Tamar Shadur | Tapestries

My tapestries are expressions of the beauty of color- form - light in nature, historical contexts, written words, and combinations of these. Some ideas are carefully worked into the designs, while others are borne during the weaving process.


Lilies | Visual images that have always evoked in me a strong emotional response are the vibrancy of colors in nature, the patterns of folk art as in a Navajo rug, and the juxtaposition of organic forms with straight-edge geometric shapes. The insects and subtle shapes that break up the surface of the design are results of momentary inspirations not planned in advance on the cartoon. 

Reflections | My camera captured reflections in water and resulted symmetry, the dominant visual features during my ten-day canoe adventure in Canada in 1990. The copy machine served as a useful tool to manipulate copies of some of these photos when creating the composition for this small monochromatic tapestry.  

Jungle | The title came after I used crayons and colored pencils when designing this private commission that was to include repeated vertical shapes. The tree frog and other tapestry techniques are products of playful ideas and Eureka moments.

small expressions

Two portraits | In each of the two small portraits, Woman with Catinspired by Medieval patterns and colors, and Woman with Bird, modeled after a head of a woman in a 5th Century Coptic tapestry, I faced the challenge to portray intimacy between a young woman and her pet in these stylized manners using warp density of 8 e.p.i. (ends per inch) on a small pipe loom.

Haikus | Two (unconventional) haikus written by a former neighbor, Yasuko Fukumi, are the inspiration for these two tapestries. It was a revelation to discover that the petite older Japanese lady next door was a daily haiku writer. She gave me two sheets full of 3-liners expressing her sensitive observations, and following some sketches to illustrate five or six, I stuck with the two below. They evolved into colorful tapestry designs I made with pastels and collage. During the weaving process, new ideas made their way into the fabric of weft and warp.

Fireflies                                                                                   A high fever
The compound of an old temple                                               Sunflowers moving around
Is vast and serene                                                       On the ceiling               

Hang On | I wove this small piece as part of Archie Brennan's project "H: A Journey in Tapestry" - a challenge to weave words or phrases beginning with H on a warp width of 1.5" at a warp density of 8 e.p.i.  (see ATA, H: A Journey in Tapestry in the American Tapestry Alliance site)

A hand is grasping part of the H, and the a, n, g are hanging on hooks, while the ON is staying put.

FlorencE, MA: PASt & present

Florence, MA: Past & Present | A prominent 19th Century mill town of progressive industry and education, Florence was the home of utopian abolitionists, Sojourner Truth among them. In the tapestry, her portrait appears ethereally in the sky next to a silk moth and cocoons which are reminders of the past silk industry, such as the Corticelli Silk Company which was one of the world’s largest producers of silk thread, here represented by the Corticelli logo – a kitten playing with a spool of thread in the lower left. Today, the Pedal People that haul trash on bicycles and Café Evolution are based in the former mill district of town.

Florence, MA - Past & Present, 9” x 10”, wool weft; cotton warp

Miss Florence Diner | An open window onto the passage of time in Florence, MA, from the early 20th Century represented by the model wearing locally made Corticelli silk stockings, to the mid 20th C. with the iconic Miss Florence Diner, and onto the early 21st C. in which a woman was so close to winning the presidency of the US, here represented by the Hilary Clinton logo, an H with a blue arrow.

Miss Florence Diner, 15” x 12”, weft: wool, silk, rayon; warp: cotton

Miss Florence Diner, 15” x 12”, weft: wool, silk, rayon; warp: cotton

Tapestry, Remembering the Forgotten | The Dog Park trail in Northampton/Florence, MA surrounds the unmarked burial grounds of hundreds of patients of the former Northampton State Mental Hospital represented by the Victorian building in the background. A monument was only recently erected to honor their memory.

Remembering the Forgotten, 9.5” x 10”, weft :  wool, silk, metallic threads; warp: linen

Remembering the Forgotten, 9.5” x 10”, weft: wool, silk, metallic threads; warp: linen