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All You Need to Know About tapestry

Tapestry is one of the most ancient types of woven material, dating back thousands of years. Because of the versatility of the tapestry method, it has been used to make anything From tunics and handbags to table coverings and chair backs, as well as some of the biggest and most stunning works of textile art in the world.
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The great age of tapestry weaving in Europe lasted from the second half of the 14th century through the end of the 18th century, according to historians. In particular, this period is renowned for the manufacturing of wall hangings woven in this style, which are often referred to as tapestries today. It was the elite who had tapestries, which were used to adorn both private and public venues. Henry VIII is said to have had 2,000 tapestries hanging in his numerous palaces, according to historical records.


In a room, large tapestries injected life and vibrancy into the space. They kept out draughts while also providing both amusement and food for thought via their theatrical portrayals of tales from the Bible, mythology, and the classics, or their insightful portrayals of fashionable life in the nineteenth century. They were incredibly expensive to make, and as a result, they served to display the riches of its owner.

Instead of being immobile items as they are now, tapestries were often rolled up and transported from one home to another. When King Francis I of France rebuilt the Great Gallery at Fontainebleau Palace, he commissioned a collection of tapestries to be made that replicated the wall design in woven form. These tapestries were completed in the 1540s. This equipment may be rolled up and carried to any of his other properties if necessary.

Materials and method of construction

Wool is the material that has historically been used for both. The warp and weft threads in tapestry weaving, and it is the most popular choice today. Apart from the fact that it is commonly accessible and simple to dye. Its inherent strength and flexibility make it an excellent choice for tapestry weaving. Silk threads are sometimes used in the weft, in addition to wool, to aid in the creation of delicate details and the adding of depth to the pattern. Decorative metal threads may also be used to create dimension to tapestries, albeit owing to their expensive cost, they are more usually seen in little pieces of tapestry, such as bible covers and purses, rather than in big wall hangings or floor coverings.

Embroidered tapestry

An embroidered tapestry is made by weaving coloured weft threads through plain warp threads to produce a pattern. The warp threads are stretched on a loom and serve as a grid for weavers, who use the coloured weft threads to weave a pattern into the warp strands. The greatest distinguishing characteristic of tapestry weaving is that the majority of the weft threads do not span the whole length of the warp. The weft, on the other hand, flows back and forth over a particular length of the warp, creating a little block of color. A discontinuous weft is the term used to describe this. Weavers weave together blocks of color to form a pattern or image on the loom.

Weaving occurs when the weft threads are pounded down, concealing the warp and resulting in a weft-faced cloth, which is visible on both the front and back. Often, the original colours are more strong on the back of earlier tapestries since the back would have been sheltered from exposure to light throughout their creation.

European tapestry

Tapestries are made by weaving them on a loom. A loom is composed of two rollers, between which the warp threads are threaded, and it is the most basic kind of weaving machine. The loom’s purpose is to maintain the warp tensioned so that the wefts may be passed back and forth easily to create a pattern when the warp is stretched. With regard to European tapestry weaving, there are primarily two different types of looms that may be employed: the Low Warp Loom (which is used for smaller pieces of work) and the High Warp Loom (which is used for larger pieces of work).

Typically, the rollers on low-warp looms are all at or close to ground level, with the warp stretched horizontally between them. On a high-warp loom, the warp threads are stretched vertically between two rollers, one at the top and one at the bottom of the loom.

Tapestry weaving is a time-consuming procedure that requires a great deal of effort. For one person, weaving only one square meter of coarse tapestry may take a month’s worth of effort. High-quality tapestries are made with finer warp and weft threads and require longer to complete than their lower-quality counterparts. To increase the pace of production on a big loom, numerous weavers might sit side by side and work together. Nonetheless, a series of enormous tapestries, woven by a large number of weavers, might easily take more than a year to complete.

The style of the design

In traditional weaving, weavers work from a pattern known as a cartoon. In this case, the design is painted in full size on fabric or paper and either connected to the loom or hanging behind it. Tradition dictated that the cartoon be put underneath the warps of a low-tension loom and the weaver had to move the warps aside in order to follow the design in detail.

Because tapestries were woven from the rear, if the weaver followed the cartoon perfectly, the final tapestry would seem to be the inverse of the cartoon when seen from the front of the room. Weavers were able to generate designs that were the correct way around because of the use of high-warp looms. The cartoon was hanging behind the weaver, who looked at it via a mirror to see a reflection of himself in it. The completed tapestry was the proper way around since it was created by starting with the mirror.

Following the completion of a tapestry, the cartoon might be reused. A tapestry studio that had a popular collection of patterns. That they could weave and sell on a number of occasions. Was almost certain to achieve financial success. Professional artists were recruited by many of the busiest enterprises to create the full-size patterns. That were then copied by the weavers.

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