Woven Transparencies

When I first learned of this concept: woven transparencies, I had to stop and ponder what was meant. I knew tapestries and kilims, but as far as woven transparencies I was confused.

In July or August, I'll write a review about one of my all-time favorite books: Sheer Delights, but for now, let me explain about woven transparencies. I will warn you: the book is currently out of print, therefore the prices on Amazon (where the link takes you) are over-priced. If you can find it elsewhere, do so. They are often woven with a linen warp and weft, as seen in the photo below:

The transparencies are woven at a wide sett, for the linen that I'm using on my rigid heddle looms, I have it set at 7.5 dpi (as you can see in the photo)

Since I just began this project, I only have the two photos, but I will add more on Monday with the beginning of the project. Think of these transparencies as window tapestries: they are meant to have light shine through them thereby creating the image. If you have ever looked at some of the lace shawls, curtains or tablecloths that have images crocheted or knitted into them, that is similar to these items. These transparencies, especially woven in white, remind me of the fake snow designs we would put on our windows near Christmas (growing up between Philadelphia and Baltimore left little chances of a white Christmas)

To create the items I weave a hem that will be turned over to create a casing for the hanging rod. Unlike other items, the transparencies are not washed after finished since the purpose is to keep the weave open and airy. They can be spritzed and blocked, but it isn't always necessary. To create the design, you begin much like you would a tapestry and draw a cartoon (or freeform if you don't want to draw). Where the cartoon has an image, you weave in the design; where there is now image, you weave it at a plain weave. Unlike tapestries which form the cloth from the design, a woven transparency creates the image from inlay thereby creating a sturdy, though open fabric.

The concept astounds me, and I look forward to trying my hand at this weaving art form.


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