What is a Tapestry?

Tapestries can be found over the entire world, and have their origin in ancient history. A tapestry can be a misnomer, however, since not all tapestries are actual tapestries. In modern language, a tapestry is any item that portrays an image through fiber, therefore, a tapestry is anything that isn't a painting, photograph, or drawing.

This loose definition is not a true tapestry, but the mistake is quite old. A true tapestry is a woven item that creates an image through a discontinous weft. Discontinous simply means that the weft does not cross from edge to edge in one row. For example in the image below, the blues and chocolates meet in the middle of the tapestry, but do not go entirely to the other edge.

In older times, a tapestry usually had some sort of an image involved, and often told a story. It might be a part of a larger series such as the Unicorn Tapestries, but not necessarily. Now, tapestries can have a modern, abstract look to them, or they can have realistic images. Tapestries can come in a variety of sizes to the very large or to the very small. All that matters is how it is created - woven.

Currently, I am teaching myself the process of weaving tapestries. This photograph was part of lessons that I started earlier this year. As the month progresses, I'll discuss more of what I'm learning about tapestry weaving.

What do you think a tapestry is? Have you been able to see one?

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