Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tapestry Weaving

I cannot count the times I’ve heard or read a reference to tapestry that has annoyed me because it is obvious that the author of the statement has no idea what tapestry is.  Ugh.

But now I think I need to put pettiness aside and relish every reference to this ancient technique because it is not a given that it will stay in our vocabulary, which might mean the real activity might also, someday, disappear.

A couple of years ago on public radio I was listening to the program that Patricia O’Connor hosts about language. Someone called in to ask her what ‘tow head’ means.  They had been called this as a child, and the caller had always presumed it to be an insult. He wondered if it had something to do with tow trucks.

Ms. O’Connor actually didn’t know what the term meant.  I remember I was driving in my car and had to find a place to pull over so I could call in to set the record straight.  My call was taken, unfortunately after the show had ended, so the man never heard from me what the term meant.  I hope he knows by now.  Ms. O’Connor and I had a lovely conversation about phrases that go out of use. Interestingly, she noted that if an idiom is based on political or social situations it stays in use longer than if the phrase is domestic or agricultural.  Our domestic situation has changed so drastically in the last hundred years, and here in the US, very few of us have any notion of farm terms.  Idioms from these areas have passed into the forgotten. Personally, I didn’t know that ‘tow head’ was out of use.  I don’t hear it often, but I still do sometimes, as well as corn silk, to describe blonde hair.  My husband is a tow head, and I briefly had corn silk hair when I was young…

So, while the word tapestry is being misused a lot in recent times, at least it is a word that continues to pop up in descriptions and conversations.  I am thankful for that!

Here is what’s happening on the tapestry front in my studio this week:

Yesterday I had my monthly visit to Archie Brennan and Susan Martin Maffei.  That always gets my creative juices flowing, and here is the result of my work today:

Feb. 25. 2010 tapestry 001

Slow, but steady, work on Rob:

Feb. 25. 2010 tapestry 003


Jennifer said...

The tapestries are looking wonderful - I think you've got the mouth on the woman this time - I hope you are happy with it!

sue schwarz said...

your tapestry work rocks, as my grandaughter would say...I love it. I had not heard the term tow head since my Mother used to tell me that she was labeled a tow head when she was small and you are right, most people do not have the foggiest idea of what the term means or how it came about.

OzWeaver said...

Thank you both!

Life Looms Large said...

It's really interesting to me how your two tapestries can look so different and yet both come from your hand and your view of the world. Very cool!

We had a demo of flax processing at our weavers guild a few years ago, and the tow totally looked like my childhood friend Laura's hair. It was amazing! It's funny how many terms come from weaving and fiber processing.