Tapestry is defined as a thick textile fabric in which colored weft threads are woven into fixed warp threads to form an image. In traditional hand weaving, the weft threads are the horizontal threads or yarns which the weaver or loom weaves back and forth, and the warp threads are the long, fixed vertical threads. With Jacquard weaving, invented in 1804, the warp threads are fed from a spool and run horizontally through the machine. Each warp thread has its own lifter. The weft threads are interwoven across the warp threads, creating the weave.
For thousands of years, predating classical antiquity, humankind has used the medium of tapestry art to express itself and record its history. Ancient Egyptians and Incas buried their dead in tapestries. Early Greeks and Romans used tapestries in the decoration of affluent homes and important buildings. Archaeologists believe that tapestries covered the walls of the Parthenon.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, tapestry, like so many of the arts and sciences, was re-introduced to Europe by the Moors by way of Spain. During the Middle Ages tapestries were status symbols amongst the aristocracy. Tapestries decorated the stone walls of castles and provided insulation and privacy. Touring kings and nobles transported their tapestry art from castle to castle. In medieval times France, and more specifically Paris, was the center of tapestry production in Western Europe. During the Hundred Years War many important tapestries were lost or burned for their precious metal content. Escaping the chaos, numerous tapestry artists and craftsmen moved to Flanders (present-day Belgium, Northern France and the Netherlands). Flanders became probably the most recognized center of tapestry weaving for three centuries, although important works continued to be produced in France, Italy, Germany and throughout Europe. In the 16th century wars between France and Spain caused Flemish weavers to emigrate to Britain, France and Italy.
Medieval weavers used working sketches, from which they freely adapted, to produce their tapestries. By the Renaissance, weavers were more rigidly copying from full-sized, fully-realized drawings or paintings. Tapestries became more copies of paintings rather than independent works of art. Depending on the skill of the craftsperson, these copies could be clumsily or effectively adapted.
In 1804, the Jacquard loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard. He most likely borrowed from and built upon the ancient technique of card weaving. Using this method, weavers could "program" a pattern of weaving by threading different colors of yarn through holes in cards and then twisting the cards as they wove the weft back and forth to form the pattern. Jacquard's method of weaving involved processing perforated cards, like those later used in player pianos or early computers, which chose the colored threads to be used in the tapestry image. The preparation of the Jacquard card was a difficult and lengthy process, involving several months of work and various color tests. However, once the punch cards were made, the tapestry could then be woven more than once. Apart from a small number of hand-woven tapestries, Jacquard looms are still used today in the production of most tapestries.
The unique innovation to the time-honored medium of tapestry is a new computerized method that captures minute details of our imagery and allows the design to be woven directly with no alteration from the weaver. As such, our tapestry artisans maintains control over the final work and ensures that the result is an authentic expression of our aesthetic intentions.
The tapestries are woven at a small, family-owned mill in Belgium. They are woven in cotton with some viscose, which is a cellulose/cotton product, or, in some cases, wool, cotton and viscose. The utmost care is taken in every step of creation and production. We are excited to continue working with our Tapestry artisans as they continue developing a unique technique that blends both old-world weaving processes with the newest digital possibilities. We are pleased with the exactness of detail, the distinctive look, and the authentic rendition that appears in these thoroughly contemporary tapestries.
The Home Galaxy Tapestry provides distinctive tone and ambience taking photography into another realm, and adorning your home or office with enduring beauty and grace.
We are confident that you too will be most pleased with your custom tapestry of one of our lovely images.
Q: Where are your tapestries woven?
A: Our tapestries are woven in Belgium at a small family owned mill.
Q: How big or small can they be made?
A: Our usual standard widths are in the vicinity of 82" which is our maximum width. Lengths are relatively unlimited. It is the width that is the limiting factor. Our tapestries can be made smaller upon special request but don't encourage much of a reduction as we have found they start to loose some of their special grace if any one dimension is smaller than 50."
Q: How many stitches are there per inch of your tapestries?
A: An 82 inch x 82 inch tapestry has 17,600 threads (ends) in an 8 color warp. We use 60 shots (threads) per cm (152 threads per inch) in the repeating 8 color weft. In a 10 color weft we use 70 to 75 shots per cm.
Q: What are your tapestries made of?
A: Mostly archival cotton with some viscose, which is a cellulose/cotton product. In one palette we use a shot of blue acrylic. The black and white (grayscale) tapestries are often woven with 5 shots of wool and 3 shots of cotton in the weft.
Q: Do you weave custom tapestries for me from one of my images?
A: Yes. You can contact us for more information HERE or from our Contact page.
Q: How long does it take to weave a tapestry?
A: It takes about one month from the date of your order.
Q: How many different colors of thread are used in the warp and weft of your tapestries
A: We use two looms when weaving in Belgium. The 7-foot loom uses a repeating set of 8 colors in the warp and 8 or 10 colors in the weft. The 10-foot loom uses 4 colors in the warp and 8 colors in the weft.
In most environments your tapestry should require little maintenance. Most of our tapestries are made of all cotton fibers, or cotton with a small amount of viscose, a cotton fiber derivative. They are very tightly woven, resulting in a sturdy, thick textile with a rather stiff hand.
Because your tapestry is mounted on a wall, it is not subject to the same abuse as a carpet or upholstered seating. Once or twice a year it should be lightly vacuumed, both front and back. Place a small piece of cheesecloth over the end of the vacuum hose, or vacuum as you would a piece of fine window drapery.
If a tapestry becomes excessively dirty, it can be dry cleaned. Use a dry cleaner who has expertise in cleaning tapestries, as some of the chemicals used in dry cleaning can damage the color of the tapestry and degrade the fibers.
A rare or very valuable tapestry should be cleaned by a textile conservator. Your local museum may be able to recommend the name of a reliable conservator.
Some tapestry manufacturers recommend gently hand washing tapestries as an alternative to cleaning by an expert. Use suds made from mild soap flakes and warm water. The tapestry should then be rinsed and dried carefully and a steam iron used for pressing. Check the temperature before pressing. Tapestries should never be washed in a machine or dried in a clothes dryer.
Avoid hanging your tapestry in direct sunlight to minimize fading and possible fiber weakening over time.
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