About the Artist

Many tapestry artists' statements have a similar theme. They began expressive work in another medium (often painting) and after a considerable time discovered tapestry weaving. Once they stumbled upon weaving tapestries it became their life's work. They may have also spent long periods of time earning a living in other ways, but when they couldn't weave tapestries for practical reasons, they always felt the longing to return to the loom.

I was fortunate to have gone to Ohio University in the hills of Southeast Ohio; a beautiful place of hills and hollows, with a respect for craft and domesticity, and a tradition of kick-ass feminism. A person could be both without anyone batting an eye. Athens, Ohio in the early 1970's had a lively group of textile artists — mostly quilters and cloth weavers but a few tapestry artists. Quilters from that time in the Appalachian corner of Ohio have become the best known over the years but it was my first introduction to tapestry weaving and it got under my skin. A few years later I moved away, got busy with graduate school and a fulfilling career. In the time available I created through oil painting and lino-block prints but the looms, wool, instruction and a community of weavers not being available, I set aside thoughts of tapestries.

Kate KitchenIn the 1990’s I was able to find the time and space to return to tapestry and have been weaving in earnest ever since. I have a large, light-filled studio along the Irondale River in rural Ontario, thanks to the generosity and carpentry skills of my husband and friends. There I have time and space to create. I identify with a quote I read on the door of a tapestry weaver’s studio in New Zealand, "it's not patience. It's passion."

Tapestry weavers as a rule feel drawn to an art form that is ancient, slow, complicated and generally not well understood. Why would anyone spend so much time on one particular work of art? It isn't that we are unwilling to talk about it. Tapestry weavers will try to explain — we feel drawn to an art form that directly connects us back into ancient time while allowing us to make mindful and heartfelt statements about life in the twenty-first century. We love the sculptural qualities of the medium. And we find the meditative qualities of the time at the loom something that we can't do without. Sometimes I secretly almost believe that it is just that people have been deprived of the experience of weaving that keeps them from longing for it in the same way I do. It is passion and almost no patience is ever involved.

Mostly, tapestry weaving is the thing I cannot do without.

Kate Kitchen