is the fact that all the warp threads are hidden from view.
A tapestry is commonly made using cotton or wool. To make it look more elegant, others use more expensive fabrics like gold, silk or silver. Before a tapestry is made, a blueprint is first drawn by an artist and then sown by a craftsman.
The history of tapestries dates back to the Greeks after archeologists discovered samples in the desert of the Tarim Basin dating back to the 3rd century BC.
Through the years, this craft spread throughout Europe and in the 14th century, various designs were created in both Germany and Switzerland.
One organization that recognized its value was the Church which used it to illustrate bible stories to its illiterate believers. The oldest of these happen to be the Apocalypse of St John which consists of six hangings measuring 18 feet in height and 471 feet in length which took 4 years to finish.
The Hundred Years War which lasted from 1337 to 1453 forced weavers to flee from the fighting and settle in the northern France town of Arras. Here, the weavers specialized in making tapestries out of wool that they got a lot of orders from all over Europe and displayed in numerous castles and palaces.
You will only find a handful of these in France because a vast majority of the art work was destroyed during the French revolution. In the 16th and 17th century, Belgium became the center of European tapestry production.
Modern tapestry making would never have happened without the vision of William Morris who established the Arts and Craft Movement. He did this by reviving many old crafts and later on established his own company which experts say helped revive the aging craft.
Today, there are only a handful of hand woven tapestries. If you happen to have one, you can even have them repair or restore it.
Decorative tapestry was so saleable back then because it was very easy to move around. Someone can set it up and then remove this without any difficulty.
Since there is still a demand for it now, companies that once produced this by hand have now invested in machines. Some of these are displayed in museums and if you want one for yourself, this won’t be a problem as you can now purchase these at an affordable price.
If you want a challenge, do it the old fashioned way and make this by yourself by hand. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to finish this overnight.
The Europeans were not the only ones who used tapestries. There is evidence which shows that the Egyptians and the Incas used this to bury their dead. But despite that, it was the French that helped make this craft what it is today.
Tapestries come in different sizes and shapes so if you are thinking about decorating your home, consider getting a tapestry instead of a painting. Best of all, you don’t have to frame it so there won’t be any problem transferring this to another section of your house.